How to Make your Own Garden Gazing Ball

Yesterday I posted an article on the history of the garden ball. Today, I would like to share with you how to make your own.

To start this project, you’ll need a sphere. Any sphere will do. Two of the best candidates are floral foam from a craft store or a large Styrofoam ball. You’ll also need grout and tile squares. You can find each item in a crafts store.

If the floral foam has a smooth surface, rough it up with fine-grain sandpaper. If you use a Styrofoam ball, it will already have a rough surface. You don’t want to pull large chunks from your foam. You just want to create a surface that the grout will stick to. Put the ball onto a cup or bowl to use as a work station.

Decide the pattern for the mosaic tile on the ball before you mix the grout. You want the pattern set before you transfer the tiles into the grout. Once the grout is on the ball, you will have to work quickly.

Mix the grout according to the package directions until it is the consistency of gritty toothpaste. Spread the grout over ½ of the ball. You can use a trowel or paint scraper. Or you can put dish gloves on your hands and spread the grout without tools.

Press tiles into the grout in the pattern that you already decided on. Cover only the top ½ of the ball. Allow the grout to dry. Then carefully turn the ball over and repeat the process on the other side of the ball.

Mix more grout according to the package directions. Spread the grout over the top of the tiles on the top ½ of the ball. Work the grout into the space between the tiles. Let the grout set for a few minutes. Then sponge the grout off of the top of the tiles. Leave the grout in between the tiles. Allow the grout to dry. Then turn the ball over and repeat the process.

You can display your ball in your container garden by nesting it in a pot that has a smaller diameter than the gazing ball’s diameter.

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11 Responses to How to Make your Own Garden Gazing Ball

  1. Donna says:

    I enjoyed reading on making a glazing ball. There are so many ways to design them and it is a good and fun weekend project.

    • Tracy says:

      I stumbled onto the project while doing research on the history of the gazing ball. I can’t resist bizarre history, and you can’t get more bizarre than a king with the nickname “Mad King Ludwig.”

  2. Alice Joyce says:

    A fun project! Love creating mosaic focal points in my garden, and find this a unique approach.
    good to find you on Blotanical… Cheers, Alice
    aka Bay Area Tendrils

  3. Holley says:

    I didn’t realize you could grout styrofoam! What a great idea! I may have to give this a try.

  4. Tracy says:

    Sandstone works pretty well because it has a rough surface. that’s actually how set dressers for movies make realistic looking rock surfaces.

  5. Nell Jean says:

    A few years back, bejeweled and grouted bowling balls were all the garden rage. Someone gave me a bowling ball. It is green with a marbled look that I liked so well I just put it on a staddle stone and use it as is. I’m not much of a mosaicist.

    • Tracy says:

      I still see these gazing balls, and even kits when I go into my local craft store. I think the trend is still going strong.

  6. Tammy says:

    I found a round plastic light fixture someone threw out on the road, it looked so much the size and shape of a real gazing ball ,that I have to try and make it into one. I want the mirror finish but I’m unsure what will give me the closest to a mirror . I want to use it to reflect images around me when I’m on my patio. A design on a dime project.I already have a pedestal for it. I just need the paint. If anyone has a suggestion ,please let me know. Thank you . :)

    • Kim says:

      Tammy–the craft shop near my home sells tiny mirrors in various shapes and sizes–they’re anywhere from the size of a gardener’s fingernail (stubby, that is) to several inches in diameter. Maybe you could use waterproof glue to make a mosaic of tiny mirrors on your plastic light fixture. If they were small enough, they’d work fine on a round fixture.
      If you’ve figured out another way to do it since 2011, I’d be curious to hear what you did.

  7. connie pannhoff says:

    Made a gazing ball out of a bowling ball i spary painted it with metalic paint

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