Picture of Make a Glass Bottle Lamp Using Fire
Need more light?

Have extra glass bottles laying around?

Want to recycle?

This Instructable will show you how to make your very own glass bottle lamp for around 5 dollars.
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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
Materials and Tools

Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

            Safety Glasses
            Fire Extinguisher
            Particulate mask/ Respirator
            Rubber/Latex Gloves

Bottle Cutting

            Glass bottle
            Denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
            Small cup or bowl
            Cold water
            Bucket/container for water
            Sand paper

Light Fixture

            Cut glass bottle
            Soldering Iron
            Small Phillips head screwdriver
            Hammer (Not Pictured)
            Wire strippers
            Extension cord
            Night light
            Hot glue gun (optional)

Step 2: Cutting the Bottle

Picture of Cutting the Bottle
Gather all the required materials before you begin this project.

NOTE: You may want to perform the following steps in a well ventilated or outdoor area as rubbing alcohol produces harmful fumes.

Step 3: Set Up

Take the glass bottle you wish to cut and wash it out COMPLETELY. It is recommended that you remove the entire label.

Fill the container or bucket about 3/4 full of cold water.
     NOTE: Overfilling the container will result in water spilling over the side when the bottle is submerged.

Step 4: String

Picture of String
5 - StringWrap.jpg
Cut a length of string that is long enough to wrap around the bottle at least 3 times.

After the length of the string is cut, wrap it around the bottle and tie both ends together.

Cut off any extra string from the knot.

Step 5: Soaking the String

Picture of Soaking the String
Carefully slide the loop of string off the bottle, being careful not to untie the ends.

Soak the string in rubbing alcohol for 5 to 10 seconds.
    NOTE: Rubber or Latex gloves may be used to keep chemicals off of skin.

Slide the loop back on the bottle.
     NOTE: the location of the string will determine the placement of the cut.
Using rubber/latex gloves while dealing with fire isn't a good idea. I would rater get a quick burn from a flame than a slow agonising burn from the rubber or latex melting to my skin, then having to peel the melted rubber/latex an my charred skin off.
its cool
blackbird90 (author)  Noodles For Free2 years ago
In step 6 there's a note to remove the gloves after you dip the string in the alcohol.
corradini2 years ago
There's a MUCH easier way to do the light cord and socket that doesn't involve all this work --

BUY it! >;-)

Home Depot sells pretty much exactly what you need. It's the Westinghouse 6ft. Cord Set, SKU #418630, Model 7010800, Internet # 100351572. Link is here. $5.28 each.

It comes with a removable leaf spring that snaps into a 1" dia. hole, so you could easily make a disk the size of the ID of the bottle, with a 1" cutout hole, that would center the cord in the bottle.

You might even be able to pinch the spring together and slip the whole thing through the bottle mouth, if it's big enough, and have the spring hold it in the bottle neck, like a molly bolt -- thus avoiding needing to take the bottom off the bottle altogether. (If you wanted an ambient light, rather than a downward-shining illuminator...)

I've used several for a neat wooden box nightlight that has interchangeable front patterns with seasonal scenes cut out of them -- see Woodsmith magazine, vol. 12 Issue 71. (You can see a full copy, along with illustration of the light and how the spring clip works, here - p. 27.)
It seems that most people don't get the idea of "I made this myself - i didn't buy it!"

Not sure I get your meaning -- by "most people" not getting the idea of making vs. buying, are you referring to me/my post?

If so, I politely beg to differ. The project was *principally* about making a lamp by cutting a bottle, and showing the method -- the cord/bulb assembly wasn't really the creative, DIY part. It involved buying two parts for about $4, then spending some time and non-trivial, non-beginner labor to glom them together into a slightly inferior (no offense to the OP) hack of what you could buy, probably on the same rack, for another $1.

SO - I don't think this is a case of the joy of Creative Making vs. crass purchasing of consumer goods - it's buying the right part (which the OP and/or readers may simply not have known about) that you wanted in the first place, rather than buying two *other* parts and having to mash them together, for no particular creative benefit, into the equivalent...

(If I misread your comment altogether - mea maxima culpa. >;^)

I actually misread your post, my apologies (It was late). Its just my ingrained adversity to buying ANYTHING until I've tried at least thee times without success to make it... even if the end product does look 'iffy' - mea maxima culpa back at yer!
meenzal2 years ago
You'll probably want to add some kind of strain relief so the weight doesn't fall on the solder joints. Sliding a large washer over the wire and then knotting the wire a couple of inches above the socket would do. That way the majority of the weight is on the washer, not the socket.

It's a clever project. Pretty neat way to re-purpose empties!
Benstar2 years ago
I think this is the best way I've seen to make a bottle crack neatly. I use it to make glasses (using the bottom part) so I'm excited to try using the tops for lamps.
Check it:
chesler2 years ago
Maybe you should observe polarity.
The neutral-potential wire (connected to the wider prong, probably indicated with ribs on the wire) should go to the side of the nightlight that had its wider prong, probably the outside (ring) not the center (tip) of the bulb socket.
There is a safer way to cut the bottle and make it a clean cut.

Score the bottle all the way around. Slowly pour boiling water all around the score line. Then pour cold water over the same point. The bottle will crack very neatly on the line. (see this vid)

dimtick2 years ago
a note about the wiring. the extension cord wire has two wires, a hot & a neutral. looking at the extention cord the side that has the ridges on it is the neutral and the hot side is smooth (usually with writing on it). you can also look at the plugs. With the existing prongs on the nightlight and the prongs on the extention cord plug, the big prong is the neutral wire and the smaller prong is the hot. When you look at the inside of the nightlight, the metal contacts that you soldered to, one is brass and the other is silver. As a general rule, the brass is the hot and the silver is the neutral (this holds true for switch's, outlets & light sockets). You should be careful to match up the wire with the correct contact. Now you did this correctly but i didn't see any mention in the write up so i'm not sure if you chose intentionally or simply got lucky.

to be truthful your nightlight has an incandescent bulb which doesn't care which way the current flows but other types of bulds (cfl, led, halogen) do so it's best practice to always match things up.
ilpug2 years ago
Nice! Put them all around the bar maybe?