Introduction: Stylish Half-bottle LED Lights

Picture of Stylish Half-bottle LED Lights

Hello everyone!

I want to show you how I converted some daily used objects into a stylish array of four LED lamps that can be used anywhere in the house. I made them for the kitchen table, and they look so good that I will make another set for my desk.

These are not capable to replace your standard bulb and only add some light above the place you hang them on. They will add a stylish touch to any room.

I have tried to make lots of photos to avoid reading long boring texts, so if you need more info, just tell me! Check out my photos and instructions and leave your comment. I will be glad to hear what you have in mind!

Step 1: Use Reuse Recycle

Picture of Use Reuse Recycle
I have tried to use only stuff that was laying around the house, we all want to be sustainable after all.
  • Glass bottles
  • Phone charger
  • Bottle cork
  • Nail polish
How would you use your old phone battery charger?
Do you always recycle glass bottles?
What about wood material such as cork?
Where do people bin the nail polish that they don't need?
How many energy saving lights do you have at home?

Answering these questions shows where my inspiration came from. I was just thinking about daily life sustainability ... all items which come in shiny packaging and when we don't need them ... we throw them in te bin.

What you may need to buy is:
  • LEDs (I used 32 white 5mm LEDs)
  • Resistors (fixed and variable)
  • Cables
  • Prototyping PCB
  • Switch

You also need some tools like:
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Wood carving kit
  • Soldering iron and wire
  • Glass cutter

Don't forget!
  • Safety glasses

Step 2: A Special Brightness Control Feature

Picture of A Special Brightness Control Feature

I have used a bottle cork and built a switch and a potentiometer inside.

The switch turns all lights on/off and with the potentiometer you control the brightness.

You can see the switch on the side. The lower part below it can be rotated clockwise to make the lights brighter and counterclockwise to make them dimmer.

Step 3: Old Phone Charger

Picture of Old Phone Charger

We are using stuff laying around the house, so find your old Nokia and use the charger. I had a Samsung laying around and used that.

Any charger that produces 5V DC can be used. Check the charger rating - it depends on the number of LEDs you use, but I think 500mA is minimum.

My charger is rated at 700mA and I used 4 lamps each having 8 lLEDs, 32 in total.

I have mentioned sustainability above. How my design is more sustainable from the conventional lamps is that it uses little energy resources and still gives the desired effect. Four small size bulbs would produce a lot more light output, but at 15 times the power consumption.

A typical phone charger produces 0.5 to 1.0 A current at 5V DC, which is around 2.5 to 5W which is way less than any conventional tungsten light bulb.

Step 4: Schematic

Picture of Schematic

Look at my diagram that describes the electrical connections.

So I have 8 LEDs in parallel for each lamp in series with  2x10 Ohm resistors which are in parallel.

For the brightness regulator I use a 0-500 Ohm potentiometer and a 8.2 kOhm resistor and using these I form a potential divider. The middle point is where I connect the LED lamps.

If you alter the number of LEDs or the power supply or something else, you will have to measure the current through the LEDs. At maximum brightness, it is good to keep the current through the LEDs less than 15mA.

Step 5: PCB

Picture of PCB

Prepare a round piece of the prototyping board, two 10 Ohm resistors and 8 LEDs.

Step 6: Solder

Picture of Solder

Put the LEDs so that they form a circle.

All long (or all short) legs should face to the centre.

Now bend legs to form two loops - positive and negative.  Do not mix short and long legs.

Solder and trim.

Step 7: Resistors in Parallel

Picture of Resistors in Parallel

Place the two 10 Ohm resistors in the centre and solder them in parallel.

Connect one side of the resistors to the positive LED terminal - with the longer legs.

This will become the positive connection and the resistors will restrict the current flow.

Why two resistors in parallel?

10*10 / ( 10 +10 ) = 5

So the total resistance will be 5 Ohms. With using 2 resistors that equal 5 Ohms, the heat dissipation is better and the resistors won't heat so much and they can be smaller size and wattage rating.

