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How to Decorate Bowling Pins

Cyndi Bass

Ever wonder what bowling alleys do with the old worn-out bowling pins? They usually sell them or give them away. Crafters have figured out a variety of ways to decorate used bowling pins and give them a new use, such as table legs.

Decorate bowling pins to create a variety of holiday figures.

Bowling alleys, charities, schools and other organizations have bowling pin decoration contests. Contestants are given a bowling pin to decorate and must follow the contest rules, such as decorating for a holiday or specific theme.

  1. Sand the wooden bowling pins to diminish scratches and nicks from the wear and tear they received.

  2. Apply a coat of sealant or primer.

  3. Coat the bowling pin with a solid color of paint. White and tan are easy to work with and can be the background for a variety of items such as a person, penguin, ghost or angel.

  4. Paint facial features and clothing on the pin. For example, paint a girl's face wearing a bikini or a comical man wearing a tight t-shirt with his belly button on display. Other ideas include painting city skylines, beaches, mountains or animals onto the pin. For the non-artistic, you can use decoupage to attach pictures, decals or stickers to the pin.

  5. Sign and date the bottom of the bowling pin with a permanent marker. This may make your piece of art more valuable in the future or be a treasured keepsake for your descendants.

  6. Apply a sealant or coat of varnish over the project and allow to completely dry.

  7. Cut pieces of material to create wings, eyebrows, beaks or buttons and hot glue them on to the pin.

  8. Decorate the finished piece by adding a bow tie, pom-poms, hats, or tying a scarf or cape around the neck. Other options include adding real buttons, fur, hair or ribbon. You can also drape beads around the pin.

  9. Tip

    Cover the bowling pin with a layer of glitter. Have people sign the bowling pin. Turn your work of art into a table lamp. Use miniature plastic bowling pins for kids' crafts.


    Don't use dirty pins without cleaning them first or the paint may peel.