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Bowling Ball Beginner Needs Help

lascatx
13 years ago

I'm behind the rest of you on trying one of these. I've read a number of older threads and a little unsure of how to get started. I got 5 bowling balls from a local alley. Each of them was retired for having cracks, but I don't see anything I shouldn't be able to smooth over in the process of covering them.

What I've read here is that some have simply glued directly onto the ball. Others have painted the balls (which could be fun with crash glass if I get some) and others have roughed up the ball, then covered it with thinset or a coat or concrete. How do I know which method is best? Does the ball need to be roughed up before gluing directly on it.

I would like for these to be able to be used outdoors in Texas heat -- winters are only a few overnight freezes, but nothing harsh by northeren standards. Heat will be more of an issue than cold. I plan on donating one or more to school auctions, so I don't want them to fall apart in the buyer's yard! Thanks for any help getting started!

Comments (27)

  • chickeemama
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Depending on what finish you have on your ball is probably going to decide what you do to it. The ball I did was not a shiny ball so I did not ruff it up at all just glued the pieces to it (and used the wrong glue and 3 years later it fell apart!!!) I believe you only have to ruff it up if it is super shiny.

    Covering it in thinset is a sure fire method to get everything to adhere to it. I did that with a styrofoam ball and it lnow lives in Colorado and is doing fine!!!

    Here is a picture of the one I did with thin set and the one that I used the wrong glue!!!

    thinset ball

    {{gwi:174201}}

    mirror ball with wrong glue used

    {{gwi:2080348}}

    They are fun to do and tend to do well for auctions and such. Good luck!!

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks for the quick reply. I really like the flowered ball -- the other one is just a little harder to see.

    I was thinking from what I was reading that the GEII would be a good choice for the adhesive. None of these balls or super shiny, but a good cleaning and maybe a light rough up wouldn't hurt. I guess I can test some and see if they peel off. I'm planning on doing a penny ball, a crash glass and a more traditional mosaic something. I'm just itching to get started now -- so I thought I'd start with pennies. I read super glue for those somewhere, but the GEII would be a lot safer for me. Might be hard to auction the ball if I'm still attached. LOL

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  • foxglove44
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    IMO.. you won't go wrong with silicone (GEII)
    I used that on my BB and it survived the harsh weather of Minneapolis and then the heat of Houston!
    Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!
    Betsy

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Foxglove44, are you in Houston? I'm just north of that.

    I have GEII, so I think I'm going to try that and do a test aea, then let it dry and check it.

    Do you think the cracks that are in the ball already will make them more likely to have a problem?

  • foxglove44
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hi.. no I'm no longer in Houston. I'm in the Madison, Wisconsin area now! We've moved way too much.

    I would seal the cracks with the GEII and go for it! Relax and have a good time with the BB!
    Betsy

  • becky_ia
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here is my instruction sheet I will be handing out tonight at a workshop I am doing. These instructions are for Iowa, but can be adapted to most areas.

    By: Becky Schoenfeld, Mosaic Artist

    SUPPLIES NEEDED:
    Bowling ball, washed & roughed up with sandpaper
    Adhesive (Liquid Nails, Weldbond, Lexel)
    Tesserae (mosaic tile, stained glass, coins, flat marbles, broken china)
    Grout (MUST be sanded grout-purchased at any home improvement store)
    Masonry or grout sealant-clear, high gloss

    Tesserae: Decide what will be used to cover the ball. If using broken china, be sure all pieces are the same thickness. Old coins can be made new again using "Brasso" to polish, stained glass can be cut into desired sizes with a glass cutter or wheeled nippers or glass scrap can be used (tumble in rock tumbler with water and a couple of drops of dish detergent first to soften the sharp edges). Be sure to wear safety glasses when cutting glass or tile, or breaking china. Mosaic tiles "ready to go" can be purchased on-line or at some hobby stores, flat marbles are very easy to use and can be found at any hobby store or Wal-Mart. Seashells can be used, but are VERY DIFFICULT to clean up after grouting.

