Introduction: Light Bulb Oil Lamp

Picture of Light Bulb Oil Lamp

Instructables project:

In making my light bulb oil project based on a photograph I saw on the internet. I will not post the pic here as it may be copyrighted. In my research I tracked the artist down forgot his name this was back in 2013 as I could not find this supposed piece of recycled art that sold for $750.00

In my search to figure out a way to make my own I can across instructables and others who had made their on version or one inspired by it. This allowed me to jump ahead with better understanding.

Here is a link that might help get you started by Magnelectrostatic He did the heavy lifting.

Step 1: Tools, Parts and Safety

Picture of Tools, Parts and Safety

The reason this product is not commercially available or any variation there of is light bulbs are very fragile. If you were to put this into production it would have to be manufactured from the ground up, the glass bulbs would have to be thicker.

I found handling the light bulb to be easy, however safety first. Eye protection and thick gloves or wrap the bulb in an old towel. Use a box, cardboard, or plastic under the bulb to catch the glass fragments. In the link provided there are various ways to dismantle a light bulb. I have done quite few of these over the years developed my own method. I use these aluminum wick holders there are others I didn't locate the ones from the inspiration pick.

Tools: Dremel, use these attachments a cut off wheel and grinding stone. Screw driver, ice pick anything to act as a punch, needle nose pliers (in case you need to fish out the element) and salt.

Parts: 2 Burned out incandescent bulbs, 2 magnets, 1 steel plate, black spray paint, rubber feet with sticky adhesive, and aluminum wick holders.

Fuel: Smokeless liquid paraffin lamp oil. Accept no other substitutes!

Step 2: Spray Paint Metal Base Plate

Picture of Spray Paint Metal Base Plate

I chose a 6"x 7"x 1/4" steel metal plate. Make sure the surface is clean. I sprayed three coats letting the plate dry between coats. Attach rubber feet after plate is dry.

These parts can be had on eBay.

Step 3: Working the Light Bulb

Picture of Working the Light Bulb

As I am replacing the bottom contact part of the light bulb with the wick holder my approach is to use a Dremel tool to cut off the base flush as I can get using the cut off wheel. Don't worry if the cut is not perfect.

The cut you want to make runs along the base of the tapered edge. Next take the punch, screw drive or ice pick. I don't try to punch straight through preferring gently applied side pressure to break open the element. Make sure the base of the light bulb is facing away from you and downward when you break the glass that holds the element. When the vacuum is released broken pieces of glass will be expelled from the bulb. Fish out the element with needle nose pliers if necessary. Now swap out the cutting wheel for the grinding stone. Work the edges where you cut the base connection off. It's okay to leave it a little rough. Then use the grinding stone to hone out the ceramic part of the bulb this allows for the placement or fitting of the wick holder.

Step 4: Removing the Inner Coating.

Picture of Removing the Inner Coating.

Unless you are using a clear bulb you will need to clean the coating off of the inside surface. Pour salt into the bulb and swish it around till all the coating is off the bulb. This is really easy to do. Dump the salt in the trash and wash the bulb. Again these bulbs are very fragile so be careful.

Step 5: Finish.

Picture of Finish.

Take the magnets and gently place them in each bulb, Gently place the bulb on the base plate. It's a good idea to make sure the aluminum wick holder will seat properly test this before adding the liquid paraffin I do this by removing the wick, if not a little more grinding may be in order.

Soak the wick in advance in the liquid paraffin. When replacing the wick it should only protrude a 1/4 of inch above the top of the wick holder.

Add the Liquid paraffin I do not fill to the top I leave about 2 1/2 inches of air space. I use a beaker to fill mine a small funnel would would work great if I had one.

"Light this candle" as the late Allen Shepard said.

I hope you enjoy your light bulb oil lamp as much as I have over the last few years.

Thanks to the Instructable's team for the encouragement to complete my first tutorial.

This project has been brought to by a dyslexic at work.


