Michael Carmichael, from Alexandria, Indiana has created the world’s largest ball of paint by covering a regulations baseball with tens of thousands of coats of colored paint, for more than 30 years.
The story of Michael’s unusual hobby began one day in the mid 1960s, when he was playing baseball for the Knox County Children’s Home. A baseball accidentally landed in some paint, and Michael was so intrigued by it that he decided to hold on to it as a keepsake. During the two years after that, he kept on dipping it in paint and painting it by hand, until it reached the size of a football. He donated his colorful creation to the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home Museum, where it’s still on display today. Later he tried to get it back so he could continue painting it, but they wouldn’t give it to him.
The idea of applying thousands of layers of paint on a baseball stuck with Michael Carmichael through the years, and on January 1st, 1977 he had his eldest son, who was three at the time, paint over another baseball. That was when the world’s largest ball of paint was born, and over the years, it just kept getting bigger, a lot bigger. Although he claims there were periods of time of up to a year when he didn’t paint one layer on his ball, it still numbers well over 20,000 coats of colored paint, and weighs over half a ton. At first he only intended to apply only 1,000 layers to the baseball, then cut it in half to see what it looks like, but his family encouraged him to keep painting it, and he hasn’t stopped since.
The world’s largest ball of paint has gotten so big that Michael had to build a small shed especially for it. That’s where he applies up to 10 coats a day, on dry days, and allows visitors to leave their mark on his creation by covering with a layer of paint. His willingness to let others contribute to his record-breaking ball of paint has turned his home into a popular tourist attraction for roadside enthusiasts. Apart from his giant ball of paint, Michael Carmichael has taken on another project – painting his neighbor’s lawn in a different theme every month. What can I say, the man’s crazy about paint.