    Preparation: Fill finger holes with grout & let dry overnight. Wash off bowling ball and rough up with fine grade sandpaper-wipe clean with dry cloth.

    Decide colors, design and style you wish to use. Stained glass pieces can be laid out using a pattern, when finished, cover with contact paper, add adhesive and place on the ball.

    Adhesive: Using adhesive "butter" the back of each piece of tesserae, place on the ball, gently apply pressure to assure good contact. Do one-half of the ball first, allowing time to firmly set. Finish the second half the same way and allow several days for hardening.

    Grout: Decide on grout color. Grout color is VERY IMPORTANT in how your finished product will look. Only use white grout if no other color will work. Black is usually best as it will allow your color to "pop", but of course, black is the messiest grout to use. Be sure to wear gloves, as the grout is a cement product and caustic; can burn or dry out your hands. Mix grout according to package directions and allow to "slump/rest" for 15 minutes (chemical reaction necessary). Grout should be the consistency of peanut butter.

    Completely cover ball with the grout, firmly working grout into the cracks with your fingers. When completely covered, remove excess grout and let ball set up for 10 minutes. Take a soft rag or sturdy paper towels and remove all extra grout. A damp rag can now be used to wipe down the ball. When dried, a haze will cover the tesserae & can be wiped off later.
    I usually put the ball in a plastic bag to dry slowly. You dont want your grout to crack. Let set overnight. In the morning, remove from bag and using a damp rag, wipe down the ball again.

    Sealant: Let sit one week to completely cure before sealing with a masonry clear sealant. Do not use the spray as most will "yellow" when put outside. In a highly vented area, seal your piece three times. Let dry for few days until a nice, shiny, hard surface is achieved.

    Mosaic Garden Orbs: should be placed outside in a shaded area out of direct sunlight. If left in the hot sun, the glass and grout may crack allowing water to get underneath. If the ball is left outside and freezes, the water will cause the glass and grout to loosen. They should be resealed each and every spring before setting outside for the season. They are perfect to display on porches and in sunrooms.

  • foxglove44
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    WOW! You thought of everything Becky!
    I just taught my first Workshop this month. It was great fun and I am writing up my proposal for two more this spring. I'd love to talk to you about this.
    Betsy

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Becky, do you think the liquid nails or weldbond (which I have yet to find -- found something with a simialr but different name) would be better than the GEII?

    Also, have either of you done penies or coins without grout? I saw a photo of one with what appeared to be two payers of pennies. The top layer covered the gaps in the bottom layer and there wsa no grout. I wsa going to try that, but now I'm wondering if the GEII would be strong enough to keep the pennies on without grout. Any thougts?

    I thought the peny ball would be a quick and easy start. Now I'm wondering about that. No cutting or smashing and the glueing will be easy enough, but not so sure it's a quicker start. LOL

  • foxglove44
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have not used Weldbond for any outdoor projects. I have used liquid nails only to have it fall apart after being out in the weather for a season. Stick with the GEII
    Betsy

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks Betsy. Now a question about the GEII. I checked the handful of pennies I stuck onthe BB to test last night. I noticed some slid, and they are all still wet and slipping around. Since this is more than overnight now, I'm wondering if they are going to set properly. I did wash the ball and rough it up. Do I just need to be patient, or do you think something is not working right?

  • becky_ia
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    There is another product I use when I do bb with pennies. It is the Liquid Nails in copper color. Perfect for putting the pennies on. And they WON'T come off. It is thicker and stickier...they will not slide. I find it at Walmart. I would not use weldbond on a bb. I would also, not leave the ball ungrouted. I mosaiced a mailbox and purposely left it ungrouted to see how long it would last outside in our Iowa winters. Slowly all the glass started to fall off, but it lasted over five years. I would definately grout it. I just like the looks of them when grouted....gives more of a finished look, I think.

    Becky


    Becky

  • shrty411
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The GEII may move for a while,but eventually will stay.You may havea bad batch. Weldbond will re-hydrate so you don't want to use it outside. E600 holds quickly and is good for outside, but is a bit more expensive.

