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 gazing 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.
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.
Buy Original Chrome Metallic spray paint from the craft shop, less than $5!
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.
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.
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.
Updated Note: We mention testing the sealer in an inconspicuous place first for a reason. Some people have written in that the glossy effect was dulled with certain sealers. We did not use sealer, and put the balls under a covered patio. You can also touch up with the home paint each season if necessary.
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.
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!