Make a Glass Bottle Lamp Using Fire




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.

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    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    In step 6 there's a note to remove the gloves after you dip the string in the alcohol.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It seems that most people don't get the idea of "I made this myself - i didn't buy it!"


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction


    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. >;^)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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:


    10 years ago on Step 16

    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)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! Put them all around the bar maybe?