I had made several bottle lamps in the past using varying techniques. They are simple to make, are amazing gifts and can be used all over the place, whether its on your mantelpiece or brightening up your mini-bar.
The key thing is to keep the bottle and the drill bit nice and cool but there are lots of ways of doing this. To establish the best way i wanted to try a few more and having tried several this is a guide to what i think is the best.
The best thing about this project is that it is very cheap and you can achieve the same finish as those found on the internet for around £40. All you need is:
10mm glass cutting bit (i used the spade shaped type but diamond holesaws are also an option)
Battery/ mains operated LED fairy lights
Look on ebay/amazon for lights, i used battery operated sets at around £5 each. The drill bits can be bought at most DIY stores, are fairly cheap and if looked after can be used multiple times.
Step 1: Preparation
The first step is of course picking a bottle; generally i have had best results with coloured glass, this gives a really nice effect and diffuses the light, however, the real key is choosing something special, so no Tesco's basics.
If you want to keep the label (the front one at least) as i often do, covering it is a good idea as different labels react differently to being submerged in water, as you will do shortly. I use a sandwich bag which i put over the bottle and then tape around the bottom covering the front label but leaving a section at the back where you are planing to drill uncovered.
Next find a container that is deep enough to accommodate your bottle and cover it in water... there will be one in your house!!! I found the one i used in my sisters wardrobe.
Place an old towel in the bottom of the container and use it to stop the bottle from rolling, with the back of the bottle facing upwards fill with water to just cover the bottle.
Step 2: Drilling
SAFETY: drilling glass obviously has some hazards, the glass is sharp and if it breaks could cut you so consider wearing gloves. It may also be a good idea to protect your eyes however by drilling underwater you minimise the risk of anything flying out. At this stage also keep the back label on as it will tend to hold any splinters of glass.
To drill you need a 10mm glass specific drill bit (may also be called a ceramic drill bit).
With your bottle submerged you can drill continuously whilst keeping everything cool, essential for the lifetime of the bit. You can do this without the water but you will not be able to drill continuously and it ends up taking a very long time and giving a worse cut, it is definitely worth a few minutes of set up to use this apparatus.
TIP: use a high speed with very low pressure, drilling may take a few minutes but this way you will avoid cracking the glass.
If you do crack the glass discard the bottle; remember, the bottle is basically free so it doesn't matter if you lose one or two.
Step 3: Removing Unwanted Labels
Whilst keeping the label on for drilling is a good idea to catch any small splinters, you may now want to remove it. Sometimes this is easily done but if not, get some "sticky stuff remover" or equivalent (this was bought from lakeland several years ago and is still going). Use a combination of rubbing the remover on, and peeling. In a few minutes you should be left with a clean bottle.
Step 4: Fitting Lights
For the lights i either use battery powered strings for smaller lamps i want to be able to move or mains for larger lamps. For standard sized bottle lamps i buy strings of around 50, these can be picked up cheaply off ebay.
Taking care to stop the edge from cutting the wire's sheath feed the LEDs in one at a time and when full, give the bottle a shake to spread them out nicely.
At this point you can either add some tape or a rubber bung to the hole however it isn't necessary.
...and now its done!!.
These make excellent gifts and it always gives you an excuse to hunt out interesting bottles (and enjoy their contents).