Thursday, May 21, 2015

Golf Ball Ladybugs

A friend shared the basic instructions for these cute ladybug garden decorations with me this past winter.  I think they are adorable.  I started scouting out the materials right away.  I had some of the paint, but only two golf balls.  I asked people I knew who golfed if they had used golf balls they'd part with.  I found most golfers use golf balls until they die or they lose them.  To keep my hope of giving some as gifts, I had to refrain from asking the people who were on the list of potential ladybug recipients if they had any golf balls available.  It is hard to explain why you want a bunch of golf balls when you don't golf without revealing your plan.  So, I started looking for places to purchase used golf balls.  Our local driving range had some, but I wanted a better price.  I found a bag available online at half the price per golf ball than at the driving range.  96 golf balls were shipped to my house.  When they arrived, I discovered I had received 97 golf balls.  Add in my two, and I had 99 golf balls.  I needed more paint.  After a shopping trip to a craft store and a hardware store, I had everything collected.  I worked on them as I found time.  Our guest room looked like a ladybug factory for a while.  Eventually, all 99 golf balls became ladybugs.  I just couldn't paint them all red.  I wanted a little variety.  They were Mother's Day gifts for many moms we know and love.  A good number of them are roaming my garden as well.

Here are the materials and the process I used.  Making 99 of them was a bit insane.  You might be happier just making a few.

golf balls
acrylic paints
sealer for outdoor items

sand paper
cardboard box
paint brushes
paper plates
T pins

Since they were all used golf balls, the finish on them was already scuffed, but I gave them a little sanding anyway.

Some soapy water to clean the golf balls and then a run through the rinse cycle.

A towel helped get most of the water off the golf balls.

I let them sit out on a warm sunny day to dry well after being cleaned.

I put the golf balls in a cardboard box, sprayed them with primer, let them dry, shook the box and repeated the process a handful of times.  Eventually, I did look at each golf ball to make sure there were no spots with no primer.

I stuck T pins through some Styrofoam to make a drying rack.  I saw this as a way to dry dyed eggs at Easter time.

I was really careful at first trying to paint around my fingers with the plan to paint the spots I was holding after sitting the golf ball on the pins.  Eventually, I just rolled the golf ball around on a paper plate while painting it letting myself get paint all over my fingers.  Then, I touched it up after picking it up off the paper plate and touched up the last two places where I was holding the golf ball after sitting it down on the pins.  That was much faster!

I didn't start out with the cardboard box under the drying rack, but after one of the golf balls fell off the drying rack and threatened to roll across the table getting paint everywhere along the way (thank goodness I had newspaper on the table), I realized I needed a corral to contain the runaways.  I let the golf balls dry overnight after each coat of paint.  I gave them two coats of the body color.

A head, a stripe and dots were added after the body color was ready.  Two coats for these as well.

I kept the drying rack full.

Lady bugs in various stages of painting.

The drying racks got reused to hold the ladybugs while giving them a few coats of outdoor sealer.

All 99 ladybugs for the group photo.

Little packages of cuteness to share.

Golf ball ladybugs in the garden containers...

Golf ball ladybugs in the house on the plant stand...

Who knows where they'll roam to next.  :-)

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  1. Hahahhaaha--so cute!!

    Do you ever wonder what hubbies think while we are doing these things??
    I think they make adorable gifts. I may have to start painting tomorrow.......

    1. We think life would dull without you. :-)

    2. Daisy, great way to use those less than perfect golf balls. My son used to scour the drainage ditch by the golf course for balls and sell them back to the club house for extra money but with a little extra effort they could have some value added sales.

      Have a great lady bug day.

  2. I agree, making 99 was insane but ever so cute!! Love this project!

    1. The crazy thing is, I'm already thinking they could be painted like bees too.

  3. These are so cute! When I read the title, I thought it was super big lady bugs in your area! LOL!

  4. These are absolutely wonderful!!! They add so much joy. I can see coming upon these among flowers and veggies and bursting out laughing at their cuteness.

    You did a great job and the recipients are going to enjoy them.

    Have a nice holiday weekend ~ FlowerLady

  5. What they are cute! Production on a large scale.
    This gift will give a lot of joy. Kisses :)

  6. Oh wow! Those are just so adorable! I love them and they look so sweet in your containers. I may have to start looking for golf balls at the flea markets and yard sales. :) Have a lovely weekend.

  7. How cute!!!! You are one creative lady... Congrats on all of the new little critters in your garden. Wonder if they would scare away some of our Chipmunks????? ha


  8. Gosh that is production on a massive scale !!

  9. Adorable. i would like to try a "few", nothing on the scale you accomplished. You had a regular ladybug factory. I'm surprised I didn't see anything like that at the Pec thing (an outdoor flea market with lots of garden art.) They would add color in the garden in places where things are not blooming at the moment and they are easily moved around.

  10. I came late to comment - and I see several people have already used the word that had popped into my mind - "production"! You really DID mass produce! They are adorable. I KNOW you brought smiles to many faces when you gifted them with these sweet ladybugs!

  11. Sweet! That is an awesome job. A little art and magic to spice up your garden!


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