Here's how to make a stylish lamp out of an empty whiskey bottle at very little cost. This is the perfect item to brighten up your study, studio, man cave, or nuclear bunker, no specialist tools or hard to learn techniques, just a couple of new drill bits and a bit of patience.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Obviously you are going to need an empty whiskey bottle, you can either save one of your own brand if you are a whiskey drinker or you can ask around your local bars and restaurants if they have an empty you can have. You could even try a bit of begging on freecycle, gumtree, or craigslist.
The other major component to this build is a set of battery powered fairy lights. You can find these in pretty much any budget shop especially on the run up to christmas, you can expect to pay 2 or 3 pounds for a set of 40 battery powered LED lights. Make sure you buy the straight narrow lights as the one with big shades will not fit through the hole you are going to drill into your bottle later. Also make sure you only use LED lights for this project, incandescent lights put out far too much heat for this project.
Step 2: Drill a Hole in the Base of the Bottle
To get the lights into the bottle you first need to drill a hole somewhere around the bottom of the bottle. The ideal spot is at the back centre of the bottom about 1-2cm from the base. Find a spot that is flat and free from any raised ridges or raised lettering to position your hole.
Its very important to use a special glass drill bit to drill your hole as trying to do it with a masonry, metal, wood or any other kind of bit will invariably cause your bottle to break which is potentially dangerous as well as a waste of a bottle. Fortunately these kind of bits are inexpensive and widely available.
Also please wear a dust mask when you drill glass because these drill bits powder the glass very finely which gets into the air.
When you start drilling just go gently and take your time. Use the lowest speed setting your drill has and regularly check your bottle isn't getting too hot. If it is then allow it time to cool - do not pour cold water over as the thermal shock is liable to crack the glass. Once you pierce the inside of the bottle then be even more careful, by this point you have probably already spent 10-15 minutes drilling and breaking it at this point would be a shame. Just keep removing material a bit at a time, slow and steady wins the race.
Step 3: Clean Off the Glass Powder
At this point there will be powdered glass everywhere including inside the bottle. Allow the glass ample time to cool before rinsing away this fine white powder. Be careful not to get too much water on the labels to avoid accidentally washing them away.
Step 4: Remove Any Sharp Edges
Using a Dremel or any other suitable rotary tool, use an abrasive bit to carefully smooth out any sharp edges that may have been left by the drilling. If you don't have a Dremel then you can do this with a file. You only need to work this gently, a couple of passes applying light pressure to your tool should do it.
Step 5: Insert the Lights
Now the bottle is prepped you can add the lights. Find the end furthest from the battery box and start pushing the lights through the hole one at a time until they are all inside. If you want you can pull the string of lights out of the bottle top and pin a couple to the inside of the cap before putting them back in. This will help stop the lights from all sitting at the bottom of the bottle, however I didn't do it on this project as the Bulleit bottle is short and squat and the natural springiness of the wires helped fill the bottle nicely. It is something I would consider doing on bigger bottles.
Step 6: Seal the Hole
To finish off I used a hot glue gun to seal up the hole where the wire goes in. Give yourself as much slack wire on the outside to the battery box as you need, then start building up layers of glue in the hole. Have the bottle stood up nomally and apply glue to the bottom of the hole. Let it start to set and add another layer of glue on top, repeat until the hole is sealed. Finally lay the bottle so the hole is pointing up and once the previous layers of glue have set, add another bead of glue to finish it smoothly.
Step 7: Enjoy
Finally put your new lamp on, pour yourself a whiskey, sit back and enjoy the ambience. While you are sipping your whiskey relaxing, why not pay a visit to my Patreon page and if you can afford it throw in a couple of dollars a month to help me continue creating projects like this. A little help from you goes a long way.
Step 8: If You Enjoyed This Project Please Help Me Win a Contest
I really hope you enjoyed reading about this project as much as I enjoyed making it. If so I would really be grateful if you would follow this link and "Respect" another of my projects that is in a competition right now. It is a jack-o-lantern I made for Halloween this year that glows green and has a snapping jaw. Its really cool, if you like fun projects then I'm sure you will enjoy this. Having visitors to the site "respect" (its essentially a like) my project weighs heavily towards who wins a prize, part of which is a magazine feature which will really help me get my work out there.
So if you can spare a couple of minutes to help me I will be eternally grateful, if not no worries, there is another project in the pipeline as we speak which I know you're going to love.