Introduction: Light Bulb Lamp

Picture of Light Bulb Lamp

After seeing this forum post I was dumb-founded that, Brooklyn Industrial Designer Sergio Silva, was selling these pairs of Light Bulb Lamps for $650!! So, with my creative senses tingling, I went scavenging around the house for what would become a much cheaper rendition of Sergio Silva's own, Oyule Lamp Set.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
So, you want to beat the system and not pay $650 for a set of Light Bulb Lamps? Sounds good, you'll need:

  • a clean light bulb
  • a shoe lace (cotton)
  • a metal bottle cap
  • a rather large washer/spacer
  • two little magnets


  • drill/punch
  • drill bit a little smaller than your shoe lace
  • tape
  • lamp oil
  • preferably sand, its more abrasive...
  • water

Step 2: Disassembling/Cleaning the Light Bulb

First, take your drill/punch and tap at the bottom of the light bulb, until you break the black glass.

Then tap on the inner tube inside the bulb with the wire in it, then extract the insides of the beast.

Now, go grab your granular substance (sand works best) and put some into the bulb, now add water and swirl the mixture, while your swirling you'll notice that the inner white coating will flake off.

Once all the white coating has detached itself from the inside of the bulb, rinse the bulb thoroughly and set it aside.

Step 3: The Cap

Picture of The Cap

After you have cleaned the innards of the bulb and washed the inside, grab your bottle cap and shoe lace. Locate the center of the cap and drill your hole, start with a small hole and work your way up to just under shoe-lace-diameter. Before you cut your shoe lace, tape the middle with a little bit of tape, so when you do cut (in the middle of the tap band), you wont have a frayed mess. Thread your taped end into the fresh wound in your bottle cap and pull the lace through. Screw the cap (with the lace threaded) onto the top of light bulb and do a measure test, you want a little slack at the bottom, but not much. Take off the cap and find where your magnets have run off too.

Step 4: Making the Base

Picture of Making the Base

With your washer/spacer in hand, and magnets stuck to some valuable electronic devise, put a small length of tape on the one side. Flip it over and center one of your little magnets on the tape. Cut another length of tape and stick it on the washer/spacer, trapping the menacing little beast in between.

Step 5: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Go ahead and find your lamp oil. Before pouring the oil, put the other magnet into the bulb, and set on the base. Carefully pour about 2-3 teaspoons of lamp oil into the bulb. Find your cap, complete with shoe lace wick, and screw the cap on to the light bulb. You may need to roll the liquid around a bit to get the wick a little damp. There should only be no more than 1/2 of an inch of wick poking out the top of the cap. Grab your lighter, and light it up!!

(save your breath, you need to smother the flame in order to extinguish the flame)



travis.taylor.3720 (author)2015-08-24

What kind of oil did you use? Some sort of scented Lamp Oil?

Jantho (author)2013-09-20

Don't it just figure? The ONE step in the whole process that NEEDS pictures to explain what's going on because it's the most important PART of the process and there's not one to be found anywhere! I NEED to see what the heck it is you're explaining here. I don't think you can get the guts out of a light bulb without breaking the bulb! SHOW us how you DID it!!

Electrospark (author)Jantho2015-04-08

I'm working on a very well explained instructable on how to open a light bulb without breaking it, I still have a few things to work on but I'll be able to post it in a couples of days I hope! :-)

Jantho (author)Electrospark2015-04-09

Thank you.

Electrospark (author)Jantho2015-04-11

Finally done making the instructable on how to open a light bulb without breaking it!

Here's the link to it.

Enjoy! :)

gez.sullivan (author)2015-03-22

where did you put the magnets it only mentions them at the end "take off the cap and find where your magnets ran off too" ???????

gisa.stornant (author)2014-11-09

I love working with recycles, and I've been cleaning,light bulbs since the late 70's.

DC4Projects (author)2014-01-15

Well that is nice i think ima buy one n make a video to youtube on how to make one!

