Recycled Light Bulb Lamp




Introduction: Recycled Light Bulb Lamp

Greetings, fellow makers, and welcome to my first ever Instructable! This Instructable has been entered into a number of different contests, so keep an eye out for it.

The invention of the incandescent light bulb revolutionized the world of electric lighting. It has since fallen out of favor and been replaced by newer, better light bulbs. The incandescent bulb was horribly inefficient and produced more heat than light. You probably have a few in your house, and they are very cheap. So instead of getting rid of these relics from the past, why not convert it into something even more old and inefficient?

Step 1: Gather Supplies


  • Light bulb
  • Fuel
  • Wick material (can be anything made of cotton)
  • Cork (or something similar to cap the lamp
  • Gloves
  • Nail (or something similar for putting a hole in the cork)

  • Some form of knife
  • Pliers

Some items are not in the image. Most items will be discussed in greater detail later.

Step 2: Disassemble the Bulb

WARNING: During this section make sure to be very delicate and wear gloves! The bulb could potentially shatter, and if it does, you'll want to protect your hands. If you are younger, make sure you have an adult present.

On the bottom of your light bulb you should see a small black piece with some metal on the tip. This metal can be peeled off with pliers. Now the black piece can be cracked off. It's fine if the metal piece comes off. Using your pliers or a screwdriver, clear out the insides of the bulb. This consists of the filament and some glass. You may have to break some wires or even the glass to do this. Be careful. After the components are out, take the bulb over to a sink and rinse it out with water. You should see the white coating on the inside come off. Congratulations, you now have an empty light bulb!

Step 3: Preparing the Lamp

Now that you have an empty light bulb, you'll need something to plug up the top and hold in the wick. I decided to use a cork. Unfortunately, I only had a wine cork, so some cutting and sanding was required. After you have your plug, use a nail or something similar to put a hole through it. This hole will hold your wick. The wick can be made of practically anything made of cotton. For my wick, I braided together some kitchen twine, but you could use anything from cotton balls to strips from a cotton shirt. If your metal base came off, reattach it with hot glue or super glue. You can also use the glue to fill in any cracks in the light bulb.

Step 4: Filling and Lighting

Now that your lamp it ready, fill it with fuel. Rubbing alcohol works well. If you use alcohol, make sure it is at least 90%. The problem with alcohol is that it does not actually produce light, only heat. If you want, you could also use oil. Regular olive oil should work. Pull the wick through the hole in your plug and insert the plug into the lamp. Now you have to wait for your wick to soak up the fuel. Wait until the entire wick is wet. I made the mistake of being impatient and trying to soak the tip of the wick. I ended up getting alcohol on the cork, so when I lit the lamp, the cork caught fire. Even if you don't do this, the cork could still catch. If this happens, just let it burn for a bit and it will stop. Make sure to use about a centimeter to a centimeter and a half of wick.

Step 5: Done!

Congratulations! Your lamp is now finished.

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MAKE ENERGY: A US-Mexico Innovation Challenge

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MAKE ENERGY: A US-Mexico Innovation Challenge

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    hey meeeeep a better way to hold the light bulb is put it in a old sock because then if it shatters all the glass shards are collected in the sock so there is no cleaning up glass shards

    What a great use, and it looks so stylish! Very modern and steampunk at the same time, or I'm just weird...

    Welcome to instructables btw, hope we see more from you!