How to Make Mirrored Gazing Balls for the Garden

mirrored gazing ball
Image Credits: flowergardengirl, gardens2you

We all love the look of the mirrored gazing balls in the garden. They add light in a shady corner, a fanciful flair in a garden bed, or a little fantasy next to a pond or birdbath. There are two problems with them though…they can be expensive, and they can break easily. If you live where its windy or stormy like I do, its a no can do. And they average around $40 a piece! That’s not an amount of cash I want to lose in a windstorm.

Here at TGG we have found a really cool way to make mirrored balls, using recycled materials and an inexpensive product from the craft store, and they don’t break! Here it is, how to make mirrored gazing balls for the garden, on a budget.

Step One:

We used old bowling balls as the base, and picked them up at Good Will for under $5. Try to find bowling balls with the finger holes close together so that they can be hidden easier.

bowling ball for mirrored gazing ball

Step Two:

Buy Original Chrome Metallic spray paint from the craft shop, less than $5!

TRV370072

Step Three:

Make sure you have an area safe to spray paint, and cover the surface with newspaper or a tarp. Clean the bowling balls well with rubbing alcohol to make sure the paint adheres well.

Step Four:

Lightly spray one side of the bowling ball. Let dry one hour. Roll over, and repeat. Repeat as often as necessary to achieve the amount of reflection you desire.

Step Five:

Spray with a clear gloss sealer to protect from the elements if desired.  Test in an inconspicuous place first. Allow to dry at least 24 hours before placing outside. One of our readers had issues with the sealer she used dulling the reflection… Be sure to do a test first.

One can of spray paint made three balls for us.

Three gazing balls from the store? $120.

Three unbreakable gazing balls from TGG’s Diy Projects? $20!

This is the photo that inspired this project.

mirrored gazing balls garden
Image Credits: flowergardengirl, gardens2you

Be creative with your gazing balls. Display them in groups or singly on an old pedestal.

So you have a weekend project, right? If you can’t find bowling balls at your local thrift store, we recommend contacting your local bowling alley to find out if they will sell you worn balls.

There you have it, how to make mirrored gazing balls for the garden, on a budget!

You might also like:

Comments

  1. Cathy Bluthardt says:

    I have been looking for a new way to use bowling balls as a gazing ball. Never thought about the mirrored spray paint. Guess what I will be doing this weekend? Thanks for such a clever idead.

  2. Kathy Woodard says:

    Let us know how it turns out Cathy!

  3. My brother in law’s father was a bowling enthusiast and passed away last year leaving them with 75 bowling balls to sell at his garage sale. I think I’ll be paying him a visit this week!

  4. Any ideas what else you could use besides bowling balls? Since you showed a variety of sizes. I can only find large bowling balls and small ones.

  5. Kathy Woodard says:

    I checked out the dollar store, and they have some hard plastic balls of different sizes… (Not the soft deflatable kind! Another idea? Watch yard sales for old bocce balls or croquet balls!

    • Use the plastic bouncy balls at the dollar store as a mold ….fill it with a quick setting concrete make sure it cures before using….it says how long…depends on type. Then rip off the plastic ball and walla you have a concrete ball to use as you please. The only other thing I could think of was to fill the ball with Plaster of Paris cause it’s so fast to setup…?? Possibly leave the plastic ball in place to protect the plaster from weather. Just had my brain take off…..I have not tried either of these.

  6. Just found this on Pinterest! What a great idea – I had no idea there was such a thing as mirrored spray paint. Definitely going to need to look for this.

  7. This is genius!!! I’ve had a couple glass gazing balls blow over in the wind and shatter. (Hubby said we’re not buying anymore!!) I am going to give this a try this weekend. Thanks so much for sharing the idea.

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Great! Let us know how it goes!

      • Hi Kathy

        Can you tell me what kind of gloss sealer you used? I have Rustoleum gloss clear sealant. However, it is making the chrome paint cloudy looking and not at all reflective. I must need a different product.

        Thanks
        Julia

        • Ruth Coatney says:

          I too, would like the name of the paint products that were used. I plan to make some of these for a decorative pond at our church. I like the idea of several sizes and colors. It’ll make something old look something WOW

  8. My town must all be doing these bowling ball ideas. I have been to 4 different thrift stores for the balls and none available, or just sold.

  9. TerryAM says:

    Thks for this great idea. Was looking at these today.to much!

  10. Just threw away some old bowling balls of my hubby’s … Wish I wod hav read this earlier :( on the lookout for more!! Lol

  11. zack Exactamente says:

    Wow great idea I also going to try this tomorrow. Please post which sealer works. Now i have a great use for thise bowling boce and old pool balls.

