What a screwball: Man paints baseball every day for 34 years... now it weighs one and a half TONS
A madcap decorator has painted a baseball every day for 34 years to create the world's - largest ball of paint.
Dedicated Michael Carmichael, 64, has plastered a new coat daily since embarking on the bizarre project in 1960s.
He has plastered an incredible 22,894 coats of paint to create the mammoth ball - which now weighs a staggering 3,500lbs (1587kg)
Laying it on thick: Michael Carmichael applies the 22539th coat of paint to a giant baseball at his home in Alexandria, Indiana
It is now so large that it requires re-enforced metal rods to suspend it from the roof of Michaels' shed - which he custom-built 15 years ago to house the behemoth.
He set up a website highlighting the attraction and now people travel from all over the world to visit Michael and add a coat, which is painstakingly documented in a ledger at home.
Speaking yesterday, Michael said: 'It started as a relatively simple project and a bit of fun. But I just kept on painting and painting and painting. And before I knew it, it was enormous.
How it all began: The first coat of paint is applied to Michael Carmichael's baseball by his son Mike Jr in 1977
'People come from all over the world to add a coat. Sometimes I can add up to ten coats a day if the weather is dry, but we've added at least one every day.'
Grandfather-of-six Michael, who lives in Alexandria in the US state of Indiana with wife Glenda, 61, said that he first produced a ball by accident in 60s, but he embarked on the bizarre project in January 1977.
Painter and decorator Michael estimates he has spent thousands of dollars daubing the baseball, which was a mere 2.86 inches in diameter (nine inches circumference) when he started.
His son Mike Jr applied the first coat with a paint brush, but Michael now requires a roller due to the sheer size.
Landmark: The 1500th coat of paint is applied to the ball. The only rule is that each new coat has to be a different colour to the one before it
Getting bigger: The 13,300th coat of paint is applied to ball. Visitors have flocked from around the world to add new coats of paint
'I've got to met some really interesting people as a result and always thank them and take their picture.
'I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it but have no plans to stop painting it.
'My grandchildren have expressed an interest in it so maybe it could become a family heirloom.'
Michael said that he began his first paintball in the 60s when on a summer vacation he was working at a local paint store and was throwing a baseball.
'It knocked over a gallon of paint and the ball was covered,' he added.
'We cleaned up the paint up from the floor but left the ball as it was, with paint on it. I set it on top an old table, and the next day I went to get it I was sparked with the idea.'
Michael then wrapped a wire around the ball and dipped it in a gallon of paint and repeated the process. When he got to 1,000 coats he donated to a children's home .
Michael added: 'After several years I knew that someday I wanted to start another one and in 1977, my wife Glenda, and I had started another baseball.
'On January 1, 1977 I let my son at the age of three put the very first coat of blue paint on the ball.
'We painted the ball many times a day, while the ball was little and easy to handle and Glenda painted the ball several times a day while I was working; I painted it in the evenings and on the weekends.
'After a while, it became a piece of artwork and we rather enjoyed showing it off and now it's become an attraction that people love to come and see.'