Skwurlito (author)2016-12-14

I like this. for durability, one might try rough duty bulbs from the parts store. Also, a butane torch can be used to loosen the glue on the connector, should the reader not have a dremmel.

אבן עמי (author)2016-02-14

Hi spalb
Graet job and very beautiful
I want to ask 2 things
What is the black board that u use and with what do you glue it togheter
Thx adir

Raspberryhacker (author)2016-02-08

But it's just a cheap molotov cocktail

jeanniel1 (author)2016-02-05

Magnet and metal base = brilliant!

spalbers2015 (author)jeanniel12016-02-05

I am not that brilliant I hope to be granted that in the next life. I look at what was done before me and tweak it to meet the design ascetics that move me. I appreciate the compliment.

jeanniel1 (author)spalbers20152016-02-05

Such modesty. Your 'ible is really easy to follow and great pix.

chevylover121 (author)2016-02-04

i like it because it lights up a room either way

wemja (author)2016-01-26

I like it but isn't this more or less a copy of the instructable you linked to ?

Maybe a "made it" post would have been better.

spalbers2015 (author)wemja2016-01-26

Thanks for the input. My intent was to get as close to the original not the one made in the link that was to help other who might want to make one. New to the site, lack of knowledge of the site, my first post. Now that you chimed in I understand the contect of "made it"

wemja (author)spalbers20152016-01-30

welcome, I hope you will like it here.

spalbers2015 (author)wemja2016-01-31

wemja I do like it here, everyone is polite and encouraging. I hope to do more instructables. However compared to the majority of people who create awesome projects. I am a 'punk'. ;-)

I meant context.

Magnelectrostatic (author)2016-01-31

I really like the look of those wick holders! It's much closer to the original piece, and dremeling off the end of the base seems like a nicer and cleaner approach than prying the whole base off.

Thank you Magnelectroststic. Your instructable was the first one I checked out when I was deciding what the best approach would be. The aluminum wick holders are intended for wine bottles etc. I should clicked "I made it". this is my first instructable so everyone is cutting me some slack.

robert.latterman (author)2016-01-28

Very nice...... where did you find the aluminum wick holders???

Do not dremel aluminum bulb' base too much. Take any soda can. Cut off a stripe of tin, curle it in spiral, needle the wick into the spiral and stick this substructure tightly into the base' hole... Another way - you can use central electric contact of a bulb - pretty big hole rivet filled with solder - as a perfect wick holder. Just remove the solder out of a rivet and enjoy!

spalbers2015 (author)schabanow2016-01-30

Great suggestion, I think you get the prize. It would truly be a recycled product.

I purchased the aluminum wick holders on eBay.

CJStephens (author)2016-01-30

Awesome project! i cant wait to make one my self soon

spalbers2015 (author)CJStephens2016-01-30

Thank you CJSthephens, There are so many talented people on this site. backward engineering this was fun making it was just as fun. We have to give kudos to the Artist the came up with the concept and for the inspiration. It has certainly inspired many on this site. Please let me know how yours turns out. No hurry or time limit on that and that goes for all here in the instructable universe.

JohnC396 (author)2016-01-29

I tried this with a rough service bulb and I found out that it worked to my satisfaction ( not breaking that easy) but I like your idea with the spot light.

Especially today when we bowed our heads as that 30 years ago we lost 4 astronauts 72 seconds into their flight into space.

spalbers2015 (author)JohnC3962016-01-29

Thank you for that, I'll light mine tonight in remberence.

kibukun (author)2016-01-28

Well if that isn't ironic I don't know what is..

