Garden orbs are a popular decorative feature that many people like to place around their landscaping. They serve as reflective surfaces, pops of color, and even elegant seasonal spheres that is sure to bring attention to areas within your yard year-round. Almost no garden center is without its selection each spring, but amongst all the various choices, it can be difficult to find the perfect sphere that will perfectly compliment your vegetation and garden bed designs.
With a little ingenuity and a few simple craft items, you can easily find how to make your own decorative garden balls. With a quick trip to a resale shop, you can provide even more opportunity. Below, I’ll explain some of the most popular foundations you can begin with, and a few of the countless ways you can decorate them to fit your own personal garden style.
How to Create Ball Bases
Before you can begin to customize a decorative garden sphere, you do need to have a foundational base to work from. There are a few popular ways to get this taken cared of, and I’ve provided a brief explanation of some of the most popular options crafters like to work with. Not only are these easy to find, but compared to premade glass garden ball decor, these are downright cheap. They can also provide you with ideas to personalize your project.
No more having to scour the garden centers and internet for the perfect garden touch, now you can make your own orbs in any size you want. Once you start with one (or all) of the following bases, there is no limit to what you can do to them to bring interest to your landscaping.
– Upcycle Globe Lighting Fixtures
Whether you dig one up at your local thrift store, or simply purchase a new one, glass (and plastic) globe lighting fixtures come in all shapes and sizes. They can provide the perfect base for any ideas you may have concerning garden ball decoration. These are also the choice you will want to take advantage of it if you are considering any sort of lighting detail.
Concrete balls can be left as is, or used to create awesome stone based garden features. Durable and long-lasting, you will probably want to bring these in from the elements, each winter as extreme moisture and temperature fluctuations during the winter months can cause them to crack over time. These are also very easy to make as garden centers often charge an exuberant sum for premade ones.
All you need to make one is a round base within which to set your mix. Globe fixtures once again come in handy for this project. And since you will be breaking it, those you can pick up at your local thrift store. Combine a bit of water, concrete mix, and cooking spray to help lubricate the inside of the globe. This is all you need to make your own concrete garden balls.
– Bowling Ball
Bowling balls are durable and inexpensive bases for your decorating ideas. You can look for unused bowling balls in online auctions, thrift stores, or even the garbage. You may also want to check with a local bowling alley concerning chipped or worn balls, since they do replace their balls periodically. Plus, they would also have information on leagues who have swap meets close by or on social media.
– Styrofoam and Concrete
You can also use Styrofoam in various ways to create your sphere. Mixing concrete and using it to coat pre-bought Styrofoam balls or shredding Styrofoam into concrete to use as a molded form works well. Or you can even use a molded Styrofoam/concrete mixture to provide an opportunity to be able to carve your own design into the orb itself. If you are unsure of how well these two products can go together, check this out for further ideas.
– Open Design Spheres
Your decorative garden ball doesn’t need to be a solid base. Variations of different gauges of wire, strips of metal, old barrel hoops, branches, or any other material that holds its shape can be used to create a sphere. Generally, you may want to have a spherical pattern to work from when creating these. A child’s yard ball is a great idea to use for a pattern since they are cheap, easy to find and durable enough to support your spheres. To complete these looks simply wrap your materials around the ball to achieve the look you desire (or connect together if they are already naturally round).
Ball Decorative Ideas
Honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating your base. There is no end to the creativity you can apply to these garden balls- and if you can dream it up, chances are you can make it happen. Just be sure to use waterproof materials, weather resistant adhesives and outdoor lighting to avoid ruining all your hard work.
– Solar Lighting
Light up your globe fixtures using solar lighting that uses a separate panel to run power to the lights. Glaze, pour or spray paint over the glass to create whimsical colors and shapes through the night as glass is actually a great medium for certain types of paint. You can also use clear silicone to adhere flat-bottomed marbles and rock filler to the globe for a gentle evening glow.
