Aquarium in Lightbulb




Introduction: Aquarium in Lightbulb

This DIY will provide the guidelines in order to use a light bulb to create a unique and special decoration and gift. It will definitely be eye catching wherever it is located.

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

Before starting the instructable, you have to gather the following materials:

  • Hammer
  • Plier
  • Tweezers
  • Superglue
  • Copper wire
  • Funnel (can also be made of paper)
  • Light bulb
  • Modelling clay that drys
  • Moss balls or mini plant
  • Tiny plants or other decorations(voluntary)
  • String (preferable very thin and light colored)
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Gravel
  • Bigger stones(voluntary)
  • Fake mini fish

Step 2: Open the Light Bulb (Warning: Get Help From a Adult When Necessary)

To empty the lightbulb, it would be best to go outside and follow the steps below:

  1. Use a hammer to break open the bottom part of the lightbulb(be careful not to hit too hard) - this can take a couple of minutes
  2. Carefully hit against the glass "wall" that divides the inside of the lightbulb with the screwthreads
  3. Turn the light bulb upside down and empty it with the help of tweezers(do not shake it!)
  4. Try to remove the glass pieces left in the screwthreads
  5. Use pliers to bend the edges of the screwthread inward (so it will not harm anyone)

In the pictures, it is shown that the empty lightbulb broke into two parts - the glass and screwthreads. In this case, use super glue to glue them back together. In case of the lightbulb glass breaks completely, you might have to use another lightbulb and repeat the process.

Step 3: Clean the Lightbulb

If there is any dirt visible you can try to rid of it with the help of a cue tip and maybe some water. However, be sure not to put too much pressure on the glass surface as it will break. Also rough towels could cause scratches, so you might want to overthink your strategy before actually starting to clean the light bulb.

Step 4: Bottom

In order to let the lightbulb stand securely use modelling clay as described:

  1. Make a small ball (1cm diameter) out of modelling clay
  2. Roll it into a line
  3. Place the lightbulb onto one end of the line
  4. Turn the lightbulb slowly while laying the modelling clay around it (to form a circle)
  5. Wait until it is dry

Step 5: Fish

The fish are supposed to be in the air. To achieve this effect, you have three choices. I will explain the first option which is the easiest and can be used when the light bulb is standing slanted or straight.

The first option (does not matter if the light bulb is standing slanted or straight): Use copper wire to let the fish seem to float through the light bulb. To achieve this follow these steps:

  1. Cut off a 9cm long piece of wire
  2. Using a tweezer, bend one end about 90 degrees
  3. Bend it again 90 degrees, in the same direction, so it will be a small loop
  4. Turn the wire around the loop until there is only 4.5cm of straight wire left
  5. Bend the straight wire so that it points upwards and the rolled up part is the base
  6. Take a fake fish and insert the wire into the fake fish until it does not move around anymore when touched
  7. Repeat these steps with another fish and piece of wire (in step 4 the length should be 3.5cm)

The second option (when the light bulb is standing slanted): making holes into the glass and putting the string through there. The knots will be covered with small moss pieces. Note: a very hot heat source is needed, thus for some people not achievable.

The third option (when the light bulb will stand straight): With superglue, glue the string ends into the screw threads area. Then tie a fish to each of the ends of the strings.

Step 6: Ground

With the help of a funnel and by following the steps below, you can create the floor with different layers.

  1. Place the funnel into the light bulb and hold it about 1 cm above the bottom of the light bulb
  2. Slowly fill the funnel with gravel and meanwhile move the funnel in a circle (so the gravel spreads evenly)
  3. Stop adding gravel when the layer is about 0.5cm - 1cm high
  4. Carefully shake the light bulb to let the small stones find free spaces
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with soil
  6. Move to the next step(adding the plant to also use the sand)

Note: if something went wrong during this step, you can always start over again by shaking out the content and filling it, with the help of the funnel, this time better.

Step 7: Add the Plant

Now, you are going to add the plant by following the steps below.

  1. Using the funnel, dig a small hole where the centre of your plant shall be
  2. With tweezers place the bottom of the plant into the gravel and soil layers
  3. Embed the bottom of the plant so it looks like it is growing out of the layers(in case it is fake) or it has soil to live(in case of a real plant)
  4. Place the funnel into the light bulb and hold it about 0.5 cm above the soil layer
  5. Slowly fill the funnel with sand and meanwhile move the funnel in a circle around the plant
  6. Stop adding sand when the soil can almost not be seen anymore

Step 8: Voluntary: Add Additional Decoration

The last step is voluntary. If you wish to, you can add further decorations but you can also leave the light bulb as it is. However, for the ones that do consider including some more decoration, below is a list of things you could add:

  • unique stones
  • different types/colours of sand
  • seashells
  • moss balls
  • a small stick hanging from the top of the light bulb
  • actual water (when light shines through it reflects the water in a very appealing way)
  • coral plants

I, for example, added small seashells I once found at a beach, to balance out the colours in the light bulb.

Now you are finished! I hope you enjoyed and were able to recreate the DIY!

Be the First to Share


    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Maps Challenge

      Maps Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest

    5 Discussions


    1 year ago

    A very original idea, and it also looks very nice. It's a wonderful way to recycle all those old light bulbs and turn them into something beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing.


    1 year ago on Step 8

    This is a really cute terrarium idea!


    Question 2 years ago

    Could you put water in it to make an aquatic aquarium for small cherry or ghost shrimp, or the like? Would it hold water?


    Answer 2 years ago

    Yes, it would hold water as the glas is stronger than it first seems :)


    Answer 2 years ago

    Thank You!