Introduction: Upcycled Wine Jug Lamp

Upcycling waste materials is an ecofriendly way to conserve trash for useful purposes. This Instructable is about using old wine jugs to create cheap, interesting lamps for home decoration.


  • Empty Wine Jug- we used a 4 liter bottle
  • Build-a-Lamp Kit- the one used was manufactured by Westinghouse and can be purchased at Home Depot.
  • Four clear Vinyl Feet- also purchased at Home Depot
  • Any household lampshade


  • Safety Goggles
  • Gloves- there is a chance that the jug will break while drilling, gloves will protect against cuts
  • Respirator mask (to avoid inhaling glass particles)
  • Be sure to complete the task outside to disperse glass particles when drilling


  • ½ inch Glass Drill Bit- There are many designs for drill bits. We used a Bosch Pointed bit, but other abrasive tips or pointed bits would work.
  • 3/8 inch all-purpose Drill Bit- a Dewalt bit was used
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • Normal sized Philips Screwdriver
  • Power Drill- either a cordless drill or corded will work

Skill Level

Novice (basic knowledge of tools required)

Time Required

30-45 Minutes

Total Cost

Materials (minus the jug) - $14

Tools (drill bits) - $15

Step 1: Collect Your Materials

Step 2: Drilling Glass

This is an important step to the project. Drilling glass is difficult because it does not handle stress very well and can shatter if not done correctly.

Note: Glass particles created by the bit are similar to sand. The particles are not dangerous but you do not want to get them in your eyes or breath them in.


  1. Put on safety gear.
  2. Invert the wine jug with the bottom facing up.
  3. In the dimple on the base of the jug, pour 1/8 cup of water into the dimple.
  4. Insert and tighten the glass bit in the drill. (for this step you may need to look up how to do this on your specific model)
  5. Place the drill bit in the center of the water pool.
  6. Pull the trigger and begin drilling using only the weight of the drill as pressure. (any more pressure may break the glass)
  7. As the bit begins make a hole, increase the speed to the fastest setting.
  8. Apply light pressure while maintaining drill speed until the bit has created a small hole in the glass roughly 4mm across. It took 3 minutes of constant drilling to create this hole. You can drill through completely, however that will take roughly 6 minutes and a small hole works just fine.
  9. Remove drill and wash the bottle with water to remove any glass particles.

Step 3: Drill the Cap Hole

The second step is to drill a hole in the cap for the wine jug. The cap will be easy to drill through because it is not as hard as glass. Drill from the top of the cap through to the bottom.

  1. Insert and tighten the 3/8 drill bit into your drill.
  2. Center the bit on the top side of the cap.

Note: It is normal for the drill bit to move once you start drilling. To keep the bit in place increase speed and hold the drill with two hands.

  1. Apply medium to heavy pressure while drilling at high speed until the bit punctures the cap.
  2. Tilt the drill in all directions while drilling to clear the edges of the hole.
  3. Remove the bit from the cap.

Step 4: Creating Your Lamp Top

The order in which the cap assembled is important to create a stable lamp.

  1. Screw the all-thread into the socket cap.
  2. Tighten the screw on the socket cap.
  3. Place the all-thread through the harp base.
  4. Push the all-thread into the cap, pulling the cap tight against the lamp base.
  5. Screw the lamp neck onto the bottom of the all-thread until it is finger-tight.

You now have a partially complete lamp top. The harp base and the cap should be tight together.

Step 5: Running the Wire

The whole purpose of drilling a hole in the glass is so that a wire can be run through the center. This portion of the project is not necessarily hard however it does impact the stability of the lamp. While it may go without saying, DO NOT plug the wire into any outlets while the leads are exposed.

  1. Straighten the wire and slowly feed the exposed leads through the hole on the bottom of the jug.
  2. Slowly push the wire out of the jugs spout. This may take some time to get it out.
  3. Feed the wire up through the upper lamp assembly and tighten the cap to the threaded spout.
  4. Following the example on the Make-a-Lamp instructions, tie a underwriters knot so that the wire can't get pulled out of the socket cap.

Step 6: Connecting the Leads

Nearing the end of the project, the second to last step is to connect the bare leads to the socket screws. Again, DO NOT plug the lamp into any power outlet until the lamp is complete.

  1. Since the lamp is powered by AC current the leads are ambiguous. Just wrap the exposed copper wire around the screw and tighten the screw.
  2. Repeat step one for the second lead.
  3. Twist the wires up into the base of the socket base.
  4. Push the socket shell over the socket and snap it into the base.

Step 7: Completing the Lamp

The final steps to complete the project get the lamp ready for display.

  1. Place four vinyl feet at the base of the lamp so that the lap is resting on them and not the wire.
  2. Using a zip-tie, tighten it to the base of the wire on the base of the lamp while the wire is pulled taut.

Congratulations! You have completed an upcycled wine jug lamp. Now you only need a light bulb and a lampshade of your choice to brighten the room.