31 spare bowling balls.
March 24, 2010 4:29 PM   Subscribe

What neat things might I do with 31 bowling balls?

So I just acquired 31 bowling balls. Someone on Craigslist was giving them away for free - and they didn't want to split them up. So I went and got the whole lot on an impulse. Now I have 31 bowling balls! Hooray!

So...what really neat things might I do with them? Could be a new sport, a competition, an art project, a science experiment, a happening, whatever, as long as it's:

1) Legal.

2) Really neat.

3) Not too dangerous.

4) Inexpensive (preferably on the free end).

Thanks all!
posted by Lutoslawski to Grab Bag (33 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of friends.
Empty parking lot.
BIG chalk circle.
Play some marbles.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

i've always wanted to make one of those faux perpetual motion devices with bowling balls instead of those little silver balls.
posted by radiosilents at 4:32 PM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

Enormous Newton's Cradle.
posted by Bardolph at 4:32 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

blow. them. up.
posted by pwally at 4:33 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't drop them from the top of a football stadium. If you do, they will bounce much higher than you expect, take a funny bounce and go farther than you expect, and then smash whatever car they land on.

Do not ask me how I know this.
posted by The World Famous at 4:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [38 favorites]

Build a trebuchet and lay siege to something!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

(That's what this guy does, only he makes his ammunition out of concrete.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:43 PM on March 24, 2010

drill a hole in the centers, and make a lamp with a metal rod and a lamp kit. either stack a few, or make bedside lamps. xmas = taken care of.
posted by nadawi at 4:45 PM on March 24, 2010

Contact Adam Savage and offer to give him the bowling balls in exchange for going along with him to participate in whatever he does with them.
posted by The World Famous at 4:52 PM on March 24, 2010 [6 favorites]

Make a Bowling Ball Caterpillar or turn them into Garden Art.
posted by labwench at 5:00 PM on March 24, 2010

If you have lots of colors they make an awesome border for a flower bed or a garden. There was a house a few blocks down from mine that had tons of bowling balls incorporated into their front yard landscaping. They had some bowling pin arrangements in there too. It was the neatest thing. Then they sold the house and the crotchety new owners got rid of all the balls.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 5:00 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Find someone with a bowling ball cannon (maybe easier said than done), even if just to hear the awesome noise they make in person... 31 times.
posted by knapah at 5:13 PM on March 24, 2010

You could try stacking them before you do anything else with them.
posted by lucidium at 5:21 PM on March 24, 2010

This is maybe not the kind of answer you were thinking of:

1) Go bowling.

2) watch to see who is the most intense teenage bowler at the lane.

3) give them a bowling ball.

4) repeat until all bowling enthusiasts under 20 in your area have been served (granted, in a modern metropolitan area, this may mean one or less than one kid).
posted by Valet at 5:38 PM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

Build a lovely wall in front of your house, like so Grout river stones onto to them for cooler than they should be lawn decorations, like so.
Along those line, cover them in pennies, for another cooler than it should be orb. Like these.
Make a giant clawfoot table. Like this.
Get the grout back out and mosaic one. Like so.

Although I like the giant marbles idea.
posted by piedmont at 5:53 PM on March 24, 2010

Use them as lawn edging. Be sure to bury the holes so that people can't pull them out of the ground.
posted by bolognius maximus at 5:56 PM on March 24, 2010

Performance Art.
posted by ovvl at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2010

enclose them and lie down, just to see what it's like.

flower pot?
posted by acidic at 6:31 PM on March 24, 2010

My family actually had a bunch of bowling balls just laying around about 10 years ago (we love to bowl and had accumulated a TON of them).

We took 15 of them that were nearly the same weight and painted them like billiard balls. Then we arranged them in a triangle out in the back yard and played bowling billiards, using one of the heavier ones as the 'cue ball' :)

We had a bunch of landscaping timbers that we secured to the ground in the rough shape of a pool table, with gaps for the 'pockets'.

After a couple weeks, the paint job was pretty much chipped/scuffed fairly bad, but by then, the novelty had worn off, but definitely fun while it lasted (and made a fun graduation party game).
posted by johnstein at 6:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

I'd say use it as a platform, making something cool like putting a bed on top or a tabletop. It'd be fun and rolly!
posted by joni. at 6:59 PM on March 24, 2010

balance board....

cut a piece of plywood into an oval.
screw some rails to the bottom around the edges. (also made from plywood)
plop the plywood down on a bowling ball and try to balance on the whole mess.
posted by malp at 7:58 PM on March 24, 2010

Try to sell some on the subway.
posted by chairface at 9:47 PM on March 24, 2010

Bowling ball-henge. Sort of like this or this, but with bowling balls.
posted by flug at 9:52 PM on March 24, 2010

Set them out on varied height pieces of rebar so they seem to be hovering above your lawn (someone in Seattle did this a decade or so ago and it looked awesome.
posted by Good Brain at 12:08 AM on March 25, 2010

A large scale month calendar.

Rotate the ball representing the current date in a large five tiered rack so that the large number from 1-31 painted on the ball becomes visible. The current month is displayed painted on a row of used bowling pins standing atop the rack.

Sell it to a bowling alley.
posted by fairmettle at 2:37 AM on March 25, 2010

Store them on the upper shelf of a closet and wait for some poor, unsuspecting person to open the door. (What? Isn't that what they always do in cartoons?)
posted by wjm at 3:12 AM on March 25, 2010

bowling ball billiards sounds amazing!
posted by milestogo at 5:24 AM on March 25, 2010

Giant pachinko machine.
posted by notyou at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2010

Make lots of creepy lawn eyes for Halloween!
posted by Sophie1 at 8:48 AM on March 25, 2010

My friend's dad has a really great bowling ball garden. He has a little patch of land in his backyard connected to the deck that's about 4x4 square. He put in metal rods bent at different angles and attached bowling balls to them. It looks as if he's growing bowling balls. I always liked it.
posted by brgale at 8:51 AM on March 25, 2010

Holy crap. These are incredible suggestions. Ok, I'm gonna have a meeting with my roommate who happens to be a carpenter and see what might be feasible/awesome. I will keep you all updated on what we do with them.

You guys rock. Thanks!

(and more ideas are always welcome!)
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:35 AM on March 25, 2010

Paint the top half to look like ladybugs and plant them in a lawn. (doesn't have to be your lawn, can be a friend's lawn) You can get creative and make antennae. Do this w/ coathanger wire topped w/ large beads. Then stick the assemby into corks that you place into two thumbholes.
posted by mightshould at 9:41 AM on March 25, 2010

Mondo Croquet.

Also, randomly, I think it'd look really awesome to use bowling balls as a bedframe. Like, between your mattress and the floor. Very hip. Maybe start with laying out a big X and fastening them together, and then loosely filling in some of the inbetween spots.
posted by redsparkler at 11:20 AM on March 25, 2010

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