Introduction: Flat Bottom - Light Bulb Vase

Picture of Flat Bottom - Light Bulb Vase

I am sure you have seen a lot of Light Bulb vases.

I also made one some time ago, but I never used it.

The main reason, I did not like the fact that it needed some kind of stand or support.

Because of the shape, it can't stand on its own.

In this Instructable, I demonstrate a simple technique to make the bottom of the bulb flat-ish.

Step 1:

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Remove the contact from the light bulb and then break the black ceramic.

Step 2:

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Break off the stem and use the screwdriver to keep hollowing the bulb.

Step 3:

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Wash and dry the bulb

Step 4:

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Put it in the cold oven and turn up the temperature to the maximum.

Step 5:

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Once the bulb is hot, remove it from the oven and jam it somewhere with the bottom facing up.

I used a grill rack.

Step 6:

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Use a blow torch to heat the bottom.

Because the glass is so thin, it will sink in.

Now you have a Light Bulb vase than can stand on its own.


Make sure to wear safety goggles.

Technically you could skip the oven as the bulb is designed to withstand the temperature change.

It's just an extra step to limit possibilities that the glass could crack.


Jobar007 (author)2016-02-25

If you had a means to test it, I wonder what the difference this mod makes to the brittleness of the bulb. I doubt that most people could test this, but it would be interesting to note.

if it appears any cloudy white, then you know for sure it is a devitrification problem. from either contamination, or improper annealing and can easily shatter, with the slightest disturbance. using any cleaning compounds, if not thoroughly removed can alter the glass chemistry when it is being heated. sodium, potassium, calcium, ammonium, products will change the borosilicate or quartz glass chemistry with heating an undesirable way.

blenderbender (author)Jobar0072016-02-28

The only concern would be whether it annealed properly in the cooling stage. If it didn't it would likely have cracked already or be more prone to easily cracking. I guess you could construe this as being more brittle. It's actually inherent stress built up in the glass. Since the glass is so thin it would probably not affect it's integrity much. But if you wanted to be careful, slowly play the heat further and further away after it takes the shape you want. At the point it takes shape it's is probably in the 1,400 deg F range, give or take. And perhaps cover it with some sort of insulating material so that it cools more slowly. This is a very general statement but most glasses need to be held between 900 and 1000 deg. F for a period of time to anneal properly. The thicker the glass, the longer the hold time.

jimmie.c.boswell made it! (author)blenderbender2016-02-28

light bulbs, are made with thermal shock resistant, borosilicate or quartz glass. can take extreme amount of heat, and cooling without shattering especially quartz. and has a very low expansion coefficient, over a wide temperature range. but annealing is not a bad idea, to relieve any residual stresses in the case of borosilicate glass. photos from Solar Energy Research Institute, thermo solar glazing project using a modulated 12 joule helium Co2 laser with gallium arsenide lens and a paragon kiln for annealing.

Thanks for that reminder jimmie c..... I was totally not remembering borosilicate/quartz glass since I don't work with them.

well i, can't expect anyone to have the knowledge about glass as i do as a retired government materials scientist. involved in research and development of glass, for solar energy insolation for thermo-panes and selective surfaces. as i, made the world's first class b passive R-19 and R-38 window pane. while working as a scientist, at The Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden Colorado.

DIY-Guy (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-02-28

R-38 windows!?
Where do I buy those Jimmie C. Boswell?

jimmie.c.boswell (author)DIY-Guy2016-02-29

well i do not know, if they are commercially available yet.

i know the government had plans to, award a feasibility contract to a manufacturer.

but i, left SERI shortly after this for another government reservation doing unmentionable stuff.

so i am, not aware of any manufacturers of this as a product today. so all i did, was to make the very first evacuated selective surface laser sealed window pane. nor have i heard of, any manufacturers of this technology to date.

but like most, government research projects. it takes 10 to 30 years, for it to become commercially available if at all.

and if it, has been discovered to have a secret or top secret use, you may never get to see it commercially for a very long time. and i know stuff, you may never get to see.

sorry i, cannot help you with this. but i no longer, have any contacts with SERI to get any more information about this. without writing NREL department of public relations in golden Colorado. and hope they will give you, the name of any manufacturer for this if available.

but technically speaking, the seal around the windows is more important than any R-19 window.

infiltration rate is generally the biggest heat loss, in any home. since heat is vertically polarized, you lose a lot less through the side of any home.

but drafts caused by infiltration rates are usually the greatest culprit of heat loss. but you can only make houses, so tight without suffocating yourself without and air and heat exchanger.

Ricardod1 (author)Jobar0072016-02-28

The suggestions below are obviously by people who know the thermodynamics of glass. They are excellent comments!

ShakeTheFuture (author)Jobar0072016-02-26

I don't think it will affect it, but I am not a glass expert, so I might be wrong :)

KROKKENOSTER (author)2016-02-28

I do not want to be looking for trouble that is not there but the gloves must be strong enough to withstand the heated glass and to protect your hands from oozing that painful red stuff!

welders gloves, would probably be the best. since you would not want molten glass, or hot glass shards falling on your hands.

welders gloves, would probably be the best. since you would not want molten glass, or hot glass shards falling on your hands.

jcruz70 (author)2016-02-24

you can use salt to clean the inside of the bulb

jimmie.c.boswell (author)jcruz702016-02-28

would not recommend using anything, but distilled water to clean out the inside of the bulb. unless you, rinse it out thoroughly with distilled water. salt or any other chemicals, can alter the chemical structure of the glass and introduce fracture stress points. and they, cannot be properly annealed, to relieve the stress.

the only thing that should be in the bulb, are pieces that fell in while working on it. so salt is of no advantage, in this type of situation. if all you, are doing is flushing out bits and pieces.

ShakeTheFuture (author)jcruz702016-02-24

Yes, you can. I personally never use salt to clean bulbs as the water works just fine.


skoko (author)2016-02-24

have you tried it slightly on the side will it sink again or become uneven

ShakeTheFuture (author)skoko2016-02-25

No, I have not tried it.

It will deform, that's for sure, but I don't know the end result will look like.

well if you were to use thermofax high temp insulation board, you would be able to get more consistent and more precise flatness. by pressing the softened glass, on it.

borosilicate glass melts at around 1,508*F and is annealed around 1022*F and has a wide plastic state but not as wide as most glasses.

quartz glass melts around 3029*F and is annealed around 2084*F but it has a much narrower plastic state.

and the presence of a cloudy white coloration, means it has crystalized (gone through devitrification). and needs to be annealed, back to an amorphous solid to relieve the internal stress to prevent being easily damaged.

andi10 (author)2016-02-28


poopl (author)2016-02-28

The oven also ensures that the bulb is dry inside - good idea.

poopl (author)2016-02-28

The oven also ensures that the bulb is dry inside - good idea.

poopl (author)2016-02-28

The oven also ensures that the bulb is dry inside - good idea.

张嘉翔 (author)2016-02-25

good nice

ShakeTheFuture (author)张嘉翔2016-02-26

Thank You!

whopoder (author)2016-02-24


ShakeTheFuture (author)whopoder2016-02-25


Faiz Shariff (author)2016-02-24

great Idea and skill

Thank You!

BrianB201 (author)2016-02-24


ShakeTheFuture (author)BrianB2012016-02-25


La Mirada Locksmith (author)2016-02-24

It was good!!

Thank You!

rschoenk (author)2016-02-24

vi will be doing this for the wife, she can then mosaic it.

About This Instructable




Bio: Innovative Projects, Diy's, Life Hacks
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