Introduction: Light Bulb Vase

Picture of Light Bulb Vase

A very simple, yet elegant vase, made from a light bulb.

Recently someone came around with a free energy saving light bulb for every home. So I made something from an old burnt out bulb that the new one replaced. The bulb was hollowed out, and then suspended on a simple stand.

You need:

-a light bulb
-metal rod - I found mine in the junk box. I think it came from a filing system. Something around 3/16"
-A piece of wood. I used part of a wine case. You could use anything really. Try something interesting like drift wood.
-the basic tools: saw, drill, Dremel, pliers.

Disclaimer- Glass is sharp. Be careful. Don't eat light bulbs. This is probably known to cause cancer in the state of California.

Step 1: Hollowing Out the Bulb

Picture of Hollowing Out the Bulb

This step is probably most dangerous. The bulb could easily shatter. Wear Gloves!
I used TeamDroid's guide.

Here's a quick run through.

- Break off the metal contact from the bottom
- Use a screw or a knife to crack the brown glass insulator
- Looking inside you will see the fill tube. Break it off and remove it
- Remove the filament and other debris with needle nose pliers
- Use a dremel to grind down the glass edges inside for extra safety
- Clean out the powder with water
- Scrape off the writing with wire wool

Step 2: Holes

Picture of Holes

Make a hole through the threaded part of the light bulb, close to the top. The hole should be through both sides.

Use a drill bit, or a dremel grinding bit. Make sure the hole is large enough to allow your rod to go through it.

Step 3: Cutting Rods

Picture of Cutting Rods

Cut out two 3 inch rods, and another 3 inch piece with a bend in the end.

My rod had a bend in it already, but you can make one by clamping the rod in a vice and pushing on it, until it bends 90 degrees.

To cut the rods, secure them in a vice, and use a hacksaw to make cuts.

Smooth the ends using a piece of sandpaper.

Step 4: The Stand

Picture of The Stand

Select a piece of wood that has an interesting look.

Smooth all of its edges with sandpaper.

Mark a line slightly above the height of the light bulb. Cut off the excess wood, and sand the cut.

Mark a hole at the top close to the center of gravity. Mark two holes at the bottom at each edge to provide most stability.

Select a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the rod, so the rod will press fit into the stand, without needing glue. Do a test fit on the off cut to make sure the hole is not too loose or too tight. Drill the holes with a drill press if you have one.

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Push the two straight rods into the bottom holes.

Put the bent rod through the holes in the bulb, and then into the hole at the top.

Find a suitably sized flower, and put it into your vase, along with some water.

Give it to someone for Valentines!


kelseyann88 (author)2011-09-30

thank you! i looked at your post to figure out how to gut a light bulb.

Crucio (author)2009-02-13

According to some reading I did on Moh's hardness scale, teeth are about the same hardness as Apatite, which is a 5 on the scale. Glass is 5.5 to 7 depending on the type. Diamonds are a 10. So it seems you wouldn't be able to crunch up glass with your teeth. My guess is that the glass he ate in the vid is really cleverly-disguised rock candy. /me shrugs.

KFCjesus (author)Crucio2011-03-16

aaaaaaahhhh dont you love people who read a little about a subject and try to assume everything else? the moh's hardness scale has nothing to do with crunching or breaking. it scales what hardness different substances/materials are usually by scratching them against each other. for example, you can scratch glass with a diamond but not vice versa. you can scratch micah with glass but you cant scratch glass with micah. im sure you could crush a piece of glass with some big chunks of micah or maybe crush a diamond with a big slag of glass. the moh's hardness scale pretty much states that the glass probly scratched this dudes teeth up pretty good. i hope who ever reads this learns something

WhyHello (author)2010-11-10


darkclaw42 (author)2010-11-09

*Jealous* Ive never been able to open up a bulb like that without it breaking. Im going to try your method.

bullygil (author)2010-02-11

Awesome ideea and verry easy to make.It took me less than an hour to make it, and I'm pretty excited about it, since it's my first homemade gift.I hope she will like it ^_^

bullygil (author)bullygil2010-02-14

Me again:She loved it!Thx instructables and thx Sam ^_^

sam (author)bullygil2010-02-14

Glad to hear it!

Kiteman (author)2007-02-18
A very nice Instructable. You could do a few bulbs and make a sort of chandelier or mobile, or put sea monkeys in one as a tiny fish tank...

As for not eating lightbulbs, YouTube can always be relied on to bring the moron out in humanity:

darkclaw42 (author)Kiteman2010-02-10

 I dont know, its probably just me, but the crunching sound kinda sounds.. pre-recorded. Its kinda loud for a camera to pick up, and some of the first crunches were slightly off. 

I dunno, its possible, but not probable.

Kiteman (author)darkclaw422010-02-11

I'd assume they used a microphone (knowing that they would want to hear the crunches), and most of the videos I have posted on YouTube have ended up with the sound out of synch after uploading.  I have no idea why.

rickyd! (author)Kiteman2009-02-12

oh my god! your tongues bleeding!! what a surprise!!

Crucio (author)Kiteman2008-09-28

That's obviously not really glass, or everything from his mouth to his sphincter would be ripped to shreds. A very bad joke that's going to get impressionable kids hurt or more likely killed.

Kiteman (author)Crucio2008-09-28

Stupid, yes. Fake, no. Google for Mr Mange Tout.

Crucio (author)Kiteman2008-09-28

Fake yes. Seriously, this is a video prank of some shmuck college kids, not a one-of-a-kind French stuntman. Inhumane hunters used to grind broken glass and mix it with bait to kill wolves.

