Introduction: Shotgun Shell Christmas Lights

Picture of Shotgun Shell Christmas Lights

A true expression of redneck pride.....

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

What you need:

Strand of Christmas lights.
Lots of 20-gauge shotgun shells. ( used! )*
A pair of pliers.

And a lot of patience...

*be sure to clean your shells well. You should also polish the metal end of the shells if they are old or rusty.

Step 2: Work....

Picture of Work....

Okay, Take a look at your shotgun shells.
At one end, there are ridges where the shell was unfolded as it was fired.  
Take your pliers and re-crease the ridges so that they are nice and crisp. Your shells should look stars when viewed from the top.

Step 3: More Work.....

Picture of More Work.....

Now grab one of the points of the star with your pliers and push it into the center of the shell.
Repeat this on all of the points until the shell looks somewhat like it did before it was fired.

Take a bulb from your Christmas lights and push it into the center of the shell where all the points meet. It should push the folded ridges into the shell.  These ridges provide a secure fit for the bulb. The shell should now be firmly attached and should not be able to slide off.

Now repeat over and over until you have covered all of your light bulbs.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Now plug 'em in and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Try and experiment with different colors of lights and shotgun shells.  If you have a favorite combination, feel free to post it!


daniellong2 (author)2015-08-23

I'm going to redesign this using led lighs so they last longer and more important, they fit in the primer hole after you remove it, so all the plastic part of the cartidge is illuminated

daniellong2 (author)daniellong22015-08-23

PS: nice work, anyways

That sounds like a great improvement.


HeidiR1 made it! (author)2014-12-09

This was a lot of work (and a little cursing) to make, but everyone (including my husband who thought I was crazy when I told him about my plans) loves it!

Follow the main instructions from instructa-seal, they are quite clear.

I called the shotgun range and asked if I could have some of their used shells. I got permission, brought my own bag and dug through the barrels to get the colors I needed. Do not get the dark grey/black shells, they are too dark for the lights. Get a few extras...without fail a few of them will crack when you bend the ends in. Use needle nose pliers. The shells make the lights very heavy, so use thin floral wire to secure them on the wreath. The bow is made from a spool of burlap, available in many colors at your local craft store. This is a 100 bulb strand of clear lights on a 36" wreath.

Good luck!

HeidiR1 (author)HeidiR12014-12-09

I forgot to add, this wreath is outside on a covered balcony so it will not get wet. I don't recommend using it where it will be exposed to rain and sealing off the ends with silicone - if a bulb burns out it will make it a pain to change out. I have already had 1 bulb go within a week. I simply pulled it out, changed the bulb, pushed the end back in place and popped the light back in.

JohnE2 (author)2014-09-21

Has anyone ever tried just doing a crimp using a reloading press and still able to get the bulb through?

vaycon (author)2013-04-30

nice work i will start collecting the empty shell you found useful end for them :)

drinkmoretea (author)2013-01-04

can you sugest some sites to buy used shot gun shells?

machoturtle (author)drinkmoretea2013-01-12

better yet, actually use your shotgun! then it's a win win you get the shells you needed, and you got practice shooting your shotgun!

Notbob (author)drinkmoretea2013-01-04

Why would you buy them online?
Assuming you live in a country that allows for the civilian ownership of shotguns, or firearms in general, just pop down to your local range (outdoor range) and look or ask about to see if they have a pile of them laying about. Most places that don't make you take them home with you will have them somewhere.
Worst case scenario is they don't, and you'll just have to go searching at a different range.

machoturtle (author)2013-01-12

Awesome! Might just have to make me some of these!

Stonehopper (author)2013-01-09

Actually saw some for sale at Tractor Supply this year

coptician (author)2012-12-31

And a cartridge in a pear tree! Awesome!

bajablue (author)coptician2013-01-05


bajablue (author)2013-01-04

I wouldn't be surprised to see these advertised in Cabela's in the very near future! Great work!!!

askjerry (author)2013-01-03

Nice! This got forwarded! (Clever too!)

ncoffaro (author)2013-01-03

Really cool! I am going to try this!

lbrewer42 (author)2013-01-03

Love the idea! If a cat burglar was to enter the house and see these, I bet he'd exit pretty quick LOL!

Oops - that's not politically correct - it better - its patriotic!

instructa-seal (author)2013-01-02

If you enjoyed this instructable, please feel free to vote for me!

fireballxl5 (author)2012-12-31

I think this would be a "sure-fire" (pun intended) winner for the contest, is it entered?

yes, it is, and thanks for the positive feedback everyone!

MrE (author)2013-01-01

YOU!.... Might be a Redneck if you have a shotgun shell christmas light set!! But I like it anyways.

streetrod5 (author)2012-12-31

I'm going to take a shot at this for next year - it will be my brother's Christmas present! Too cool, thank you.

friger (author)2012-12-31

I think the boys at Duck Commander need to see this. Awesomeness

blodefood (author)2012-12-30

Kind of like swords into ploughshares?

Lorddrake (author)2012-12-29


dafonso (author)2012-12-29

This is a awesome as it is ridiculous. Well done, sir.

About This Instructable




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