Asked on Sep 11, 2015

What to do with a vintage gum ball machine

Judy Clark
by Judy Clark
I had this red gum ball machine in my storage building and decided to pull it out and use it for something. What am I filling it with? BUTTONS - All white of course!
  38 answers
  • Judy Judy on Sep 11, 2015
    I have one just like this and filled it with old marbles.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Sep 11, 2015
    @Judy Clark That's awesome! My mom sews & one like that would be perfect for her old button collection, if I had one I'd fill it with faux pearls & put it in my seashore themed bathroom. :)
  • Steven E. Bunn Steven E. Bunn on Sep 11, 2015
    I filled one with antique pool balls
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 11, 2015
    How about coins? Is there a way to get them out. I would imagine so but can't tell by photo.
  • Cathleen W Cathleen W on Sep 11, 2015
    I have one, older and on a stand - You can get the gum balls at Wal-Mart and Toy's R Us. I like the marble idea though.
  • Diana Wearing Diana Wearing on Sep 11, 2015
    I made a couple succulent terrariums with mine ~ one with live plants and one with faux succulents ~ it was the first project I posted on Hometalk :-)
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  • Dmw2094062 Dmw2094062 on Sep 11, 2015
    Use different size marbles, I saw this in a magazine and I have done this. It's really cute
  • Melanie Bradley Melanie Bradley on Sep 11, 2015
    i used to have a old gum machine and i put my grandmothers marble collection in it. oh just like dmwfarm
  • Heidi Giunta Heidi Giunta on Sep 12, 2015
    I found an old bubblegum machine at our local Salvation Army . I had no idea what to do with it but then I made a fish bowl!
  • Melanie Jean Stultz Melanie Jean Stultz on Sep 12, 2015
    what about sea shells
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Sep 12, 2015
    What about a planter? Or a bank? Put it on the counter in kitchen, remove top and store utensils in it. Paint a silly face and put a wig on it! Change with the seasons.
  • Linda Linda on Sep 12, 2015
    Could you turn it into a fish tank? I don't know if it could be made to hold water but perhaps you could glue the bottom part so it doesn't leak?? You'd have to remove the red lid, I suppose. I can just see a fish or two swimming around in there!
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    • Linda Linda on Sep 23, 2015
      @Heidi Giunta You make me want to run out and find a gum ball machine. I really am going to keep my eyes open for one.
  • Elizabeth Pilkey Elizabeth Pilkey on Sep 12, 2015
    It looks like a REALLY nice old piece. I'd use it for what it is and fill it with Jelly Beans or gumballs. Colour coordinate them to your room decor if you like.
  • Kim Cunningham Kim Cunningham on Sep 12, 2015
    A lamp- you can get a lamp kit at home box store :)
  • Eileen B. Eileen B. on Sep 12, 2015
    I agree with Kim Cunningham. A lamp would be good you could fill it with marbles to make it look like it has gumballs in it
  • Laura Laskey Laura Laskey on Sep 12, 2015
    I made mine into a planter. I took the glass bowl to a local glass shop and had them cut a piece of glass the correct size for the bottom. I then used aquarium sealant to adhere the pieces together. Voila! One planter.
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  • Laura Laskey Laura Laskey on Sep 12, 2015
    Also, one of my favorite bloggers shows how she made hers into a fish bowl. It was the inspiration for my planter. The instructions can be found here:
  • Sheila Sheila on Sep 12, 2015
    I put gum balls in mine .
  • Rosalie chow Rosalie chow on Sep 12, 2015
    The glass of my gumball machine broke. I happened to have a clear glass head. I made a knitted hat on the head and place it on top of my gumball machine. It fits, I inserted wine core in the clear glass head. When I place a quarter the head moves. Cool I think. It looks like it a wine core dispenser. Enjoy. God bless you.
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  • Debbie Kauk Debbie Kauk on Sep 12, 2015
    you could do a terrarium in it and put plastic succulent plants.
  • Ann daniel Ann daniel on Sep 13, 2015
    make a lamp that's what I would do.
  • Watts in DE Watts in DE on Sep 13, 2015
    I like the Lamp, terrarium and fish bowl ideas also. Here's some other ideas to get your brain tinkering; 1.Make a faux aquarium, with clear epoxy, plastic plants from the pet store and source some other animal (?) to suspend/swim in the bowl, from toys or other minnitures for dioramas, alligator, goat, giraffe whatever. 2. Could you make it into a drinking vessel for sharing with straws? I'm interested in seeing the results of what ever you do with it.
  • Sue Peet Sue Peet on Sep 13, 2015
    lamp post for your front yard.
  • Darla Conley Darla Conley on Sep 14, 2015
    I stored my vintage marbles in mine. Great way to display memories.. marbles and gumballs :)
  • Lonita D Lonita D on Sep 15, 2015
    Love the shell button idea - with the plain white, you can always add glass stones, shells or other colorful bits according to the season.
  • Denise Boyce Denise Boyce on Sep 19, 2015
    With a little DYI you can install a low wattage solar led to the inside of the lid and have a nice night light. With all those buttons glowing it'll look great Use it outside for just enough light to sit and relax after dark.
  • Tanya Alford Tanya Alford on Sep 20, 2015
    Our son & daughter>n>law are New Orleans SAINTS fans. He took it apart & painted it the SAINTS colors. Then put M&M's in the colors Black, Gold, & white in it. It turned out fantastic. Now everyone has to pay a penny to eat the LUCKY M&M's.
  • Patsy McQuade Patsy McQuade on Sep 21, 2015
    The glass globe in ours was broken, so my husband put a terracotta pot in its place. He put the 'pipe' that goes thru the globe area, thru the hole in the pot and stabilized it---I don't know how, actually. I planted a hanging vine and colorful flowers in the pot and it looks wonderful!
  • Dee Dee on Sep 24, 2015
    I recently saw a lamp made from a vintage gumball machine. I love my old white buttons, too!
  • Barb Barb on Sep 25, 2015
    How about making it into a lamp for a child's room or a family room.
  • Rosalie chow Rosalie chow on Nov 18, 2016
    I broke the glass globe and make the top into this. See below picture. Now it is my wine cork dispenser.
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  • That's adorable. I would make a snow globe out of it for Christmas.

  • Annie Annie on Dec 22, 2023

    If you clean it out well, you could use it for candy!

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 03, 2024

    If you take the gumballs out this would be a cute lamp for a child's room.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 03, 2024

    Hi Judy: I'd use multi-coloured pompom balls :)

  • Fill it with vintage jewelry.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 08, 2024

    Fill it with marballs

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 08, 2024

    Oooooo, wine corks.