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! Here at TGG we have found a really cool way to make mirrored gazing balls, using recycled materials and an inexpensive product from the craft store, and they don’t break! Here it is, how to make DIY mirrored gazing balls for the garden, on a budget using bowling balls.
Expectations For Your Garden Gazing Balls
First off, don’t expect these diy gazing balls to have the same super mirrored look as the ones that you might buy from a store. It just isn’t possible with spray paint in a can. But they still can look pretty cool and you can’t beat the price. We’ll list some mirrored gazing balls for sale from Amazon at the bottom of the post and you will see that three nice sized balls could run you about $100 to $130. Compare that to our DIY gazing balls which should cost you only $20 to $30 for a set of three!
What You’ll Need
- Used old bowling ball – Find them at Goodwill, thrift stores or yard sales. You should be able to find a ball for around $5. Try to find them with the finger holes close together so that they can be hidden easier.
- Krylon all-in-one gloss black spray paint (optional). We’ve heard (but have not confirmed) that the gloss black under the chrome paint helps with the mirror effect. Also you would be using this as a primer at the same time.
- Krylon premium metallic original chrome spray paint. We’ve heard good things about Rustoleum metallic chrome spray paint as well. Note: Do not use the Krylon looking glass paint or any mirror paint, which is meant to be used ‘inside’ a glass object, not on the outside surface of objects.
- Paper or plastic bowl to keep the bowling ball in place while painting.
- Note: For different ball sizes, try old bocce balls, croquet balls or even billiard balls
How to Make A Gazing Ball
- Clean the bowling balls well. You might want to use rubbing alcohol. Allow to dry completely.
- Set up your painting area and place the bowling ball on the paper or plastic bowl to keep it in place.
- If you choose to do the gloss black, do a couple coats and you should probably let dry over night.
- Then spray paint the bowling ball with the chrome paint with several super light coats. How many is up to you depending on your desired results. Let dry one hour between coats.
- Turn ball over (You might want to let dry over night before turning over) and do the bottom of the ball that you could not do before, following the same steps as above.
- Allow the paint to dry completely over night before placing them anywhere.
- We do not recommend using a sealant or clear coat. It most likely will react with the chrome paint and dull the finish!
Where To Use
Be creative with your garden gazing balls. Display them in groups or singly on an old pedestal as in this photo from Flower Garden Girl.
This is the original photo that inspired this project. Note: These are obviously store bought gazing balls. But this is the feel that we are going for. Nestle them in groups or in singles in amongst the garden!
Love how this old vintage gazing ball looks placed in a shallow part of this water garden. Photo from Eclecticpelican Etsy shop.
And lastly, from HGTV, a garden ball on a pedestal, tucked in amongst a vegetable garden with tomatoes growing around it. Love!
Where To Find Gazing Balls for Sale
If you just don’t have time for this DIY gazing ball project and would like to know where to find gazing balls for sale, then here are some links of a few different sizes from Amazon, with some really good reviews!
- 10 inch stainless steel gazing ball – Buy at Amazon
- 12 inch stainless steel gazing ball – Buy at Amazon
- 14 inch stainless steel gazing ball – Buy at Amazon
- Stainless steel gazing ball 4 pc set – Buy at Amazon
This post has been updated.