What To Do With Old Bowling Balls

Bowling balls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are made of metal, others of plastic, rubber, or wood. Many options exist if you want to get rid of your old bowling ball.

What To Do With Old Bowling Balls

You could turn it into a piece of art, a toy, or a lampshade. 

Understand Your Bowling Ball 

If you are getting rid of your bowling ball because you think it’s damaged, it might be worth a rethink. For example, a cracked bowling ball might not be broken but may be damaged due to years of wear and tear.

A bowling ball has three main components: an outer shell, an inner core, and a filling material. The outer shell is typically made of polyurethane resin.

The inner core is typically made of lead or tungsten carbide. Filling materials vary depending on the type of ball. Some balls contain glass beads, while others may contain sand or graphite.

Each material has its properties and needs to be appropriately maintained. 

Rubber bowling balls tend to be softer and less durable than other types. Plastic balls are usually harder and sturdier than rubber balls. Composite balls are made of both rubber and plastic.

These balls are often used for recreational purposes and are generally cheaper than other bowling balls. These materials break down over time, causing the ball to lose shape and become useless.

When this happens, it becomes necessary to replace the ball. However, since many balls are thrown away when they start to crack, there is an opportunity to repair them. How can you do this?

You could take it to a bowling alley repair shop. Repair shops often replace the damaged parts with new ones. The shop can also fix your existing ball as long as the original manufacturer still produces the same type. 

If you want to get rid of your ball because you no longer have any use for it, you could donate it to someone who will enjoy it.

Many nationwide organizations help kids learn the game and offer free bowling lessons and equipment. You could also donate it to a local youth league. If you have a family member who loves to bowl, ask them if they know any groups that would appreciate a gift like this.

Schools often have sports teams; even if they don’t, they may still have students participating in leagues. 

Arts and science departments also use balls for various projects. Some schools offer craft classes, and the bowling balls can be used as materials.

You could also donate to retirement homes. They often have an arts and crafts department that could be used to create exciting activities for residents. 

Youth centers are always on the lookout for resources. These places usually have kids who play games, so they might have a kid (and many) who plays the sport and wants their own bowling ball. 

How about donating to farmers? Animals need stimulation, and farmers use a variety of objects to help keep their animals occupied. If the ball is in good condition, farmers might be interested, as well as some zoos. You could also donate to charity shops, online, or bricks and mortar shops. 

Get Arty 

You may think the best thing about bowling is scoring big points at the end of each frame.

But how about getting creative if you’re winding down that part and wondering what to do with your bowling balls? Why not give your old bowling ball a second life?

You can turn it into a beautiful accent piece for your house or yard by slapping some paint and adding flowers or other decorations. Or, if you want to go all out, you can get some glitter and rhinestones and turn it into a unique holiday gift!

Another fun option is to create a gazing ball out of an old bowling ball using washers. Cover the inside of the ball with washers, and then place the ball in a sunny spot.

To keep the bowling ball safe from children, use a chain-link fence to hold it in place. A gazing ball can also help deter birds from eating your crops. You can turn any old ball into a gazing ball by covering it with reflective tape.

This simple project will ensure you always have something interesting to see when walking around your yard.

Bowling Balls are also excellent for making an edger for vegetable beds, flower gardens, or even around a tree. Cut the balls in half to make them go further, and then you can paint them or create patterns to brighten up the edging and make a great feature. 

You could plant your bowling balls in colorful containers to make a lovely outdoor decoration that will never need watering. To turn them into yard art, drill out the thumb hole and slip them onto a fencepost. You can even paint them with graffiti designs.

For birdbaths, please place them in a shallow bowl.

Keep In Reserve 

If you still enjoy bowling and have found the perfect balls, you may not need all your bowling balls right now, but you should always keep them handy.

A spare ball can help if you miss an easy strike and must get back on track quickly. You could also use a spare ball to change lanes if you struggle to get strikes. And, if you’re looking to slow down the pace of play, you can use a spare ball to bowl slower than usual.

Gift It 

Your local bowling alley is always looking for new balls. Sometimes, they need a few extra pairs. If you have any old balls lying around, why not donate them? You never know when they may need them! 


Unfortunately, balls made of urethane and reactive resins aren’t usually considered recyclable because they’re not made of steel.

Polyurethane is a hard plastic that doesn’t break down easily, so it must be disposed of properly. Most recycling services will not accept it, and some states even ban it outright.

So, if you see a ball with a polyurethane outer shell, don’t toss it in the trash. Instead, call your local recycling center and ask them what to do with it. 

Sell it

There are people out there looking for used balls. You can list your ball on sites like OfferUp, Craigslist, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace, GumTree, Decluttr, and others. This is a good way of making some money from your unwanted balls. 

What To Do With Old Bowling Balls (1)

Pawnshops are everywhere, so finding one to buy your bowling balls isn’t hard. Pawnshops sell anything from jewelry to antiques to electronics, often specializing in those items.

If you find a pawnshop that doesn’t accept bowling balls, try another one nearby. You may even find someone willing to pay a higher price because it’s unusual.

When selling your bowling ball, you must know which pawn shop is best, and there isn’t a single answer.

When choosing a pawn shop, consider many factors, including location, payment options, and customer service. How much could you sell your bowling ball for? 

There are many brands of high-end bowling balls. Some start at around $50, while others can go up to $200. Depending on the brand, they can range anywhere from $150 to $300.

Cleaning Before Selling 

As we have seen, bowling balls are made out of polyurethane resin. Polyurethane resin is not water-soluble. So, if you want to clean your bowling ball, you only need a solvent.

Solvents come in many forms, including acetone, alcohol, methylene chloride, ether, etc. You can also use a solvent like ammonia.

But before you use any of these solvents, you should test them first. If you use a solvent that doesn’t dissolve the material, you will only make the problem worse.

In Summary 

As we’ve seen, there are many ways to rescue your bowling ball; with some imagination and research, it could soon serve a different purpose.

Drew Kaufner