Jussi Kontio (author)2012-04-09

Hi, and thanks for the good tips on opening the bulb. I first went on drilling the light bulb and spoiled a good drill head since the hole in the black glass was so small.
I had few good realizations on how to use the beautiful porceline parts of fuse boxes since they have exactly the same screw thread as the helix of light bulb, and wrote a blog post about it at

Im not sure is this global phenomena, but would like to know if someone can check it out!

That one is so cool! How did you do it?

I made a blog post about making it at
It does not have every single detail, but enough information to make one. :)

poofrabbit (author)2012-04-18

This is so cool! Well done!

martyh (author)2009-09-14

Beautiful instructable, I had so much fun making it. Thankyou. I used a hinged cap from one of my housemates fancy beers so you can refill the bulb stylishly. So stoked how well it fitted. I made this as a present for a friend who was trying to live without electricity for a week, good luck buddy.

martyh (author)martyh2009-09-14

Forgot to add image

kaleighacurtis (author)martyh2012-04-18

Wow. that is amazing.

Kaleoscope (author)martyh2012-03-14

martyh, Seriously make an instructable tellin' us how you did yours!!! I's so cool... Do I see a wine cork?

This looks epic. Any chance you could explain how you attacked the hinged cap to the bulb. I'd love to make this as a Christmas present for my dad.

bumpus (author)martyh2009-09-19

That looks excellent! :D

stringstretcher (author)2012-04-18

I made mine a while back. I have a couple more on the workbench under construction. I found a wick holder at the hobby shop (shown here) but had to turn it down a little bit to get it to work. I love these!

TSC (author)2012-04-18

Very cool Idea!

Kaleoscope (author)2012-03-14

Where can you get two little magnets?

silvergellar (author)Kaleoscope2012-04-18

Ebay - cheap as chips and can buy loads.

abstracted (author)2012-03-29

very cool...i have made two so far...maybe more n see if i can get 30+ dollars each at the market for them. i would use parafin based lamp oil...its supposedly nonflamable? if these are dropped using kerosene based oil instant fire bomb.

cook$ (author)2010-03-08

I'm struggling to find a bottle cap that will fit the threads on my lamp. I'm in the UK by the way, I don't know if USA lamp threads are different or even if you are in the USA.

So basically, can anyone in the UK suggest a bottle cap that would fit?


Matrix-technician (author)cook$2011-05-19

Wow, this is really late reply but i hope it helps. Head to you rlocal store hobby craft or hardware, and buy a socket for the bulb. Simply remove the metal socket out of the base and this makes for a perfect cap.

Lol 2 second day (author)2010-10-19


pedla (author)2010-06-20

Try citronella oil not only is it perfect for lamps but mosquitos hate it. Most camping shops should sell it.

Hamish121212 (author)2008-06-17

I am having trouble finding a screw on metal cap that fits the thread of the bulb. Is it a perfect fit - or is the cap bigger and just sits over the end of the bulb? It might be because I am in Australia - perhaps the bulb threads are different where you are?

i used a beer cap

bumpus (author)Hamish1212122008-06-18

I used a Jones Soda bottle cap, it threads on completely flush with the threads on the bulb, you should be able to get some Jones' in Australia, I'm not sure though..

Zimminger (author)bumpus2010-05-07

Everyone has an old lamp socket in their junk drawer, right?  That would make it easy to fabricate a cap.  Great lamp!  I never knew the frosting could be taken out.  I might epoxy the magnet and washer to a wider base, though.

sindaear (author)2010-02-26

You can actually buy light bulb shaped jars at craft stores.  I know this is about using a bulb for something it wasn't originally intended, but the jars have much stronger walls and they are made to sit upright without the need of a washer.  All you would need to do is drill the hole for the wick in the cover of the jar (which looks like the metal threads).

iMakeItHappen (author)sindaear2010-05-01

 the point of the washer-magnet assembly is to not only have it sit upright, but also you can have it sit at an angle, i believe its in a pic in step 1

Arbitror (author)2008-12-03

EEEK! Don't put glass in between 2 magnets! I did it once, and learned the hard way... shattered glass all over the floor...