  • shrty411
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    that's E6000

  • gibsona
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I live in North Texas and here's the first bb I did 2 years ago. It lives outside - summer, winter (such as it is). It's been through the floods we had last summer and has had no problems.
    Have a good one!
    Ann
    {{gwi:141893}}

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks everyone. I have a tube of the E6000 I used on something last year. If it has not dried up, I'll give it a try. If not, I'll look for liquid nails in copper. I've used it for other things in clear. Didn't know it came in coper, but that does sound good for pennies. Do you know if it will adhere pennies to pennies if you do a double layer? My guys like that idea, although grout seems safer.

    I cleaned off the ball and the pennies last night. The GEII came out of the tube looking normal and the pennies held like I would expect when I first put them on, but if anything, they were looser after 24 hours. I don't think they were going to set.

    I have a caulking gun size of GEII that I will test on a sample piece. If it sets, I will have to keep working and finish a pot and restart a fountain I did with the wrong adhesive last spring. It's a lot harder to peel everything off and start the second time. :-(

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    One thing I love about bowling balls or other gazing balls is that everything seems to look good on them. Simeple designs and elaborate ones -- bright or soft colors (the pansy ball) are so pretty and fun to look at. I never wanted a gazing ball in my garden when they were just mirrored glass and was only slightly tempted by a cobalt blue glass (probably my favorite color). I love the mosaic ones. Thanks to everyone who has shared pictures of theirs in this and other threads.

  • Shades_of_idaho
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    GEll does not play nice with copper. Better to use something else.

  • foxglove44
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    WOW.. I didn't know that GEII didn't work well w/ copper.
    Thanks Shade.. thatsgood to know
    Betsy

  • Dottie B.
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Personally, I believe that how an adhesive is applied and how long it is allowed to cure, before grouting, makes a huge difference in how well the piece will hold up.

    I would use plumber's goop for your penny ball....work's great for glass globs too.

    I've had wonderful luck with Weldbond to apply glass mirrors. I think the key is to not apply too much, apply to both surfaces and then allow the glue to get slightly tacky (30-60 seconds) then put the pieces together.

    When I don't feel like messing with mixing thinset I use a pre-mixed concrete patch...works great.

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I was testing my larger tube of GEII and I'm not sure yet if it's going to set up properly. SOunds like it will be better to get some liquid nails for thios project and save the GEII for the fountain and flower pot if it does set. I got your note just before heading out to the store. Thanks!

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Remembering Wench's story was a primary reason for researching the adhesive issue before I got started. I was also unsure about the pennies.

    I'm on the phone with GE right now and they said they GEII should be fine with copper and they confirmed that both tubes were withing there shelf life and should be good. I'm wondering if it was a hot Walmart semi. Either way, I'm off to see what I can find.....

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I restarted the penny ball using liquid nails last night. Those pennies are on there tight. I also picked up some new GEII, adn I will be using that when I restart the fountain. I'm going to make sure it stays indoors and that I finish that project well before the expiration fate -- a year and a half from now. LOL

  • lovesrocks
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here are a couple of the balls that I have recently finished. I have done at least 5 so far. I really like them. I use tufa mix to grout them, just because I have it and know exactly how much to mix up for one ball.

  • lascatx
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have the ball nearly redone with GEII now. Much better this time.

  • louella
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am so glad that people had advised you to use the SE11. I made a mistake when I made my first ball. I used weldbond, which I love for my indoor mosaics, it works great! For outdoor use? BAD IDEA! Its not for outdoor use. Soooo, I made a beautiful ball and worked long on it and now its still beautiful, but it needs to stay indoors for its life. which is okay, it lives in my living room. OMG I can't belive this, who is from Madison??? Thats where I live, oh my, I have never met anyone who does mosaics befor from Madison, if your out there I would love to talk to you!!!! Louella

  • louella
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I thought I would mention thin-set mortar for an adhesive for your pots. It is what I use on flowerpots. Its thick so things don't slide around, its waterproof , My pots are really built! Meaning, they are going to last a long time, and not fall apart after one season. Hope this helps. Louella

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