13 Things to Do with Old Bowling Balls (13 Useful Ways!)

If you are a die-hard lover of bowling, there’s a good chance you bought one or several bowling balls. Taking your own ball to the bowling alley is cool and a great way to improve your game. You can customize the size and the weight for perfect throws to up your score.

However, bowling balls have a limited lifespan. They only last a few years, even with regular polishes and cleanings. Eventually, they’ll chip and scratch, and you’ll need a new ball if you want your game to stay sharp.

Some people also need to repurpose or find ways to dispose of old bowling balls when they’re no longer as into the sport.

Bowling ball on alley in indoor bowling club

Whether it’s old age that finally gets to you or you simply don’t have the time to bowl as much, here are thirteen things you can do with old bowling balls. Some are creative, and other ideas are about efficiency, but they all help you feel like your ball is still serving a purpose.

Take the Ball to the Thrift Store

There’s a good chance that someone else out there is looking for a bowling ball but doesn’t have the money to pay for it. They may not need a brand-new ball, but owning a ball will mean the world to them.

Donate your ball to a thrift store to give someone a chance to own a ball. They’ll get it at a bargain, and you’ll feel good knowing someone is still putting it to good use.

Give It to a Local Bowling Alley

Your local bowling alley may take your ball to put in their rotation.

Sometimes balls with certain weights or finger hole sizes are hard to find. A local alley may only have one or two of them. By donating your ball, you’re giving their customers more options and making the sport more accessible. They may even give you a free game or two if you donate your ball.

Bowling balls on the wooden shelf
Bowling balls on the wooden shelf

Put Your Ball on Display

Have you and your ball been through a lot? Did it get you your highest score ever in a game? There’s no reason to leave it collecting dust in the garage or sitting in a box in the attic. Instead, find a suitable place in your house where you’ll see it and appreciate what the two of you have been through together.

You can look online and buy a variety of stands for your ball to keep it secure. A beautiful bowling ball will look fantastic on a bookshelf or mantle.

Keep It as a Spare

If you’re a serious bowler, you won’t want an old, scratched ball as your primary ball. A new ball will earn you more strikes and keep your game on point when it matters.

However, an older ball is ideal when you have friends tagging along, or something gets stuck in the lane, and you don’t want to use your go-to ball to clear a pin or reset the lane.

Sell the Ball on eBay

You never know; there could be someone out there looking for a custom ball that matches the one you want to get rid of. Instead of donating it, you can earn a few bucks toward your bowling hobby. If you have a unique ball or a premium brand, you can get a decent price even if it’s not in great condition.

young man in casual outfit holding ball and looking away while spending time in bowling club

Make Some Art

On Pinterest, you’ll see hundreds of creative bowling ball art projects. People use creative ways to dress up bowling balls as beautiful garden decorations, hanging decorative balls, cute planter decorations, and more. With some paint and craft supplies, you can turn your old bowling ball into anything with a round shape.

Try covering your old bowling ball with coins or putting glass tiles around them. You can create beautiful mosaics that will look terrific in the sun on a hot summer day. Put them in places where people will come across them and appreciate the lovely yard art.

Make a Bowling Ball Table

If you have more than one bowling ball, you can use them to make some cool bowling furniture. Your bowling balls will serve well as coffee table legs.

You’ll just need a slab of wood or a strong pane of glass for the tabletop. Your colorful bowling balls will be visible through the glass, and the round shape will make it easier to move the table around.

ancient, antique art ball

Create a Unique Lamp

Lamps are an easy project that almost anyone can handle. The base isn’t complicated because all it’s there for is to hide the cord and lift the lightbulb up a bit. A bowling ball lamp base is the perfect way to express your love of the sport and build a unique lamp next to your bed or put it on a side table in the living room.

You can get it by using one of the grip holes for the light stand. You’ll need to drill a hole in the bottom of the ball for the cord to come out and find a suitable base so the ball lamp will stay put.

A Playground Centipede

With enough bowling balls, you can build a cool, colorful centipede or caterpillar for your backyard playground. The first ball will need some painted eyes, and you can paint legs on some of the other balls to give it more detail. Kids will love sitting on the balls or trying to balance as they wall along your new creation.

Make a Cool Globe

Transform your old bowling ball into a world globe if you’re a passionate traveler or want a fun project with the kids. You can find globe stencils online that you can put on the ball and then paint them in slowly as a family project. If you want, you can use the globe to start coloring in countries you’ve visited.

Crashed and damage bowling balls with pins at box

Throw the Ball Away

If you’re not much of an artist and your ball is in poor condition, tossing it could be your only option. Rather than just throwing your ball in the trash, call your local disposal facility to ensure you can put it in the regular trash. Many places have weight limits each week, so you may need to throw it out on a light trash week.

Build a Backyard Bowling Alley

If your family really loves bowling, you can use old balls and find some pins to build a backyard bowling alley perfect for cookouts and holiday celebrations.

You won’t want to throw heavy bowling balls on your grass, but you can build a decent backyard alley with some wood planks and old bowling pins. You may not be able to bowl straight, but at least it will be fun for guests and the kids!

Resurface the Ball

Resurfacing old balls is an option if you want to keep using them despite their old age. Old balls can be hard to replace. You may want to stick with your trusty ball if you’re a competitor or a passionate bowler. Take it to a professional to resurface it and see if you can get several more years of use.


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