Introduction: "The Steampunk Garden" in a Bulb

Based on an idea of Mr. Ravensdale from the Clockworkers Forum I build a little garden from a big 300W bulb.

Parts you need:
  • A salad bowl (as the stand)
  • A solar garden light with LED
  • A big bulb
  • Some copper tubes, fittings and parts
  • A switch
  • Some pieces of wood
  • Some brass applikations
  • Brass screws, bold´s and nuts.
The original idea can be found here: CLICK

Step 1: The Bulb and the Stand

Remove the inner parts of the bulb.
Drill and cut some holes for the bulb, the switch, the holder and the solar panel

Step 2: The Solar Panel and the Electronics

Disassemble the solar garden ligth, so you will have the LED, the solar panel and the electronics with the accumulator.
Place the electronics and the accumulator inside your stand and connect the LED and the solar panel.
The switch ca be placed in the lines of the solar panel.
If you switch it off, the LED will light up.

From a small round piece of wood and some brass applications I created a holder for the solar panel.
The LED was placed in the middle of the holder like picture No. 3.

Step 3: Mounting Everything Together

Assemble everything as shown in the pictures below.

I filled some sand and some plants inside the bulb.
The bulb is sealed completely.
Now the plants are still growing without any additional water or air.

If its becoming dark the LED will lit and it looks like moonshine inside the bulb.

You can use every kind of bulb, even the smaller one.

Have fun


TheKitMurkit. made it! (author)2016-10-16

Are these plants real or fake? How they grow without any additional nutrition?

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2016-10-16

Hi, no fake. Real plants an without any extra water and nurions.

spylock made it! (author)2012-12-09

Another really cool one,good job.

Chief2091 made it! (author)2012-06-16

When I first looked at the pic, I thought this was a bong o_O

Madame La Bacchae made it! (author)2012-02-22

Thank you for the instructable! I used potourrie, this way the plants don't transpire and the bulb doesn't get fogged.

SwampDragons made it! (author)SwampDragons2012-03-27

Love this mod! Do you have a bigger picture to share so I can see a little more closely what you did with the potpourri?

trker made it! (author)2011-11-22

The guy who made you reference here as having the original idea also has an instructable on how to make it

Electronics Man made it! (author)2011-10-13

Great Job! I want to make one of these but I have a question. Is the LED basically for looks at night or does it actually help the plants grow?
I read that a minium of a 3 Watt LED needs to be used in order to be a grow light.

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-10-13

Good morning,

its only a night light it will not help the plants grow.


H. Steam

aford4 made it! (author)2011-09-25

some plants?
could you elaborate a little bit?

What plants are growing in this cool setup?

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-26

Nearly every slow growing plant. I used moss for this first approach.


H. Steam

steamyjoe made it! (author)steamyjoe2011-09-27

In case it may be useful: this is a list of plants I've collected as 'Suitable for Terrarium Growing'. Sorry if there's any duplicates. I am happy to hear feedback:
• Acorus gramineus ‘Pusilus’
• Adiantum raddianum
• Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei)
• Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’
• Asparagus Fern (Asparagus Plumosus)
• Asplenium nidus
• Baby’s Tears (Helxine Soleirolii)
• Begonia ‘Tiger Paws’
• Callisia
• Chamaedorea elegans
• Cissus discolor
• Codiaeum
• Cryptanthus Acaulis C. bivittatus C. Bromelioides C. zonatius
• Dracaena reflex acv
• Dracaena sanderiana
• Emerald Ripple (Peperomia Caperata)
• Espiscia
• Ficus pumila ‘Variegata’
• Ficus pumilia
• Fittonia verschaffeltii
• Gold Dust Plant (Dracaena Godseffianna)
• Hedera (miniatures)
• Hypoestes phyllostachya
• Hypoestes phylostachya ‘Splash’
• Maranta leuconeura
• Nertera granadensis
• Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
• Parlor Palm (seedling) (Chamaedorea Elegans)
• Pellaea rotundifolia
• Pellionia daveaunana
• Peperomia caperata
• Pilea cadierei P. spruceana
• Plectranthus oertendahllii
• Ribbon Plant (Dracaena Sanderiana)
• Saintpaulia (miniatures)
• Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’
• Scheffleria elegantissima (seedlings)
• Selaginella
• Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’
• Selaginella martensii
• Soleirolia soleirolii
• Strawberry Geranium (Saxifraga Sarmentosa)
• Strobilanthes dyerianus
• Syngonium hoffmanii
• Tradescantia cerinthoides. T. fluminensis. T. spathacea.
• Variegated Peperomia (PeperomiaObtusifolia Variegat)

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-10-01

Thank you :-)

chunk_change made it! (author)2011-09-27

What about CO2, sooner or later the plant will run out of it. how long do you expect your plant to last.

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-28

No, this is not true because the plants are cycling CO2 and Oxygen and there are some micro-organism in the earth. They are producing enough CO2- There are closed systems outside still existing since 30 years.
Please see also the q&A in step 1

chunk_change made it! (author)chunk_change2011-09-28

Ok cool it was late last night i was more distracted by the elegant simplicity and the thought came in my head. ill check it out. thanks

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-28


Trelligan made it! (author)2011-09-25

There are several methods to 'open' a light bulb without cracking it, most depend on accessing the blown base of the bulb.