1. Find or purchase a thick glass, or acrylic lighting globe
2. Clean well inside and out, and score with a fine sandpaper
3. Use glass approved paints to coat, or create designs and silhouettes upon the glass, or glue a mosaic using flat-bottomed marbles.
4. Place lighting inside with solar panel where it can receive
5. Mount on a pedestal or place upon the ground in your garden
No matter what kind of base you use, you should rough it a bit with sandpaper before attaching items to the surface. One of the most popular ways to decorate garden spheres are with mosaic designs. Whether you want a reflective, natural, or colorful look- a good outdoor, all-weather silicon is your best bet as it is easy and inexpensive to use.
1. Score your base with a fine sandpaper to create a surface for adhering materials.
2. Start with large pebbles, rocks, broken mirrors or old CDs, marbles, etc.- and gradually fill in smaller and smaller spaces with smaller filing materials (beads, sand, etc.).
Rather than include penny mosaics in with the rest in that category, I thought I’d provide them their own highlight due to how cool these types of decorative balls are. Following the directions above- use the saved pennies you’ve hoarded to completely cover (or partially, depending on your preference) to create a shiny, interesting feature that will age over time due to exposure to the elements.
The perk of this is that pennies actual repel slugs and other types of creepy crawlies. How pretty would a series of various sized penny orbs be within your garden? Especially if you have been in need of a good slug repellent that doesn’t leave a slimy mess behind.
– Moss Covered
Although these may not necessarily be the best for outdoor exposure over long periods of time, they can serve as an awesome focal point within more protected areas, greenhouses, and garden sunrooms. All this requires is the base of your choice (avoid using an uncovered Styrofoam for any sort of protected outdoor use as you want something heavy enough to stay put and last)- a quick trip to the craft center for a few supplies, and a little bit of effort and you can have your own mossy, au naturale, customized garden ball to decorate your sitting and socializing areas.
1. Rough the surface of your base with a fine sandpaper
2. Adhere as much, or little, of the type of craft moss you prefer (be sure to cover all exposed surfaces)
3. Decorate with twine or well-placed silk flowers if you want
4. Set out in areas that are protected from rain
– Garden Critters
Paint or decorate your spheres (or series of spheres) to resemble whimsical garden critters. Bumblebees, ladybugs, and frogs are all popular choices, but pretty much anything you can think of will work. Be sure to use outdoor paints and seal your creation for long-lasting color.
1. Rough the surface of your base with a fine sandpaper
2. Draw your design out
3. Paint in the lines and spray over with a clear protective sealant
– Gazing Balls
Bright, reflective gazing balls are always a popular way to bring a splash of color and light to your garden even on the gloomiest of days. You can use shards of broken mirrors or old CDs in a mosaic pattern, or if you use a bowling ball or lighting globe, you can take advantage of mirrored spray paint!
– Open Sphere Fills
Fill your sphere with smaller globes, flowers, or pretty much anything you can dream up to bring the unexpected corners of your garden. This type of creativity brings detail and interest to your garden, and even if you decide to leave them as is, you have something unique to your space to enjoy all season round.
Color is also something you can play with concerning this type of design. Differing bands of color or fun spray paint techniques can be used to bring your vision to life. What is also fun about these types of orbs is the different sizes you can create when you are initially putting the bases together. If you can picture in advance the type of plants you want growing amongst them in your garden you can create some pretty neat landscaping techniques.
I won’t lie: this was a difficult article to write! There are literally thousands of amazing ideas out there concerning how to make decorative garden balls, but to simply list the best ideas I could find wouldn’t provide you with how you might get started with your own piece of art.
The sky truly is the limit when it comes to using decorative orbs in your landscaping design, and don’t be afraid to get a picture of color and texture in your mind and roll with it… literally!
I hope you enjoyed these ideas and are as excited to try a few out as I am! If you loved this article, please share it – and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!