My parents had bubble lights on the Christmas Tree when I was a kid and I was always fascinated by them. When I couldn't find something unique for my Christmas yard decorations, I decided I to make giant versions of these lights. I made a pair to frame my sidewalk, they are the focal point of our light decorations. The colors cycle to add interest and make them even more fun. The best part about these lights is I feel like a kid every time I see them. They are pure joy in an acrylic tube.
These lights are super simple to make, I used ready made bubblers and just a few readily available items. This isn't a high tech build, I just wanted to enjoy the final product so I kept it simple. It takes less than an hour to build one,I hope you enjoy it.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
You'll only need a few items for this project. Here's a list:
1.An ice/drinks bucket. I bought a red metal drink pail at Party City for $19.
2.A big plastic serving bowl that roughly fits over the drink pail. I also got this at Party City, it was easy to try a couple of big serving bowls until I found one that fit, $4.
3.One piece of foam in the same color as the plastic bowl, less than $1 at Hobby Lobby
4.A bubble light with a tall tube. I bought my pair from ebay for $37. They were readily available.
I also used two tools, my handy dandy Dremel and a basic drill.
Step 2: Flip the Bowl and Cut Out a Hole for the Tube.
FLip over your plastic bowl. Use the lid from the bubble light to trace a circle in the center of the bottom of the bowl. Use your Dremel or a similar cutout tool to cut out the hole. Be sure to use safety goggles because the plastic can really fly around when you cut it.
Step 3: Cut the Foam to Cover the Top (when Flipped) of the Bowl.
Use your bowl to trace a circle onto the foam. Use the bubble light lid to trace an inner circle, make sure it is perfectly centered. Cut it out and loosely place it on the bowl. Keep the extra pieces of foam to use later.
Step 4: Prepare the Drink Pail
The first thing that has to go are the handles on the drink pail. The handles are just riveted on, so you only need to drill out the rivets and the handles fall right off. The outside of the pail will now have bare spots without paint (where the handles were). I placed clear packing tape on the inside and used a bit of red enamel paint to touch up the outside of the pail. I'm going to seal these holes with silicone at some point in the near future.
Next use some of the leftover foam to create anti-vibration pads for the top of the pail. When the bubbler is running the entire structure has a bit of a vibration and the noise can be annoying without this sound dampening.
Step 5: Assemble Your Light
Put a gallon paint can or something equivalent inside the pail. This weights down the light and lifts up the bubbler to the correct height. Next stack the bubbler light on the paint can. Next slip the bowl and foam lip over the tube. The cord will come out the back between the pail and bowl. The cord will not be crimped because of the slight space provided by the foam. You are ready to use your light.
The bubbler I used changes colors, it looks great with Christmas lights outdoors or indoors. If you place these lights outdoors be sure to keep them in a protected area or bring them in during inclement weather for protection. Enjoy these lights, Merry Christmas!