A super cute and easy decoration for the winter, a bowling pin penguin! Some paint, a little sandpaper, and a scrap of fabric come together to create a cute mascot for your hearth or other decorating needs.
Bowling Pin Penguin Supplies
Bowling Pin (I got mine for $1 from a local alley’s supply of old pins)
Fingernail Polish Remover
White primer paint
Sandpaper (100 grit or coarser)
Paint brushes (1″ for body and a small round brush for details)
Acrylic paint in black, dark yellow, red, and white
Scrap of flannel fabric
Paper towels or rags
Preparing the Bowling Pin
First step to a cute penguin is preparing your pin. If yours is like mine, it has lots of dings and nicks and is filthy from years of bowling balls slamming into them. Start by sanding the worst of the dings and paint off of the pin. It took me less than 10 minutes to sand the first pin with 100 grit sandpaper.
Now, wipe down the pin with a clean rag to get the sanding dust off of it. Now wipe it down using the fingernail polish remover to remove any residual oil on the surface of the pin and let it dry completely.
Prime the Pin
The pin is ready to paint white now. We’ll be covering most of the pin in black later but since it is easier to paint dark onto light colors we’ll use a white primer on the pin. For the primer, use a paint designed to adhere to plastic (the core of the pin is wood but the outer casing is a type of plastic). You can brush it on or use a spray paint primer. Remember to apply the paint in a well ventilated area and if you use spray paint make sure you are where floating paint won’t paint something else accidentally. You’ll likely need 2 coats to completely cover remaining writing on the pin.
Make the Shape
Ok, this is the hardest part of the whole project and it isn’t that hard. Use the pencil to lightly draw the outline of the area to remain white. Do not worry about getting it perfect. If you make a mistake, just rub it off with your finger and try again. The first one I drew the face pointed one way and the body the other way. Just look at my completed penguin and copy the general shape.
Once you have the shape roughly like you want it use the 1″ paintbrush and the black acrylic paint to paint the rest of the pin. Don’t worry about perfect lines around your shape right now, you’ll smooth those in a bit. Just rough in the shape like this example photo and let it dry.
Touch up the Black
Now that your penguin is dry so you can easily hold it, use the smaller paintbrush and black paint to smooth out the edges around the white and touch up and missed spots from the earlier coat of paint. Let dry again.
Paint the face
The face is nothing more than two ovals and a bent triangle. Use the smaller brush to paint two black ovals for eyes and then paint the dark yellow triangle beak. I just mixed a little black and red with my yellow paint. Allow to dry and then add small white highlights to the eyes. If you are having real trouble making the ovals, use an oval hole punch on painter’s tape to create a quick stencil.
Seal the Penguin
Once everything is dry, seal the paint with a clear polyurethane to protect the paint and add some shine.
Add a Scarf
A small scarf is the perfect last touch to your bowling pin penguin. Simply cut out a strip of flannel material (remember that old work shirt you really should throw away) roughly 1″ wide and 8″ long. Clip the ends to create a fringe. Tie around the penguin’s neck. Done!