These pictures are of my paper mache punch balloon mosaic balls….but I am currently doing the same thing to bowling bowls.
- 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
Before you get started, decide on what you will use to cover the ball. If using broken china, ensure that all pieces are the same thickness. If using stained glass, you can cut it into desired sizes with a glass cutter or wheeled nippers. Flat marbles are easy to use and can be found at any hobby store. Seashells can also be used, but they 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 the glass & can be wiped off later.
I usually put the ball in a plastic bag to dry slowly. You don’t 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 sun rooms.
Memphis’s Tip: I draw out my designs, attach my glass pieces with clear liquid silicone caulking, let dry a couple of days then add CEG-LITE Commercial Epoxy Grout (sold at Home Depot). It comes in 2 pouches in the bucket that you mix to activate …. grout comes out almost as a liquid rubber and rub it over glass pieces and wipe off excess.