Finally solder a wire and make sure all LEDs work. If none works, then check the polarity of your power supply. If only some work, then you may have soldered some LEDs the wrong way around.

Step 8: Cork Control

Picture of Cork Control

Choose a switch and a potentiometer that you think will fit inside the cork.

Cut a small portion of the cork that will be the brightness control.

Then split the rest of the cork in two.

Step 9: Carve the Cork

Picture of Carve the Cork

By using tools that carve wood you can make space for the switch and potentiometer inside the cork.

Cork is soft and I used a rotary tool that 'eats' it rather easy and quick.

The potentiometer sits below the switch. I was able to use a two wire cable and also made space for it in the cork.

Step 10: Potentiometer Control

Picture of Potentiometer Control

Using a piece of plastic card, I made a shaft between the potentiometer and the cork. All was glued with instant glue.

I would recommend to find a potentiometer with bigger shaft so you won't have to do the trick with the plastic shaft.

Step 11: Glue the Cork Enclosure

Picture of Glue the Cork Enclosure

Check operation and then use wood glue to attach the two halves.

I used glue called "Moment" and it worked out well.

Step 12: Glass Cutting

Picture of Glass Cutting

Do not try this if you are unsure. Give it to someone with experience - it could be the local glass repair shop or something like this.

I attempted to cut the top of the bottles using the hot/cold water way. There are numerous ways shown online, so just google it.

Wear safety glasses!

What you need to do is scratch the bottle around the outer side where you want to cut it. I used a glass cutter from the local store.

Step 13: Hot & Cold Water

Picture of Hot & Cold Water

Boil some water in the kettle. Now pour some hot water on the place that you scratched and rotate the bottle.

Stop and repeat with cold water.

Do this until the top of the bottle comes off by itself.

Step 14: Bottle Cuts Results

Picture of Bottle Cuts Results

Here are some of my attempts. I cut 6 bottles in total to get 4 decently looking bottle pieces.

Be careful because the edge is very sharp.

At this point you can sand the edge with some sanding paper, but I did not have one, so I skipped that.

Step 15: Caps & Assembly

Picture of Caps & Assembly

Using a screwdriver or a drill, make holes on the caps and feed the wires through them. Close the caps back to the bottles.

Tie a knot on the cables and leave the board with the LEDs hang in the centre of the bottle.

If a knot does not work use cable ties or glue.

Step 16: Operation Check

Picture of Operation Check

They look beautiful, hmm?

Now it's up to you to hang them somewhere. Maybe above the desk or next to the TV?

Mine are above the dining table.

They also make good use when watching the TV, because they emit soft light and it can be dimmed easily.

Step 17: Adding Bling Bling

Picture of Adding Bling Bling

I painted the edge of one bottle with nail polish. There is some glowing effect and the edge becomes very shiny.

Dots also look very nice and make the lamps stand out even more.

Step 18: Moments of Joy

Picture of Moments of Joy

All there is left is to enjoy what we have made!

I've added lots of photos in this step to show all aspects of the lights.

I hope to hear from you what you think, like, dislike or recommend!

I will be more than happy to give a pro membership to the ones that attempt to follow and recreate my instructable! I have a spare pro membership code that will be given to the first who posts his results in pictures below in the comments (I just have one code)!

Happy instructablesing and please vote for me if you like what I have shown here!


Mmaryann (author)2016-02-25

Led timers

jackwestly (author)2015-07-23

Nice .... Good idea

baecker03 (author)2014-12-19

might try this, although I would use a higher power Led and would probably silver the enclosure

baecker03 (author)baecker032014-12-19

also might want to get a buck converter to regulate current

spylock (author)2013-09-25

Love the half bottles cut high like you did,they look so much better than the Mason jars that you see a lot of people using.Did you consider using the small candle type bulbs,or was the LEDs always your intention?

ragnotis (author)2013-02-01

One oh the best instructables ever seen!!!
Just some question that may help me understand the whole thing: what did you use to join the 4 ligths cables with the regulation one? Did you use some kind of external box joined to the ceiling? And, OK for the phone charger, but how did you bring the CC to the ceiling? Thanks in advance for your answers (and be patient with my poor english...).

kukubee (author)ragnotis2013-02-03


I used just two pieces of shrink tube. I soldered all connections on one spot, then put the shrink tube on top and heated a bit with a lighter.