ILykMakin (author)2016-01-28

Use construction site bulbs. Not only do they have more robust filaments, usually have heavier glass.

spalbers2015 (author)ILykMakin2016-01-28

I was unaware of these, thank you for taking the time to me/us know.

debknaff (author)2016-01-28

Just a thought but Michael's, Amazon, etc. all sell a thick glass "light bulb" bottle. It looks just like a light bulb but very heavy duty. It would take care of the safety issue.

spalbers2015 (author)debknaff2016-01-28

Yes, I considered that as used to work in a plant nursery they would sell thicker glass for terrariums. You suggestion is an excellent one for those who fear working with a real bulbs you could just drop the wick holder in and it would have very nice streamlined look.

brioh made it! (author)2016-01-27

hey guys ..I've been drilling holes into bulbs & pouring water into them to make them look cool, but I have never thot of making an oil lamp out of any..this is a really cool idea...i think that's my next project

spalbers2015 made it! (author)brioh2016-01-27

Go for it! Here's one I did recently to pay homage to the Apollo space program.

Lavoz24 (author)spalbers20152016-01-28

I say, if you incorporate these bulbs with the D.I.Y. Plant pot heater, you would make something to heat your home for the rest of the winter. Make a few to place around the house or the cold places, as in my case, my bathroom(always cold regardless of the heat my apt.) or the garage, shed,etc. and you'll have yourself a pretty good winter.

Londonbrig0 (author)Lavoz242016-01-28

Good thinking, oil lamps would last much longer than tea candles. Of course you could purchase or make much less fragile small plastic oil lamps for use with the pot heaters.

schabanow (author)2016-01-28

Huh... Molotoff candle... o_0

Impressive! Laconic, sumbolic, clear lined. Beautiful, useful piece of art. Thank you very much!

zork117 (author)2016-01-28

Very nice in deed. But has anyone conceder the safety of this light bulb lamps? Light bulbs glass are very fragil and they brake very easy. what you do have is a time bomb on your hands.

spalbers2015 (author)zork1172016-01-28

zork117 in addition read the comments where I replied to yoruk. this should "shine some light on the subject"

zork117 (author)2016-01-28

Very nice in deed. But has antimey one conceder the safety of this light bulb lamps? Light bulbs glass is very thing. what you do have is a time bomb on your hands.

spalbers2015 (author)zork1172016-01-28

Thank you for your concern, I appreciate it. I ask that read my instructable as I address this issue.

BruceB35 (author)zork1172016-01-28

he already implied that ....... didn't you read the article

lglira (author)2016-01-27

easy and elegant design

spalbers2015 (author)2016-01-27

You can order them on eBay or Amazon if you want it locally might try an arts and crafts store. I do not understand the 2nd part of the question.

zipacz (author)2016-01-27

Hi guys, I can see many of You use the same part to hold the string at place. Where can I get it? And what is the original purpose of it?

ayoub hafiane (author)2016-01-27


Yoruk (author)2016-01-26

Very beautiful. How many time does a bulb last with one filling of oil ?

spalbers2015 (author)Yoruk2016-01-27

The bulbs last for the most part indefinitely unless you break one. This I have done on several occasions. It will usually happen when you cleaning the base or bump into it with something. This why you must only use liquid paraffin easy to cleanup and most important it will not ignite if you break the bulb when the wick is lit. Standard light bulb glass is very thin. Last night a friend of mine recommended coating them in acrylic in order to make the structurally stronger. Brilliant! It will be a while before I can test this, someone on this site may get to it before can I hope they will chime in with a stress test. Thank you for the comment.

badideasrus (author)2016-01-26

this is really cool...

spalbers2015 (author)badideasrus2016-01-26

I appreciate the comment.

mchau2 (author)2016-01-26

my man, thats cool! the perfect pun for Edison!

spalbers2015 (author)mchau22016-01-26

You da man mchau2! Thank you.

wold630 (author)2016-01-26

I love this!! The lamp is really gorgeous! Nice work....can't wait to see more projects from you!

spalbers2015 (author)wold6302016-01-26

To clarify making the instructions.

spalbers2015 (author)wold6302016-01-26

Thank you, making these take some work especially when you are trapped in the body of a dyslexic, I just wanted to share, I hope to post more projects time will only tell.

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