Bowling Ball Yard Art

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

This weekend I turned an old bowling ball that I found at a garage sale into a gazing ball-like piece of yard art.

I bought this bowling ball, bag and pair of old used bowling shoes (yuck) at a church garage sale all for just $1.00. I knew I only wanted the bowling ball itself, so the other items were just along for the ride.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

The first thing I did was fill in the finger holes with paper towels until there was about 1/4″ of the holes left and then filled the rest of the holes in with some caulking I had laying around the house.

And then threw the bag and shoes into my Goodwill pile.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

I wanted to cover the ball in pennies so I used roughly $4.50 worth.

I wanted them to be all bright and shiny so I decided to clean them with my beloved Coke Zero to see if Coke’s cleaning abilities are an urban legend or not.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

So I emptied a roll of pennies into a bowl and added the Coke Zero and let them sit for five minutes.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

The Coke Zero cleaned them a little bit, but they were definitely not as bright as I was expecting them to be. It’s not often that my Coke lets me down.

So then I searched the Internet for other penny cleaning tips and ran across some science experiments for kids that uses 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of table salt to clean them.

The vinegar is 5% acetic acid and dissolves the copper oxide on the pennies. The salt acts as a catalyst to speed up the process. But enough of the fascinating science lesson of the day.

Anyhow, I just put the pennies in there for about a minute, rinsed the solution off them and they came out amazingly shiny.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

(This post does contain some affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.)

Next I used Dap Clear Silicone Sealant for Doors And Windows to glue the pennies onto the bowling ball.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

I glued them all heads up, but that was my OCD kicking in – you could mix it up if you wanted. Or maybe do all heads except for one tail???

And here is the finished project.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

I tried sitting it on my birdbath base as a regular gazing ball.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

Then I remembered that I had bought this silver chafing dish pedestal at a garage sale. It’s almost like it is made to be a bowling ball holder.

Bowling ball yard art made with pennies - via

Of course you could place it directly on the ground or leave one of the finger holes exposed and place a wood dowel to stake it in the ground.

You can find some more gardening ideas and projects on my Gardening Page. Anything from instructions for making Hypertufa containers to using copper to help keep your birdbath cleaner to stamping silverware for garden markers.

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  1. says

    Really, really cute! I have always wanted to try glueing pennies on an outdoor project…I hear that they keep slugs from getting into strawberry patches and thought it would be good to glue them around the top of a pot of them.

    • says

      Pennies around your plants will deter snails and slugs. They get a little electric shock as they try crossing the pennies which in turn makes them go in a different direction.
      True Story!

  2. says


    What a wonderful idea! I would have never thought about doing that. It turned out really well.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!


  3. says

    What a fabulous idea. This turned out amazing! Who would have known ..coke! Fantastic job! Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase Party. I greatly appreciate it! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  4. says

    Hi Pam! I’ll be featuring your Yard art tomorrow. Stop by and grab a featured button if you like! Thanks again for linking up to The Sunday Showcase! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  5. Diana says

    I have a bowling ball WAAAAY at the backyard, just visible from the deck…with a painted face on it. Everyone looks past the yard and pond, over the ledge of liriope, past the walkway and into the forest, and down toward the lower meadow, and then shrieks…what’s that!? I have a much better idea now. No more scary bowling ball face! I’m turning it into a gazing ball. FAB idea!

  6. says

    Saw this on Pinterest awhile back and made one. So much fun, huh?! My OCD had me not using the new pennies with the shields. And I did them all heads up too, so it didn’t really matter! Oh well, our quirks are what make us interesting, right?

  7. Anonymous says

    I just finished my penny bowling ball, I spray painted it copper first so it is totally copper colored. I put mine all heads up too but if I make another one I think I’ll just try random.

  8. says

    This is a wonderful idea…..and to add another layer of design, why not grout it? Color your grout first with grout coloring sand and fill in the gaps between the pennies. Just a thought…

  9. says

    @Kristafee – I don’t really know much about using pennies for slugs, but I did google it and it appears it may react with their slime. I actually made my ball more for looks and to have something shiny in the garden, but if it does double duty then all the better!

