Introduction: DIY Oyule Lamp

Picture of DIY Oyule Lamp

The Oyule lamp is an oil lamp made of light bulbs from the artist Sergio Silva, who sells them for $650.
I agree that it does look nice, but the materials only cost about $10:
Paraffin oil
A wick
Two burned out light bulbs
A piece of wood
Black gloss paint
Twelve neodymium magnets
(8 small cylindrical magnets, two large cylindrical magnets, two spherical magnets)

My version of this lamp is slightly cheaper than the original though, the differences are listed on the pictures.

Step 1: Hollowing the Bulbs

Picture of Hollowing the Bulbs

For this lamp to look nice the small black piece of glass on the base of the bulb must remain intact, which means the entire base must be removed. (as opposed to breaking the glass off)

First remove the small piece of metal on the glass part of the base, it will help to desolder it from the wire inside.
(the small piece of metal is one of the electrical contacts, the other is the part that's threaded like a screw)

With an X-Acto knife or box cutter carefully pry the base away from the glass, it is attached by some sort of adhesive, but nothing else. Some are attached better than others, and are more difficult to separate. 

Next, using a screwdriver carefully break the glass holding the filament.
Clean up the sharp edges as best you can.

Step 2: Wicks

Picture of Wicks

Go to a local craft store and buy a wick, make sure that the wick does not have a wire center and is made for an oil lamp. Depending on the width of the wick you may have to double it like I did. (If the wick is too thin it will not soak up the oil fast enough for a continuous burn.)

You may discover that the hole in the base is not large enough for the correct diameter wick, if so you will need to file the hole to make it larger.
(Attempting to drill it would most likely end with a broken base)

Step 3: Reattaching the Base

Picture of Reattaching the Base

The base must be removable to allow refueling, and though it would probably stay on because of its weight, I felt it needed to be more secure so I attached it with magnets.

On the glass part of the bulb where base attaches to there are two small indentations which provide enough space for a small neodymium magnet to be attached to the inside of the base.
I attached a 1/16in thick magnet with a diameter of 3/16in to each side of the base using epoxy. On the inside of the bulb, where the indentations are, I did the same.
*I tried to do this with super glue, but it melted.

Step 4: Creating the Base for the Lamp

Picture of Creating the Base for the Lamp

The base of the lamp was made from a 0.75 X 5.5 X 24 inch piece of wood. You can really use any size you want, but for the bulbs I was using I felt this was a good size.

After cutting, drill holes for the magnets that will hold your bulbs on. You can put these wherever you want but I separated my piece of wood into four quarters and put the magnets in the center of two diagonally opposite quarters.
(its easier to look at the picture than figure out the explanation)

Because a drill creates a cylindrical hole, cylindrical magnets look the best, and make sure the holes are the right depth, because the magnets are very difficult to remove.

Now sand the surfaces, edges, and corners to smooth out and round the piece of wood.
Apply a layer of sanding sealer, allow it to dry, and sand again with a very fine grain of sand paper.
Paint with black gloss paint (or any other color) and allow to dry.

note: To clean the paintbrush you used for the sanding sealer, use mineral spirits (turpentine) not water.

Step 5: Finish It!

Picture of Finish It!

All that's left to do is: 
Place the spherical magnet in the bulb
Fill it with oil

Because of the magnets that hold the base of the bulb on, getting the spherical magnet in can be difficult. To do so easily place a straw in the bulb, put the magnet in it, and push with a skewer.
Use a funnel to fill your bulbs, place the lid (base of the bulb) on, and attach them to the wooden base.

Do not pick up the lamp while the candles are lit, even when they aren't be careful because the light bulbs rotate very freely.


Havlicek stole the ball (author)2014-10-13

I'm having a hard time to understand the parts with the attachment of the magnets. Any chance that you could provide a videoclip? That would certainly help a lot.

I've also had difficulties to unscrew the base from the bulb as the adhesive is very strong. I succeeded in one case where I used pliers.

Using heat, like from a heat gun, helps by softening the adhesive.

Removing the base can be difficult; if it worked once with the pliers though, keep using them! Other than that, anything that you can slide in between the metal and the glass can be used to poke, scrape, and break away the adhesive.
For the magnets, I won't be able to upload a video, but two magnets were glued to the inside of the bulb (inside the neck), and two were glued to the inside of the metal screw part. They were arranged so the pairs of magnets would attract, and hold the screw piece onto the glass.

Brooke88 (author)2015-06-25

and sorry another ?, can you make this for a misquito candle? we have a mancave and we like to have ideas to help with that, considering we have alot of family that comes over, mosquitos are a big issue in Louisiana lol, would that be an option instead of lamp oil?