AznPanda (author)Crucio2008-12-15

Say are you making fun of the french????? Huh? better not be Cause thats not nice D:

wupme (author)Crucio2008-11-04

There are plenty of people who do that. My Grandfather was one of them, and he didn't fake it.

mynameisjonas (author)Kiteman2008-12-15

ugh.... that video almost made me faint. damn my traumaphobia!

LaxLovaLV (author)Kiteman2007-02-22

Ew Ew Ew!! Thats really nasty. Doesn't that like scrape up your esaphagus? Isn't it glass?? Wow and this is why we have to put safety signs on blow dryers saying why not to use while sleeping....

smbarne (author)2009-08-22

Great idea and tutorial. I used this with another LED Instructable, a small switch, some wood stain, and some varnish to make one for my girlfriend. Thanks again for the Instructable :].

wupme (author)2008-11-04

I love the idea, definately gonna try this myself. But you should warn people, if you grind glass, the powder should not be inhaled, even small amounts are really bad. So you should wear some protection like a dust mask or a surgical mask.

insomniac g (author)2008-11-04

But eating lightbulbs is so much fun!

Great idea with the screw, I've been having a go at the brown glass with needle nose pliers and it always distorts the threading, I'm definitely going to try that out :)

Chameleon84 (author)2008-09-06

Too cool! I wonder if it would work as a planter for very small plants....

berky93 (author)Chameleon842008-10-12

it would...its called a vase. no but seriously i've seen people put soil in one and plant things in it.

jamilks (author)2008-09-15

Great use of soon to be old technology, with the rise of compact fluorescents! Perhaps a heavy gauge copper wire, wound around the threads could be the hanger then you'd have a clear open hole to put flowers in... Thanks!

JettyMae (author)2008-08-14

wow this was quite tricky... i need to figure out a different base though; i don't have spare wood hanging around. Awesome project, thanks.

voyager8472 (author)2008-06-27

Nice Instructable! I'm going to try this the next time I have a burned out incandescent bulb. What I was thinking though is that one could make a wire stand for the bulb, if you wanted to increase the industrial look. :)

picklegarden (author)2008-06-14

for the stand you can just uses a big washer

FireFairy-Jessica (author)2008-03-01

It looks so cute!

WastingBody (author)2008-02-09

Very nice Instructable; I might have to try it out next time I want to give someone some flowers.

afcbasser (author)2008-02-09

haha! awsome disclaimer.

inquisitive (author)2008-02-09

Great job with reused items! This is much more aesthetically pleasing than the different post TheCheese is so cheesed about. I hope the next time Cheese deceives his parents and logs on he will have matured enough to appreciate a good instructable and understand that although life does not demand a be nice policy, it should be expected, if not always executed by others.

quickthinker (author)2007-10-10

I've been meaning to look for a creative gift idea for my friend who works as a Tacoma florist

He's really into reusing materials and of course, arts and crafts that relates to flowers would make a great impression on him.

energee (author)quickthinker2007-11-17 to go, thats 2 blocks from my house

rubberbanddude (author)2007-08-24

When i hollow light bulbs i just swish some dry sand inside and that will get all the white clay out quickly along with glass

sambo4 (author)2007-04-01

eating that lightbulb that wat just a frozen water bomb run under water

Oabbey (author)2007-02-26

is this like how they stick a little rose in a crack pipe and sell it as a romantic gift? you're a clever one. but im on to you.....

sam (author)2007-02-19

I don't really see how your first paragraph relates to this at all.. But as for it being a repost, I wasn't aware of the other instructable. I did a search for "light bulb" before I posted. I didn't find anything, because AlexTheGreat's instructable was labeled "lightbulb". Even so, I probably would have posted it anyway, as it does provide a different way to do things, and with a different result.

dan (author)sam2007-02-26

hi sam, great project! thecheese: surely if you go and build something not related to computers or video games you will get un-grounded long enough to post it here? if not perhaps we can write your mom a note about how educational instructables is. if you had any idea how many youngsters think it would just the funniest thing ever if they could write 'poopy' in a comment here, you would not be complaining about the 'be nice' policy. perhaps you could say: 'how is this different from XXX' if you can't figure it out yourself. remember: the methods used are often more interesting and important than the result.

jeffreyf (author)2007-02-19

While there's some overlap between the two posts, the methodology and in fact the over all design is fairly distinct between these two posts. Sam did an excellent job here, in terms of both craftmanship and documentation, and should be commended for it, not criticized.

StepsoftheSun (author)jeffreyf2007-02-24

I agree, the methods, design, and the craftsmanship make this post significantly different than AlextheGreat's.

It looks fantastic, I hope the recipient enjoyed it.

bensever (author)2007-02-19

Ok, Cheese, I'll play. You're an idiot and you need to learn how to spell and use proper punctuation. Seriously, a rant from a moron is worthless. If your year off from the computer was meant to be spent studying, your parents need to give you another year or two. To the instructable, I think this is a great idea and very obviously NOT a repost - it is enough of a variation to merit its own instructable. I like the funkiness of the stand that you got with your source material and will try to do something similar. I made a three-bulb vase with wire and a suction cup that I put some greenery in and hung on the window, and this will be a great complement to that project. Thanks again!

dataphool (author)2007-02-18

Very nice but I had a hard time figuring that the odd shaped piece of wood was artistic license. And Kiteman, get rid of the morons eating glass. I feel sick after watching a few minutes of it--I don't feel that it adds anything.

joejoerowley (author)2007-02-18

It would look cool if you put a led throwie, on the the light bulb next to the rod so it would illuminated water. Great instructable!! :)

sam (author)2007-02-18

Thanks! The chandelier is a great idea! I think ill try it out.

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