Discovering the World’s Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria

Discovering the World's Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria

Let Me Set the Stage

My pal Veronica of Hip Grandma Life and I were in the middle of a multiple-state road trip and Maureen of Visit Anderson/Madison was our guide in this area. We were treated to this charming snapshot of Americana and had the usual blast that Veronica and I create when we combine our energies.

World's Largest Ball of Paint location

We pulled up to this stop in the middle of the country – a simple family home with a few outbuildings, numerous articles of painted wooden decor, and humble signage that seem to be in the middle of nowhere. Almost instantly, a beautiful tail-wagging dog appeared as your welcome waggin’ – yes, I totally went for the pun.

Hailey at the World's Largest Ball of Paint

We were soon to learn the history of this kitschy – yet cool – must-visit attraction and then get to participate in creating history ourselves!

A Family Legacy and Community Effort

What began in 1977 as a father-son project by Michael Carmichael has blossomed into a multi-generational endeavor. Sitting around a table with his three-year-old son with an ordinary baseball and soon layers of paint would be something worthy of a Guinness World Record.

mike carmichael with his toddler

Today, a charming grandpa-granddaughter team lovingly tends to this ever-growing sphere. Their bond and dedication are evident, making each visitor’s experience not only unique but warmly personal.

world's largest ball of paint family

The building housing this colorful giant stands as a beacon of community collaboration. Constructed with donated labor and materials, it encapsulates the heart and soul of Alexandria. It’s a place built not just of bricks but of stories, laughter, and collective pride.

A Canvas of Collective Memories

As you step into this sanctum of color, you’re immediately struck by the immensity of the ball. Suspended with care, it invites you to be part of its story, proudly attached to a scale that shows the weight of this giant ball. (Currently it is at 9,670 pounds!!)

Visitors are encouraged to add their own coats of paint, contributing to its ever-expanding legacy. The paint used is often sourced from sales, clearance deals at a local paint shop, or donations, adding layers of serendipity and generosity to the mix.

World's Largest Ball of Paint on the scale

You see, visiting the World’s Largest Ball of Paint is an exercise in participation. It’s not just about observing; it’s about becoming a part of its story. As you’re handed a loaded roller of paint by Mike Carmichael there’s a moment of connection. You’re not just painting a ball; you’re leaving your mark on a piece of Americana, a tangible piece of a collective narrative that spans decades.

The colors vary wildly, a kaleidoscope of choices made by those who came before. Some choose bright, jubilant hues, splashes of neon and pastels, while others opt for deeper shades, adding to the ball’s mysterious, ever-changing personality. As you apply your chosen color, the paint glides over unknown textures, bumps, and grooves from previous layers, a tactile connection to the past.

Veronica and I getting ready to paint

Veronica and I imbued with the spirit of the place, eagerly added our own layer of paint and helped make it an even larger sphere! (Of course, we went with her signature color of pink.) Our new coat of pink went over the very different color of yellow – giving us a visible remnant of what we were trying to encapsulate.

Celebrating our contribution, we donned the iconic “I painted the World’s Largest Ball of Paint” T-shirts. In a moment of playful exuberance, we rolled around on our freshly painted layer, imprinting our shirts with unique patterns – a tangible, wearable memory of our visit.

We collected our certificates to prove we were record holders after adding the 28,672th layer of paint, and found spots on the prepped ceiling panel to leave our message for future visitors.

World's Largest Ball of Paint certificate

More Than Just Paint

The World’s Largest Ball of Paint is an emotional journey as much as a visual spectacle. Each layer, with its unique color and texture, represents a visitor, a story, a moment in time. It’s a communal canvas, uniting people from all walks of life in the simple, joyful act of painting.

paint is everywhere

Within those walls, you don’t just observe; you become a part of a living history. From the Jackson-Pollack inspired floor to walls adorned with thousands of signatures, the air buzzes with the symphony of shared experiences.

You will get a short history and learn about that first coat pf paint with a toddler son, how a core sample would be taken, and how it got into the Guinness Book of World Records. You can peruse numerous articles, various editions of Ripley, and more from the display.

A Journey Worth Taking

In the end, a Paint Ball transcends its physical form. It’s a celebration of creativity, community, and the joy of leaving your mark on the world. It’s about the laughter shared, the tears wiped away in joy, and the stories that echo long after the paint has dried.

Dannelle Gay's signature on the wall at the Largest Ball of Paint

As you leave, shirt speckled with paint and heart full of memories, you realize that this quirky attraction in Indiana is more than a spectacle. It’s a vibrant chapter in an ongoing story of family, community, and the collective human spirit.

In Alexandria, the World’s Largest Ball of Paint isn’t just a roadside attraction; it’s a living, evolving monument to the beauty of adding your stroke to the canvas of the world. It is certainly one of the fun things you should detour to if you find yourself in rural Indiana on your next road trip – plan to add your own coat of paint and become a world record holder.


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