Lavoz24 (author)Brooke882016-01-28

I know this is an old question but I have to answer. I used to live in Florida and at night also had to deal with those darn 'squitos being I had a pond attached to my yard. If you use citronella instead of the paraffin oil it would work. Only thing and I'm certain we all know this, it can't be used inside because citronella lets out ALOT of smoke and that is not good for your home.

abstracted (author)2012-04-01

dont trust the magnets with a 180lb dog bouncing around...heres my versions

DonnaS89 (author)abstracted2016-01-28

awesome wire design! Just wondering how you assembled the tops; can you offer directions? Thanks!

Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-14

Hi, I've added your project to the "Unusual Uses for Light-Bulbs" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

OculumForamen (author)2015-08-13

Really nice idea with the magnets! Very elegant solution. The magnets used to hold the bulbs is a great way to position them any way you like! I'm gonna make this for my wife for her Birthday!

Brooke88 (author)2015-06-25

Hi, I am making sure i understand everything before trying to make this. The magnets that you place inside bulb, is that placed after oil and they are not glued inside to keep in place?

Himers (author)2014-11-20

This looks really nice!!!! Great job!!!

Magnelectrostatic (author)Himers2014-11-22


abenoit6 (author)2014-07-31

I'm a bit confused what i should be breaking with the screwdriver -- i was able to separate the metal base from the bulb, but the filament was still intact on the inside of the bulb; i punctured that with the screwdriver, but had to break the tube going back in to the bulb in order to get the filament out; which in turn broke the bulb...
Any help would be appreciated! I've got plenty of bulbs! ;)

That tube is the right part to break! If you look at step 3 or step 5 you can see what it should look like after clearing that part out. Try holding the bulb with something soft, then put a screwdriver in the tube and tap the glass until the tube breaks, and hopefully the rest doesn't!
Best of luck!

Wolfbane221 (author)2014-05-07

Wow! This is really cool, recycled projects are the best!

clintonamoar (author)2013-12-22

what oil did you use? can i just empty a lighter of its fuel and put it in the lightbulb?

sheripres (author)clintonamoar2014-01-16

No; you do not want to do that. You would use lamp oil.

mmorgan26 (author)2013-11-26

I really like this idea, and I will probably use this for my photography challenge (I'm a student), but the problem is the oil. I can't seem to find it anywhere, is there another type of oil I can use instead? I need ASAP response :(

twood11 (author)2012-12-29

I love this! and am making it for one of my friends. I had the hardest time finding a piece of wood for the base without having to pay for a full board at Lowes. So! I found a perfect and finished wood base at hobby lobby for $1.50! Quite excited. Thank you for the post!

I'm glad you like it!

rbessa (author)2011-09-10

Nice one :)

Made a diferent version of it since i don't really like the idea of having a thin lighbulb full of alcohol supported only by magnets.

I used the wick support and cap of an actual lab oil lamp, which for my surprise fit very snugly :)

abstracted (author)rbessa2012-04-01

dont use alcohol...use parrafin oil...non-flamable.

R.A.T.M (author)rbessa2011-09-10

i see wer coming from but iv droped one and it will not start a fire

rbessa (author)R.A.T.M2011-09-11

My problem is not the fire, it's the glass shards, since i like to walk around my house barefoot.

R.A.T.M (author)rbessa2011-09-11

oh i see i made thess an i used 100% clear epoxy

rbessa (author)R.A.T.M2011-09-11

Also a nice idea :)

Jae the philosopher (author)2011-01-05

Brilliant work! Keep up the bright ideas!

Why thank you sir, I am delighted to have such fans as you.

tinstructable (author)2011-01-03

Why not have the whole base metal to make the bulbs position completely custom?

I like that idea, I never thought of that. It would have some problems though, for instance getting a huge piece of metal. Also, the magnets in the bulbs would need to be stronger, and spherical magnets wouldn't work because they would roll and allow the bulbs to spill.

Biggsy (author)2011-01-01

This is a beautiful lamp design. Perhaps not something I would have in my house due to having two very bouncy doggies. But nice work, even if it is a repoduction of another peice of work. What would you say (apart from the price) makes your I'ble different from that of Sergio Silva?

Good job on a nice functionable I'ble :)

Magnelectrostatic (author)Biggsy2011-01-01

Thank you, and to answer you question:
I feel that Silva's lamp has sort of a "$650 artpiece" look to it, kind of like it would only match the decor of some penthouse in new york, and I feel that mine has more of a recycled homemade sort of look. (if that makes any sense)
and then there are also the physical differences listed in the first two pictures.

ikssk (author)2011-01-01

Great job.
Usually to separate the glass from the metal I would heat the metal part up with a blow torch, than just twist it with pliers and it comes off. Hope this info helps.

Magnelectrostatic (author)ikssk2011-01-01

Thank you! It helps so much! Using the box cutter method is not only difficult but also bends and dents the base just enough to be noticeable.

About This Instructable




Bio: An electrical engineer who likes to make things.
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