This weekend I turned an old bowling ball that I found at a garage sale into a gazing ball-like piece of yard art.
A penny bowling ball!
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.
How To Make A Penny Bowling Ball
The first thing I did was fill in the finger holes with paper towels until there was about ¼" 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.
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.
So I emptied a roll of pennies into a bowl and added the Coke Zero and let them sit for five minutes.
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 ¼ 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.
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Next I used Dap Clear Silicone Sealant for Doors And Windows to glue the pennies onto the bowling ball.
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.
I tried sitting my penny bowling ball on my birdbath base as a regular gazing ball.
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 penny bowling ball holder.
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.
Another fun bowling ball project is my Mosaic Bowling Ball made with dollar store gems.
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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.
That is one of the coolest use of pennies I have seen! Happy to have found you.
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...
Hi, my questions is, how does it keep slugs away?
Garden centres offer copper tape for just this reason. It "shocks" the little buggers!
@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!
Turned out nice:)
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
I live in Canada also, but just recently got rid of $100 in pennies. I should have kept some!
What a fantastic idea... everyone's yard sales will be hit for a bowling ball, I see.
any coin that rerpels elk?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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 🙂
Epoxy coat it, that'll seal it in and keep them shining!
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.
Very cool - definitely going to do this - have plenty of pennies!!
Thinking of doing this. Did your OCD cause you to start with a straight line? Or did you just "go for it"?
No, not really. It just seemed like a logical way to put the first few pennies 🙂
One of my faves!
Holly @ Your Gardening Friend
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!
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!
Hi, I phoned up my local bowling alley and they had some used and some cracked balls they were willing to part with. I paid $5 for a non cracked and they gave me a cracked one for free.
Bowling ally’s usually will give you an old ball ! Worth a try ! That’s how I got mine.
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
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