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How to Make Ladybugs out of Bowling Balls

Old bowling balls can take up room in your closet or attic. You may be tempted to throw them away or donate them to a local thrift store; however, old bowling balls can be used to make works of art for your home or garden. Because of their round shape and drilled holes, they can easily be turned into ladybugs with just a little paint, copper wire and wooden beads.

Clean the bowling ball using soap and water. Towel it dry. Leave it for several hours, with holes pointing down to allow any moisture inside of them to dry.

Prime the bowling ball with an exterior primer. Do one thorough coat, and leave the primer to dry completely.

Use an exterior latex paint to paint your bowling ball red. Use three coats to get an even color. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before adding the next.

Use painter’s tape to create a ladybug pattern. Create the wings, tail end and head by running a piece of tape on the right third of the bowl and one on the left third. The tape should be closer together on the top of the ball and form a triangular shape for the head and tail end. The holes of the bowling ball should be on the side of the ball between the two pieces of tape, about where the eyes should be, with the thumb hole pointing up. Create the spots by laying three to four pieces of painter’s tape overlapping one another. Then use a craft knife to cut a circle in the tape. Place the circle on the ball where you desire the spots to be. Repeat this process to create more spots. The number of circles you need to create depends on the number of spots you want on your ladybug.

Use a stenciling brush to apply black exterior latex paint between the two strips of painter’s tape and inside the spots you made. To use a stenciling brush, use the stippling technique, which is a method of dabbing the paint-filled brush over the surface repetitively instead of using painting strokes.

Allow the black paint to dry completely before removing the paint. Touch up the edges of black areas as needed using a small brush.

Use black caulk to fill the holes in the bowling ball. Insert two 8½-inch pieces of number 6 copper wire into the thumb hole. This can be obtained from your local hardware store, and you can have them cut it to size before you leave. Use a hot glue gun to attach a 1-inch black wooden bead to the end of each of the copper wires to create your antennae. Allow the caulk to dry completely before putting the bowling ball in your yard.


Try different colors to create a variety of ladybugs. By making several ladybugs and placing them in your garden, you can have your own ladybug parade.

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