When the bulb is blown (by person or machine) a small spot at the base is left for later sealing. This can be broken off (and the vacuum released) without the bulb breaking. This is due to both the thicker glass here and the smaller hole that slows down the airflow.

Cut, carve or drill into the base of the bulb, between the cylindrical 'screw' area and the center contact. When you break the base you will hear air hissing in, unless your Dremel, drill or whatever is too loud.

For this project, continue until everything below the screw-threaded section is gone, pulling out the filaments and support arms. Move carefully here to prevent scratching the inside of the glass; if you do have a single scratch, that can become the bottom of the display.

You can then replace the cut-off bottom with modeling clay or similar, or screw the bulb into a socket. The end must be sealed to keep the water in the environment.

If your bulb has a phosphor coating, place some sand or other mild abrasive inside the bulb and swirl it around. Dispose of this carefully, some of the phosphors are chemically dangerous in large doses. Ordinary trash is OK for disposal, just as it is for incandescent light bulbs.

If you want to experiment with other types of bulbs, be aware that ALL fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, even the 'green end' and CFL types. Check your local regulations for proper disposal of mercury.

diy_bloke made it! (author)diy_bloke2011-09-26

I have had pretty good results by placing a lamp in yhe refrigirator for a few hours and then just twist off the brass base. That leaves you with the still closed glass part. I then break of rhe small glass rod that sticks out and press the base against a beltsander till the middle part loosens

In the method you describe there is a fair chance that the cut will be below the glass and you will have to move up higher on the brass foot to cut into the glass. But eventually that will work though. However there will be a fair chance yr dremel will make longitudinal cracks, that could crack yr entire bulb.

Not sure iff All bulbs contain mercury. I opened a number of standard filament bulbs and there was really nothing inside that could contain any mercury or it must have been the metal wires going to the filament

Trelligan made it! (author)Trelligan2011-09-27

Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury. Florescent bulbs contain mercury.

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-26

Thank you for the instruction! :-)

And THANK YOU for the warning!!!!


H. Steam

tyeo098 made it! (author)2011-09-21


Wouldn't the plants be unable to photosynthesize without a source of CO2?
The respiration process is the opposite of photosynthesis. You need something to produce CO2 and eat O2

sbiltoft made it! (author)sbiltoft2011-09-25

The microbes in the soil will produce CO2 for the plants and the plants will produce O2 for the microbes.

hotLatte made it! (author)hotLatte2011-09-25

The plants themselves will also produce CO2 as they "respirate" at night (or in the darkI).

See graphic here: 

sbiltoft made it! (author)sbiltoft2011-09-26

Also correct. Good show.

hotLatte made it! (author)hotLatte2011-09-26


ironsmiter made it! (author)ironsmiter2011-09-22

depends on the "plant" and what else is in there.

Short term, there should be sufficient CO2 in the volume to support ongoing plant growth.(days weeks months?)

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-22

Thank you for your reply.

The moss inside the bulb is still growing since 3 month.
There is also some earth inside and I think, that the micro-organism inside will produce enough CO2.

With kind regards,

H. Steam

agis68 made it! (author)2011-09-25

pretty cool...i love the design

jnelson-6 made it! (author)2011-09-25

Also, if you can't find a clear glass bulb, you can use any 'white coated' bulb just swish some salt around in the bulb first to remove the white coating inside.

kgildea made it! (author)2011-09-25

This is a lovely little object w/possibilities!

Bilby made it! (author)2011-09-25

I like your imaginative use of materials (salad bowl!) and the construction looks solid and well-polished. The solar panel seems a bit 'tacked on' but it could be considered part of the estethic.

Thanks for sharing!

diy_bloke made it! (author)2011-09-25

Perhaps it is just me, but "Remove the inner parts of the bulb"
How exactly is this done without removing the copper foot?
Or am I missing something here?

jendicott made it! (author)2011-09-25

Some more thought could go into it.. Search Etsy there are people selling for the last year the same things. Thank you for sharing!

bodhikt made it! (author)2011-09-25

How do you remove the "innards" of the bulb? Specifically, how do you "open" a bulb so the innards can be removed? I've tried doing this before, and the bulb always broke.

David97 made it! (author)2011-09-23

It looks like a bong!

ArtfulAl made it! (author)2011-09-22

to be honest, If I saw this on someone's counter at their house, I might think it's a bong. not to insult your talent or anything, it looks great, I just thought you might want to be aware of that.

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)Horatius.Steam2011-09-22

Thank you for your hint.

You can use anything to build such a garden even a bong. :-)
By the way this is a good idea!

With kind regards,

H. Steam

zigzagchris made it! (author)2011-09-22

This is great. Very definition steam punk

Horatius.Steam made it! (author)2011-09-22

Here are some additional informations about such gardens.
I hope that will help a bit to understand how they will work:

See also the links below the article.

With kind regards,

H. Steam

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes ... More »
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