And all the lights and cables are hanging on a piece of wood attached to the pipe that is the exhaust pipe from the flat heating system - this is a plastic NOT hot pipe.

What do you mean by CC?

ragnotis (author)kukubee2013-07-16

I've done it!!! Tnx Kukubee for inspiration. I've followed your instructions for the electrical side of your Instructable. But I've put together some IKEA (God always bless them) stuff to build the rest. In the pictures you see how it looks like.

ragnotis (author)kukubee2013-02-05

Sorry, "CC" is the italian for "DC" current.

Alex Loftie (author)2013-07-05

Awesome idea, I love it.
I did something similar using coke bottles and colored water check it out on my page!

JFabor (author)2013-03-12

Super cool! I'm totally going to get down with this instructable!

ZaneEricB (author)2013-02-05


but, could you incorporate this into the design??

kukubee (author)ZaneEricB2013-03-09

That would make it run on free energy. I have never thought about this, thanks for sharing :)

valcider (author)2013-02-08

Nicely done!I cheated and bought pre-wired led arrays from AllelectronicsI also used some Japanese soda bottles that were already pretty decorative so I skipped a lot of steps but still came out well.

kukubee (author)valcider2013-03-09

I'd love to see how you made it! Post a picture in the reply here.

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2013-03-08

Awesome!! Very Creative and nicely explained.

kukubee (author)Tarun Upadhyaya2013-03-09


Broom (author)2013-02-25

Lovely and brilliant. It bothers me that you didn't sand down the edges - sooner or later someone will pay for that skipped step.

So, next time, just use an emery board if you don't have sandpaper handy. From your manicure in one of your shots, I'm betting you have some of those around!

ADIAN HERRERA (author)2013-02-22

neat bananas

DeeRilee (author)2013-02-07

I love this!!! I've got some bottles that I love the shapes of....this would be an awesome way to enjoy them!

Very well-written Instructable!

londobali (author)2013-02-01

HA!!! The cork dimmer-power is a fantastic idea!!
thanks for sharing!

kukubee (author)londobali2013-02-03

Thanks! Please vote for me in the contests that I have entered if you liked the instructable.

kostya (author)kukubee2013-02-04

Thank you, kukubee! My vote is yours.

londobali (author)kukubee2013-02-04

with pleasure.. :D

Sanjay Limbore (author)2013-02-02

If other Half of the bottle sticked and bottle filled with soap water, it glow as frosted (milky) bulb. May become more useful.

kukubee (author)Sanjay Limbore2013-02-04

Hi, I tried to do this to see how it looks. The result is like light through milk.

kostya (author)2013-02-02

Nice instructable! Thanks for sharing. I have a few phone chargers and would like to build small grow LED lamps. Could you answer some questions? 1.Can I use red LEDs or should I add more red ones in parallel due to the fact that voltage drop is lower across a red LED?2. If I remove a potentiometer, should I substitute it with a 8K2 resistior?

kukubee (author)kostya2013-02-03


You can put red LEDs instead of the white ones, this is not a problem. A problem could come if you wish to mix different colours (and use this schematic that I use) because they have different voltage drop. If you mix colours each LED should have its own limiting resistor.

Best way is to put some resistor, say 2kOhms and power the LEDs with 5V DC. If they burn right away, put a bigger resistor. Then measure what current flows through one individual LED and choose such resistor to limit the current to around 15mA. Overcurrent may damage the LED and it will shorten its life.

If you wish to remove the potentiometer, remove the 8.2kOhm resistor below it too. Leave only a resistor between the supply and the chain of LEDs - I think around 1-2kOhms. Experiment with bigger values of resistors and measure current, then try different resistors.

Any other questions, please ask me!

marksstudio (author)2013-02-01

A great project and well documented. Using a tile/marble saw I was able to cut jaegermiester bottles and the water lubed 10" blade made smooth cuts. The green glass is appealing.