Pie Ninja (author)Arbitror2010-04-18

Obviously don't use rare earth magnets, the weak crap that's used in fridge magnets won't do anything to the glass.

Arbitror (author)Pie Ninja2010-04-20

You just have to be careful not to let it jump from your fingers...

Arbitror (author)Arbitror2008-12-03

Nice ible though! =)

Awsome Fairy (author)2008-10-17

What fuel is better: Paraffin Oil (aka. Kero), Metho/Alcohol or Oil. What do they smell like, how flammable are they, if it spills out of a light bulb and brakes what one would do more damage? All those kinds of things I want to know Thanks

Pie Ninja (author)Awsome Fairy2010-04-18

If you can find some Lemon Essence, they can get to be around 85% alcohol, it will burn decently, and smell like lemons too. :D

_soapy_ (author)Awsome Fairy2009-03-05

Try going to a shop that sells oil lamps, and get some of the nice oil they sell. It burns generally cleaner and nicer. You can buy a bit of nice wick, too, rather than burning a shoelace.

chuckr44 (author)Awsome Fairy2008-12-17

I did some experiments with olive oil, alcohol, and kerosene. The thinner alcohol and kerosene will travel further up the wick as the liquid burns down, so they are a better choice. There's a reason why ancient olive oil lamps were shallow: it's because the olive oil only travels 1-2 inches vertically before the flame goes out.

bumpus (author)Awsome Fairy2008-10-17

I would just use Kerosene, its more-or-less the standard I guess.. BTW, did you mean to spell 'Awesome' without an E? :D

animed (author)2010-02-12

I've put together two so far, though if I did so under the influence of this instructible I don't remember, using a few extra light bulbs that I had hollowed already as part of a magic trick. Mine's a bit more practical that attractive- solved the problem of finding a cap by just using rolled-up shop towels as wicks- take for ever to go out on their own, and since I started to use them, about three days ago, I've only used about two inches. Only problems e that if you let the wick burn for about an hour, you can't advance it without putting it out, and adding oil requires pushing the wick in or pulling it out- the first preferable, to having to wipe up as much, plus the wick pretty much stays within needle nose range.

panni (author)2009-12-04

thankss!! it was a worderful idea!!!

alisonsusanne (author)2009-08-31

Do you have to take out the inner wire part if you are using a clear light bulb, anyway? I think that part, especially in older designs, can be especially delicate and interesting.

beehard44 (author)alisonsusanne2009-11-20

just gutted out two of these bulbs. Gonna be future lab devices. one is the regular florence flask, the round bulb and the other one is the erlenmeyer flask, from an old floodlight.
Need help in gutting it out, check this out:
or this is much clearer:
but a stepp not in these sites:
you need to crack the glass separating the glorious insiddes from the wonderful outsides in the bulb before you grab hold of your filament. Do this with a screwdriver and clear out any mess you made in the bulb. The filament is particularly large, so try to grab the glass portion of the filament and TUG with your pliers. you may also need to cut the wires leading to the filament to get it out

Very rewarding when you did it!

NeedTungsten (author)2009-09-11

I just built one of these and it turns out that Baby Oil works just fine as fuel. This is a good thing because I sure didn't find any use for the stuff with an actual baby. I ended up using some absorbent string from the drawstring of a clothing store shopping bag.

It is called baby oil because it is MADE from babies nor because it is FOR babies. (sorry - I realize this joke is in terribly poor taste but it was just lying there)

Manav.Vanam (author)2009-08-07

Have made many flower vases from fused bulbs but never a lamp; the use of magnets was very innovative. Thanks.

sharlston (author)2009-07-27

nice job


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