Introduction: 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.

Step 1: 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

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

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

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.

Step 6: Making the Cut

CAUTION: Rubbing alcohol is flammable and will ignite on your hands. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before completing this step.

CAUTION: REMOVE GLOVES from previous step-- if gloves have alcohol on them they will ignite and melt to your hands. 


Ignite the alcohol soaked string.
     NOTE: Due to the risks associated with fire and breaking glass, it is recommended that safety glasses are worn while lighting the string and submerging the bottle.

Rotate the bottle about its vertical axis at a slight upward angle (as pictured) at about 1/2 revolutions per second.
     NOTE: avoid holding the bottle near any flammable objects

As the flame begins to weaken and die down, dunk the bottle quickly into the container of cold water.

Step 7: Cutting Continued

You should hear an audible pop that sounds similar to breaking glass. Once this is heard, carefully remove the two separated sections of the bottle from the water.
NOTE: If the sound is not heard and the bottle does not separate, carefully remove the bottle and set it aside. It may be dried and used again once it is fully cooled. (using a different string)

If the bottle was cut successfully, the edges will be extremely sharp. Any type of sand paper should be used to carefully sand these edges smooth to lower the risk of injury.
NOTE: Fine glass particles can be harmful if inhaled. The use of a particulate mask (surgical mask) or respirator is highly recommended to avoid inhaling glass dust.

This concludes part one of the instructions. The sections of the bottle that you have cut may be used for many cool applications. Part two specifically gives instructions on making a small lighting fixture. If this is not desired please express your own creativity. 

Step 8: Lamp

In order to successfully complete this light assembly, it is required to have basic soldering skills. If you would like to learn how to solder there are many online tutorials.

The extension cord and night light were purchased from a chain grocery store for around $4.00 and are easily found it almost any hardware or grocery store.

Please keep in mind that our instructions were written with one specific night light. Almost any night light will work and consequently the process may vary slightly based on your choice of light.

Step 9: Light Preperation

Remove the bulb from the night light assembly so it is not broken in the disassembly process.

Using the appropriate screwdriver, remove the screw from the nightlight.
NOTE: Do not discard this screw. Place it aside for later use.

Step 10: Separation

Using a hammer and knife (or similar sharp edge), pry nightlight into two pieces along the seam. 
NOTE: It may take a considerable amount of force to drive the two halves apart.

Be careful not to force the knife too deep and damage the internal components. A safe depth is about 1/4"

Step 11: Removal of Toggle Switch

Remove toggle switch and spring from the night light.

Step 12: Prong Removal

Remove electrical prongs by lightly tapping with a hammer.
     NOTE: It may be helpful to use a vise or by bracing the light housing on the edge of a table.

Step 13: Extension Cord Modification

Using wire cutters, remove socket side of of extension cord.
     NOTE: Do not cut the pronged side of the cord.

Pull apart the insulation holding the two wires together until you have separated about an inch. If you are having trouble you may use a knife or wire cutters to help you.
     NOTE: If using a knife or wire cutters, do not cut the wires themselves.

Strip approximately 1/4" of insulation from each wire and tread the stripped wire through the top of the cut bottle.
NOTE: Do not pull the wires suddenly. This may damage the bottle.

Step 14: Cord to Light Connection

Remove the metal contacts from inside the nightlight housing.

Carve 2 holes 1/4" apart from each other in the bottom of the nightlight using the knife.
  (This is done to prevent the individual extension cord wires from interfering with the housing when it is pressed back together)

Using standard soldering procedure, solder the stripped wire ends to the metal contacts.
NOTE:Since we are using an incandescent bulb, polarity is not an issue. However, make sure to use correct polarity when need be. ie: LEDs. (see comments for more details)

NOTE: Take care to solder the wires straight into the contacts. The wire should not protrude at any strange angles.

(In our application it was necessary to create a hole in the Aluminum contact and thread the stripped wire through the hole to ease in soldering)

Step 15: Reassembly

Install contacts back into the night light and reassemble the two halves with the screw saved earlier.

Step 16: Your Light Is Finished

Test the light by plugging it into a socket.

Have fun trying your own ideas.