Get the Kids Outdoors With This DIY Gnome Bowling Set

Your kids will magically put down their screens this summer and be out in the sun yelling STRIKE with this adorable DIY gnome lawn bowling set.  Recycling, garden gnomes AND bowling – what’s not to love about this project?  If you are in the market for some fun yard games for kids you can’t beat this gnome bowling set.

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Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Me and bowling crafts go way back.  Check out my Bowling Trophy Wine Bottle Stoppers, similar to this gnome bowling set is the DIY Witch Bowling Halloween Game I once made and I even sell Vintage Gold Bowling Charms on Etsy.  Ya, I like bowling.  

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Supplies for DIY Gnome Lawn Bowling Game

  • 10 empty 2-liter bottles
  • White spray paint for plastic
  • Craft paint in assorted colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Gravel
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Funnel
  • Large ball
  • Clear spray paint top coat
Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Prepping Two Litter Bottles Before Painting

First, remove the labels from the empty bottles.  A straight razor or Goo Gone might help with any stubborn bits.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Rinse and Dry Bowling Pins

Once the labels have been removed, rinse your bottles thoroughly.  Be sure to remove all Goo Gone.  Allow to dry completely.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Fill DIY Bowling Pins With Gravel

Use a funnel to pour gravel, rice or lentils into each bottle. Be sure to add enough so your gnome bowling pins won’t blow over in the wind.  However, make sure that the pins are not too heavy to be knocked over by the ball. 

Paint Your Lawn Bowling Pins

Using white spray paint that is specific to plastic coat the bottles.  Several light coats allowing for drying time in-between is always best.  Be sure to paint outside on the grass or a drop cloth.  Allow the spray paint to dry completely.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Paint faces on the DIY Gnome Bowling Set

Lucky me, my mother paint these adorable garden gnomes.  If your mother is not so artistically inclined remember that gnome bowling pins do not need to look super realistic.  Using acrylic craft paint have fun, let the kids paint a gnome or two.  There is no right or wrong way to paint your garden gnome bowling pins.   The backside of the bottle will be very plain with just the gnome’s pants and top. If you are feeling arty, feel free to draw in more details.

I recommend painting the lawn gnome bowling pins in stages allowing the paint to dry between sections.  Remember to include some lady gnomes in your lawn bowling set.  Girl gnomes just wanna have fun too.

Speaking of ladies – do your prefer to wear your gnomes?  Check out my video How to Make Almost Anything Into Jewelry, including vintage garden gnome cake toppers.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Perfect Polka Dotted Toadstools

No gnome lawn bowling set is complete without a few polka-dotted toadstool mushrooms. To get the perfect dots for your lawn gnome eyes and toadstools, dip the end of your paint brush or a pencil eraser into paint and dab.

Love toadstools?  Check out my DIY Polka Dotted Toadstool Stool, the perfect place for kids to sit and wait their turn when playing a round of gnome lawn bowling.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Spray Your Gnome Bowling Pins With Top Coat

When the craft paint detail has dried completely take the gnomes back outside for a layer of top coat.

First glue the lids onto the bottles.  You can screw them on but you run the risk of the lids coming off after a vigorous round of gnome bowling and losing your gravel.

Apply at least two coats of sealer allowing for drying time between.

Choosing a Bowling Ball

The ball you choose should be roughly the same size as an actual bowling ball.  You want something substantial enough to actually work with your DIY lawn bowling game and knock the pins over.

If you think these 2 littler bottles look adorable painted into a lawn bowling set, check out this Mason Jar Terrarium with DIY Gnomes Made From Easter Eggs.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Set Up Your Gnome Lawn Bowling Game

Just like the pins get set up at the bowling alley, set your gnome pins up in a triangular pattern.  Remember this is a DIY yard game so set it up outside.  A smooth patch of grass is key.  Younger players might also benefit from a slight hill if you have one.

If you are playing with really young children consider using pool noodles staked to the ground as ‘bumpers’.  An outdoor bowling lane with bricks on the sides would work too.

Are the pictures from your kids rounds of gnome bowling too cute not to frame?  You probably need to whip up a DIY Gnome Terrarium Picture Frame.

Recycled bottles lawn bowling

Get the Kids Outdoors With This DIY Gnome Bowling Set

Who knew old soda bottles could be so cute?  Next step invite people over for some fun outdoor kid games and impress everyone with your brand new DIY gnome lawn bowling set.  

Next I need to try making outdoor Jenga or one of those pool noodle javelin toss games!  Which one do you think I should try first?  Want more DIY outdoor kid game ideas?  Check out this post for some more inspiration.

Make Your Own Outdoor Games for Kids With DIY Lawn Bowling

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