A great Instructable! Thank you.

rfburger (author)2013-01-31

This is excellent, keep it up

jjaminc (author)2013-01-31

Loved this one! Will be doing this one very soon!

kukubee (author)jjaminc2013-01-31

Nice! If you post pictures of your bottle LED lights here in the comments you will get a pro membership code from me as a reward!

c-face (author)2013-01-31

Great Idea, I think the LED lights I have available in my town, kind of blow.
Making my own, might be the better route.

heibert (author)2013-01-31

What about using plastic bottles? Its easy and safe. I'm sure we can find enough beauty bolttles :-)

kukubee (author)heibert2013-01-31

Yeah, and easy to cut and .... maybe heat bend also? That's the option for those that don't want to mess with glass.

mr.incredible (author)2013-01-29

Excellent all around. Great 'ible, with great results.

The LEDs could put off more light if you buff them up with sand paper first. Maybe on the next set.

kukubee (author)mr.incredible2013-01-30

Thanks for the advice, I never knew this.

amaze1 (author)kukubee2013-01-31

Indeed, the light amount is the same, but is more diffused all around, more like classic incandescent bulbs. Also you can find diffused LEDs ready for use (look for "frozen", "milk" and "diffused" LEDs).
Your LED luminaries act more like spot lights, so you have good light under them.
I did the same in my kitchen, used 36 LED for each spot, parallelizing 12 series of 3 white LEDs to use existing halogen lamps 12V power supply. Current limiting resistor needed of course.

amaze1 (author)amaze12013-01-31

Sorry, I forgot: Very very very nice instructable.
Like both the bottles and the (lovely) cork switch!
BTW, how you solved the sharp borders problem ?

kukubee (author)amaze12013-01-31

Thanks, what I will do is try to buff the LEDs now as they are soldered already.

I actually tried to diffuse some of the light to the sides by bending the LEDs just while soldering. So they are soldered a bit sideways and emit to the side.

The sharp edges you ask - well I have not sanded them to make them safer, what I did is to put nail polish on the edge. This makes it better in two ways. 1st you see the edge, 2nd you paint over the sharp bit slightly. I know this is not the correct way, but I am doing this for the first time and I have never worked with glass ... it is safer to give the bottles to an experienced glass cutter I would say.

onrust (author)2013-01-31

Love your photos. For me, the cork switch takes the show. That's just smooth work. Two thumbs up to you!

kukubee (author)onrust2013-01-31

Thank you, I'm glad you and the others like the cork switch.

conmac863 (author)2013-01-31

Very nice project. Great look !!
As maybolicious requested do you have any information on how you connected the 4 lights, switch and power adapter?
The instructable was great and well written. Just missing that one part.
Thanks and again Great Job !!

kukubee (author)conmac8632013-01-31

Thanks for the thumbs up!

I have what you are asking about on step four. If you don't understand how to read/ implement these schematics, then look at what I have answered to "maybolicious" below. I think I have explained it there. Still, if you need more info I can try and draw something by hand.

jimvandamme (author)2013-01-31

You don't really need the 8.2K resistor. It just shunts current away from the LEDs.

kukubee (author)jimvandamme2013-01-31

I have it to reduce the current a bit. It is not a big deal, but makes it better if you wish to change LEDs or something around them I think.

stevepuk (author)2013-01-31

Why are you using 2 10 ohm resistors in parallel rather than a single 5 ohm resistor?

kukubee (author)stevepuk2013-01-31

1st I have not got any 5 ohm resistors. 2nd I found out that at maximum lightness the resistors tend to warm up a bit. I imagine that a single 5 ohm resistor would heat more and I don't know how much. Maybe you will need a slightly bigger wattage in that case.

stevepuk (author)kukubee2013-01-31

Ok, fair enough, I wondered if it was for heating.

Thank you for replying.

jimvandamme (author)2013-01-31

Another cool thing would be to frost the glass. Not sure what the best way would be...hydrofluoric acid, samdblasting, or spraying clear paint.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a huge fan of chocolate!
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