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Oct 07, 2015

Watching paint dry leads to Guinness world record in rural Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Mike Carmichael simply wanted to do something weird when he and his 3-year-old son slapped a coat of blue paint on a baseball in 1977.

The central Indiana resident stuck with painting the ball, which grew large enough to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004.

At that time, it was 9 feet (2.7 meters) across, and the record was an estimated 18,000 layers of paint. Now Carmichael, 68, figures he is at close to 25,000, although he never set out to break records.

The ball now measures 14 feet after Carmichael, his family, friends and even visitors added more coats of paint over the last several decades. At its last weigh-in two years ago, the sphere of ever-changing colors was about 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg).

Carmichael keeps the ball in a custom-built structure on his property in Alexandria, a town of about 5,000 people about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The ball, which now looks more like a giant gourd, hangs from the ceiling with heavy chains and an industrial hook. A mirror beneath it ensures the painter does not miss a spot.

At one point, Carmichael considered cutting the ball in half to see all the layers of color, but given its size, he dropped that idea.

As for how long Carmichael plans to keep going, he is not sure. The current set-up can hold 11,500 pounds, he said, so he has some time before the ball will drop.