  10. says

    Great idea! I have a bunch of pennies and wanted to make a project with them as they are no longer used in Canada. Just found your blog, new follower.

    Margaret from Moving Forward

    • Anonymous says

      I live in Canada also, but just recently got rid of $100 in pennies. I should have kept some!

  11. says

    What a great idea. I also like the idea of placing a dowel into one of the holes and stake it in the ground. This would be great for the garden. Thanks for sharing.

  12. says

    gathering supplies to make my own penny balls (one for me, one for my mom)…. have you had any issues with the pennies sticking to the balls after weather conditions have hit for a few years now? I’m trying to research the best adhesive to use but I’ve seen a lot of people try to make these and have the pennies popping off… just curious your thoughts!

    • says

      I still like the Dap Silcone Sealant For Door & Windows that I used. I’ve only had one penny pop off that I can remember. But I don’t leave mine outside in the dead of winter though. I normally bring it inside when the snow starts flying. It is outside all spring, summer and fall in the rain though and it’s still holding up.

  13. says

    It’s a great idea and looks terrific! One Question though…: With it being outside, it’s bound to tarnish .. what do you use to a) prevent or b) clean up the tarnish? Or, did you use a sealant on the finished product to ensure no tarnishing?

    • says

      It will tarnish again eventually. Mine lasted at least a year before I cleaned it again though and then I just used the salt/vinegar solution and rubbed it on with a toothbrush. I did not put a sealer on it but you could. Something like a spray clear coat from the hardware store would probably keep them from tarnishing if you want to keep the shiny penny look :)

  14. says

    Yeah, pretty cool idea! Good garden fun. Think I’ll try this one.
    FYI Pam… You can also buy sealer from a craft store as well.

  15. says

    How neat!

    My mom LOVES shiny pennies (actually, anything shiny and sparkly :) ). She’s also wanted a garden gazing ball but my dad finds them hideous so she has not purchased one. Her birthday is next week. Maybe I’ll make this for her. I can probably find a bowling ball at Goodwill, but I’ll probably pay more than $1.00.

    Thanks for the great idea!

  16. says

    I’ve been looking for a bowling ball for a year to do this very project! I love it! May this weekend will be my lucky weekend!

  17. Anonymous says

    Great!!!! I love it and when the sun shines onto it, it will be amazing!
    I think I’ll make one with the 1 or 2 eurocents, because 1 I have a lot of them and 2 soon they will taken out of the system
    Fabienne from Belgium

  18. Anonymous says

    I just bought a bowling ball and bag at my local Goodwill for $4.00 and gave the bag right back to them. I looked at the three balls there and took a pretty purple one. I hope it will peek through the pennies for a nice effect. Ann F. Georgia, USA

  19. Anonymous says

    I came across a bowling ball at an Antique/Junk store. Got it for $1.00. It has a crack down the side but I figured I can fill that in. Now I have a project to work on during the winter. Like the idea about using grout also. Eleanor, Copake, NY

  20. Delonna Albertson says

    My local bowling alley was happy to give me as many bowling balls I wanted for free! They have hundreds of old balls that they dispose of on a regular basis.

    • says

      You could spray it with a clear sealer from the hardware store if you wanted to keep them shiny for a long time. I’d look for one that says it’s for outdoor use (Krylon makes one called Make It Last that says it is for outdoor use, but I’ve never tried it myself). Without a sealer they’ll last about a year before you’ll either have to re-clean them (just apply the cleaning mixture with a toothbrush) or just embrace the tarnished look.

  21. Kelly says

    I now have my gazing ball all ready to go into the yard but want to keep the shine on the pennies.. What would you recommend to spray on the whole ball to keep that shiny look?

    Thank for the inspiration!!

    • says

      I did not put a sealer on mine, but if you want it to stay shiny you would want to spray it with a clear sealer made for outdoor use. Krylon has one called Make It Last that sounds like it would work well although I haven’t used it on anything myself. If you Google “Krylon Make It Last” you can read about it and see where it’s sold. I would say any clear sealer would work as long as it specifically says it is made for outdoor conditions :)

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