  12. terrycadymt says:

    I was planning on doing this come summer, and I was wondering if anyone has tried putting dowels in the ground to go in the finger holes as a sort of stand so you can paint the whole thing in one shot. The reason I need to make some is the bratty kids in the apt complex broke my previous two. I’m hoping to get it done while I know they’ll be out. I’m also wondering if anyone has any ideas about adding color.

    • Terri H says:

      Hi Terry,
      I would use REBAR from Home Depot or Lowe’s. Grind it to the length you need (about the same diameter of the ball or at least 3/4 of that length.) Glue it into the finger hole of choice with Gorilla glue (remember to spritz the hole with a light bit of water. It activates the glue) The glue will puff like mousse as it dries DON’T GET IT ON YOUR HANDS! You could also use PL adhesive (look in the caulk aisle) That will;l take longer to dry.

    • PVC works great. Fill the holes with caulk then place the pre cut length of PVC in. If it is a real heavy ball you can use to pieces of PVC. PVC can be spray painted with your choice of color to match the ball or black to look like wrought iron.

  13. Thank you for this idea, it is amazing. I was trying to figure out a way to get more gazing balls to put in my garden. You are right. They are expensive. A lady in the comments using the plastic bouncy balls. I am going to try that as well as the bowling bowls . Will let you know how it turns out.

  14. nice idea I think it will be an addition to my windchimes

  15. Has anyone actually tried making these yet? how did yours turn out? I had a gazing ball given to me made out of a bowling ball and broken pieces of mirror filled in with what looks like some kind of caulk. But I really like it.And I really like these. Any luck?, anyone?

  16. Would be nice to see a picture of actual finished product. Do you have a photo of the outcome?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Unfortunately, that was one of our earliest projects, and we don’t! I know a lot of our readers have tried this project, anyone want to email us a photo of your finished one to upload to the post?

  17. the wood dowels would work, So you can spray paint the ball. why not try the dowels and the ball when you are done. And put them in the garden.

  18. you can also use cut up old cd’s

  19. I can’t find the paint. Has anyone tried a different type?

  20. Amazon.com carries the spray paint at $8.24 a can and if you are a Prime member – 2 day shipping is free.

  21. Darren Wilson says:

    If your wanting one of the larger ones, use an inflatable exercise ball. We’ve used them to make pinatas. Ballons tend to egg shape but with sand paper and patience, round out. The pinatas made the exercise ball reusable b/c we used a newspaper mix then deflated the ball once dry. We needed a hole for the candy so it doubled for that as well.

  22. Is there a difference between the Krylon paint that says Original Chrome & Mirrored?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Yes, the mirrored paint has to be used on a surface from the inside, like the back of a glass picture frame, or inside a vase… For a solid surface like a bowling ball, the high gloss chrome paint must be used…

    • Yes, there’s a difference. Mirrored paint is formulated to be most shiny where the paint touches the surface (like a glass sheet) It is meant to be sprayed on the BACK of glass so you can observe the “mirror” on the opposite side of the glass.
      Chrome paint is formulated to be most shiny on the outside surface of your sprayed piece. This is how you observe most painted surfaces, from the top of the paint layer. Mirrored sprays are different because you actually see the UNDER side of the paint layer, through the glass.

  23. Vera Richardson says:

    Thank you for a fabulous idea. I have two bowling balls that I had no idea what to do with them.

  24. I love this idea! I can’t wait to go bowling ball hunting!

  25. Helpful hint. Laquer will haze if applied in humid conditions. Pick a day with low humidity .

  26. Michael says:

    I have either a question or a comment. In the original pin under the search it shows in the pic to use Looking Glass paint, but in the directions it shows to use Original Chrome. Just want to confirm which you used to get the mirror effect? Thanks

  27. Anna Herrick says:

    I have seen these mirred balls on ping pong balls. The crafty one put a long narrow stick in them and decorated her flowers with boquets of them. looked. Beautiful! Another idea!!

  28. Was there any base coat put down before the spray paint and if so what? Thank You.

  29. I glue flat marbles to bowling balls with waterproof window sealant or caulk.

  30. christine says:

    Is there an equivalent spray in UK please?

  31. Put ping pong balls on a long stick?….maybe use skewers?

  32. Can you use any color bowling ball

  33. I have not bowling ball , what happen If I use football or basketball ball! or some other plastic ball?

  34. What clear gloss sealant did you use (brand and name)? Thanks!

  35. Sandra Cook says:

    I just got a couple of bowling bowls from a swap meet in my town today for $10 each with a bowling bag lol, could have brought another one but heavy enough carrying 2. Don’t know if I will chrome them or try mosaic. I made cement balls yesterday by filling light globe shades. I found the light with 3 globes on the footpath…as well as a cast iron single bed I have no idea what to do with yet lol.

Speak Your Mind

*