Fun & Beautiful DIY Gazing Ball

8 Materials
$12
4 Hours
Easy

I love all things Spring, especially gazing balls! Florida really does have seasons, albeit not the four commonly known to the rest of the world. For us SW Floridians it's a brief but great time of year between our seasons: blistering heat, torrential rain, hurricane/mosquito and tourist season.


For the past few years I've fought the urge to purchase a gazing ball, in part due to price in part because I don't want to clean up glass if it shatters into smithereens. I decided I would make one, but wasn't sure just how I wanted to concur that and then, it struck me!


I've have several packages of air dry clay in my closet for months, purchased for a something I just had to do, but.... I didn't get around to it & now it doesn't seem important. Then a few weeks ago, WHAMO like a ton of bricks the idea for my gazing ball struck me!

Completed Gazing Ball outside in the FL Sun!

This is my finished product, gleaming in the bright sun. This project was so much fun and really pretty simple, I think it would be great to do with kids.

My supplies

This project was complete trial and error. I ended up using one full package of clay plus a small amount of a second package but ran out of gems which required a plan b

My three air dry clay packages

I used 1 1/4 packages of Sculpy which I found to be very easy to work with. I purchased these at Joann many months ago during their remodel/mega clearance sale.

Rolling out my clay

First, find something to set the ball into so it doesn't roll away. I didn't think of that until I had to chase it around a few times


I wasn't sure how sticky this clay was going to be so I opened the wrapper and slowly began rolling the clay out inside the wrapper using a dowel left over from my Drying Rack DIY

Rolling out clay as thin as possible

Once I realized it wouldn't stick to my surface I continued rolling it out to the desired thickness- just tick enough to cover the ball without tearing.

When in doubt, add glue!

I added a thin layer of Tacky glue to the surface of the ball just to help it stick. I highly recommend wearing gloves at this point

All covered in clay

Here's a shot of the ball completely covered in clay

Spritz with water often

I keep a spritz bottle at my work station at all times. It comes in handy for keeping acrylic paint and glue wet, wiping up mistakes and keeping air dry clay pliable.

Applying gems

I was shocked to find the gems stuck to the damp clay without any added glue.

Moving a long and having a blast

As I was doing the happy dance I realized I didn't have nearly enough gems. Sigh

I began searching my stash for items I could add.

Broken Jewelry

I decided to add the clear pieces of this old bracelet and some small beads from a fan pull I bought on clearance years ago.

More gems plus other items from stash

It's coming along but I've stretched what I had as far as I could, I'm going to need to go back to Dollar Tree for more.


I made several trips to various Dollar Tree stores and they were all out of gems so I went to an art supply store. They did have gems but at 7x the price for one container and in different colors I decided to wait.

Sealing and adding sparkle

Dollar Tree got gems in but in a much different color pallet than what I'd purchased before. I bought three more bags and some self stick gems and off I went to finish this project.


Since the clay had now dried I did several things


  • mixed a combination of diluted glitter paint with Mod Podge and drizzled it between the existing gems
  • for additional adherence and water proof the dried clay
  • Glued the rest of the gems on with Weld Bond multi purpose glue

I already had all other items on hand so there was no additional cost

My Dollar Tree stick on gems

Dollar Tree self stick gems. I cut these to fit and stuck them in between the glass gems and jewelry pieces.

Stand

All of the gazing balls I've seen are completely round and displayed upon a stand made specifically for them. I plan to put this on the patio either free standing among my plants or on a plant stand so it was important that it could stand on it's own. While the clay was wet I imbedded a plastic jar lid into it, made sure it was level and added some diluted glue around the edge. I then stood it on my lazy Susan where the weight allowed it to dry in place & made adding gems much easier for me. I covered the based in small gems and sealed with glitter glue.

Completed
  • Let dry.
  • Dampen a towel with rubbing alcohol and wipe off all of the gems to remove any paint and glue that may have gotten on the surface.
Enjoy

This is a close up of the ball completed and standing outside my front door. I'm pretty happy with the outcome especially since I really was winging it.


I found this project so relaxing and so much fun that I may do something similar with my niece.

Another view a top it's stand.

Playing with clay, sparkly things and glue is FUN and not just for kids.


Enjoy

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  • Donna Donna on May 18, 2021

    Cute idea! How about cutting a hole in the top and placing a solar light inside? I’m not sure if it would show through the clay but gluing the stones with clear glue directly onto the ball might? Then just fill in with paint instead of “grout”. I would definitely keep it on a covered patio or under a tree though.

  • Pam Galicki Pam Galicki on May 18, 2021

    wont the clay turn mushy when it rains on the ball?


  • Barbara Brown Barbara Brown on May 19, 2021

    Lovely idea. Wondering if you know or can estimate how much one of these, when all finished, would weigh?

Comments

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  • Lety Lety on Jun 01, 2021

    That’s a beautiful ornament for the front door!!

  • Hi Letty,

    Thanks for your comment. I do have this in my courtyard which is also the entrance to my home. The ball itself is round and rather large so i'm not sure how I'd make it hang from the front door successfully. You've got me thinking though, if I were to use a half circle it would work beautifully. Thank you for your feedback!!!

    Best, Kim

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