Penny Ball

I finished my very first Pinterest-inspired project.  This occasion should be documented!

Yes, that is a ball covered in pennies.  It serves a purpose.  I promise.

Why should we document pennies being glued to a ball?  Because I started this project 18 months ago shortly after I joined the addictive Pinterest community.  It’s not the only Pinterest-inspired project (see more projects herehere and here), but it is the very first.  I was inspired by this Penny Garden Ball (original source here) and shortly thereafter, snagged a free bowling ball, started sticking on pennies, and then I ran out.  And so it sat.

If holding this 12 pound ball in front of my body like this feels anything like being pregnant, it will be a very uncomfortable few months.  (Just to clarify…I am not pregnant).

Last week, during a spree to complete the “unfinished” projects laying around the house (there are many),  I finished this one up.  Thankfully, 18 months seemed to be enough time to add the appropriate number of pennies I needed to the spare change jar so I could tackle the rest of my penny ball.

Why cover a bowling ball in pennies you ask?? Apparently, when placed in a garden the copper from the pennies repels slugs and can even change the acidity of the soil.  The acidity changes can turn hydrangeas blue.  I can’t speak to whether this is true or not because I plan on displaying this in the house.  As a dear friend pointed out, you could also just toss pennies into the garden and receive the same effect.  This never crossed my mind. 

Just in case you want to tackle this project yourself, I created a short tutorial below.  Otherwise, you can check out now and toss those pennies into the mulch.  Here are some tips that could be helpful if you decide to make yourself (or a friend) a penny ball:

  • Ask the owner or manager at the bowling alley if you can have a bowling ball destined for the trash.  They should have a few extra that aren’t being used or maybe cracked – this is how I got mine for free.  I’ve also found several at garage sales and a couple even marked for $1.  That makes this a pretty affordable project for just about anyone.
  • In order to assure a strong, waterproof bond I would recommend using an adhesive meant to stand up to water.
  • Expect to use about $4 in pennies.  This is just a guess.
  • If you want pennies that are shiny you can soak them in vinegar and this should make them new again (I wanted a variation in colors so I did not do this).

1.  Find a bowling ball.  Don’t worry about the color since you can change this.  You will see the color of the ball below the penny layer and if you don’t like the color, you can paint it after step 2.

2.  Lightly sand the bowling ball with 100 grit sandpaper to remove the glossy surface.  This will help the pennies (or paint) adhere to the surface better.

3.  Remove any finger protectors.  Not all bowling balls have these finger protector things.  Mine did, so I just pulled these out with some needle nose pliers.

4.  Fill the finger holes.  Wine corks fit perfectly.  I trimmed them to size and glued them in place with the hot glue gun and smoothed the surface with some extra glue.

I wanted to make sure the pennies would stick strong enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  Plumbers Amazing Goop (which is a solvent based adhesive) seemed to fit the bill.  It’s waterproof, doesn’t become brittle in cold water and stands up to wear and vibration.  I’d feel pretty good about using this as a bowling ball at the alley.

Start to adhere the pennies by adding a dot of glue to the back of each penny and sticking it on.  I liked the variation in color, heads and tails (and some Canadian ones too) so I didn’t use any special method to stick them on.  The adhesive dries in a minute or two so the ball should be ready to place as soon as it’s done.  Or for good measure, let it sit around the house for 18 months to ensure a good bond. The dust will really add to the “aged” look.

And that’s it!

Now you can enjoy your garden penny ball.  Or your house penny ball.  Either way I’m definitely a fan.

Anyone else take 18 months to finish a project?
I’m linking up with the Link Party at Liz Marie Blog!
Thanks for reading!
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