Bottle Light Bulb AKA Bacardi Bulb




About: Professional work in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help... Currently under contract designing environmental monitoring equipment.

This will show you how to turn an ordinary bottle into a light bulb.

This is an experiment and there may be flaws but that is all part of the learning process.

I used a Bacardi bottle for the bulb but any glass bottle will do,

This in not a LED instructable. This is a direct response to the death of the incandescent bulb.

I harvested a tungsten filament from a 40 W bulb since I did not have a local source for tungsten wire,

The build is 40 W and I love the glow. I t has been running for a couple of weeks now with no problems. I tested the bulb with a constant run of over 24 hours in the shop'

There is a slight discoloration of the bottle near the filament (the glass turned blue) but the light is bright and constant...

Step 1: Materials

You will need a 40 W Incandescent bulb.
A bottle
A wiring solution.
Some brass rod and screws
Some wood for a base
The ability to braze
High Temp Silicone
glass drill
a vacuum pump
Free will
And some imagination

other materials will be required as presented.

Step 2: The Bottle

You will need to drill 2 holes onto the base of the bottle.

I used a tile bit for a Roto-Zip tool.
This creates 2 holes that are equally spaced.

I used a small section of black PVC plumbing pipe in a vise for a holding tool for the bottle.

Step 3: Harvest the Filament.

Ideally I would make my own  but I chose o harvest a filament form a 40 W light bulb.

Wrap the bulb with a paper towel and gently tap with a hammer. Increase the force until the bulb breaks. If the filament breaks, begin again.

Trim all the connection points until the filament is free and supported by 2 sections of bulb wire.

Step 4: Make the Trodes

The electrodes are made from section of Brass.

You will; need 2 section that will place the filament in the center of the bottle.

In this case I welded 4 inch brass rods to 10-24 bolts then to thin steel wires for positioning.

I used a silicone baking sheet to make washers with hole punches.

Mark the bottle for position and weld the filament legs to the brass rods.

Weld the filament to the brass rods ( i brazed but the process is the same.

Assemble the rods by placing a silicone washer on the bolt then feed the entire assemble through the holes on the bottle.

Take care as the filament is delicate. Try to not touch the filament as this will cause premature burn out.

Feed the bolts through the holes on the bottle, align and tighten with the appropriate size nut.

I used a 10-24 nut with another silicone washer and liberal amounts of high -temp silicone.

Tighten the nuts then trim the steel rod off. You should be left with a brass bolt protruding through the base of the bottle. These are the connection points for 110V to power the bulb.

Step 5: The Base

The base is a couple of 2X3 sections left over from another instructable.

You need a stable base that is  larger than the base of your bottle. You will need a hole cut into it to allow the bottle to sit flat

You should have a cord that allows for switching on/off.

Step 6: The Plug

You need to make a stopper for the neck that will allow you to remove the air. The amount of air in the system is directly proportional to the speed of the filament burn out.

The vacuum port is made from a refrigeration schrader adapter brazed to the 5/16 washer.

TIG welding is not possible here so I braze-welded the washer to the adapter. There is a rubber washer for  mating and I used High temp silicone fore the final seal.

The adapter is placed on the neck of the bottle and the rubber/silicone creates an air tight seal. This is important since any air in the system will cause the filament to burn out quickly..

Step 7: Suck Out the Air

You will need to use a vacuum pump to suck out the air. A vacuum cleaner will not work.

Any contaminants will cause problems.

I made sure I had a tight seal and then ran the pump for a 1/2 hour prior to removing the vacuum source.

I tested the bulb under full vacuum by powering the filament with 110V.

The glass turned blue to indicate some contamination in the bottle. Possibly due to residual cleaning supplies.

Step 8: Enjoy

Remove the vacuum source, Seal the system and enjoy the bulb.

The vacuum port can be disguised with a bottle cap to hide the port.

I left it visible to allow for future vacuum since this was an experiment.

Recently my bottle bulb has been lit for over 72 hours straight before the filament burn-out. The glass had some discoloration but the filament was replaceable and I can get up and running in less than 1/2 hour. I suspect that I may have been a vacuum issue.

I want to make my own filament but need some tungsten wire for the experiment.

Yes the bottle did get hot like a standard bulb. No problems just don't kiss it...

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First Prize in the
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Participated in the
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    62 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a very cool instructable. I have some ideas that might help others or might be bogus.

    A refrigerator compressor can be used as a vacuum pump, good enough who knows.

    Old vacuum tubes used to use a getter, this was a ( i think ) a second filament that was deliberately burned out to consume remaining gas, perhaps you could add one.

    Nicrhrome wire from a toaster might make a filament.

    For quite a time edison used carbon filaments. He made them from bamboo that he carbonized by heating.

    2 replies

    Good ideas... Thanks.

    Refrigerator compressors produce good vacuum but I amnot sure if they can get as good as the 2 stage ones like I used. if you have to buy a compressor, for roughly the same price you can get a decent vacuum pump.

    I inadvertently included a getter in this build as part of the filament wires. zirconium is used on the filament leads. check out my second bottle light...

    I use nichrome wires in my glow lamps. They may be too thick to produce more light than heat.


    6 years ago on Step 7

    Was thinking about doing this with a mason jar the second i saw the pic XD


    7 years ago on Step 8

    Nice one, what would happen if I filled the bottle with an inert gas such as Argon instead of using a vacuum pump?

    8 replies

    Depending upon who you talk to the standard bulbs may be charged with Argon. It prolongs the life of the filament.


    also with the right set up and argon, you can turn it into a 'plasma' bottle. I plan on making one this summer to use as a 'lightning in a bottle' stage prop. there is another instructable on here that explains the setup for turning a light bulb into a plasma ball, but I forget the name...


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8

    Argon would be maybe easier than vacuum (assuming you can get some) because it is denser than ambient air, so you would "fill" the bottle with argon gas that would displace the air. Then you could avoid using the schrader valve in the neck if you put the bottle in an argon "tank" stoppered it then screwed on the original bottle cap to finish it off.

    This is an awesome instructable!

    I used to work at a large wine store. they sold bottles of inert gas to fill wine bottles with so as to displace the air and preserve the wine longer. I'm not sure which inert gas it was though... just a thought

    My mom received one of these for Christmas. The one she got says argon right on it.
    Don't know how pure, but it's sure better than plain air.

    Any inert gas should work. (welding supplies).
    It is intended to keep the high heat from causing a reaction between the tungsten and other elements like oxygen, burning it up.
    One might try sealing a burning piece of something (or other chemical reaction) inside to consume all oxygen creating a non-reactive environment.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice one!
    I admit: I didnt read all the comments, but i thought of something:

    You evacuate the bottle. Why not fill it with an inert gas? like CO2?
    Longer lasting (Vacuum will not be hold forever) and simpler to create (since CO2 is heavier than air, simply pour it in the bottle and let the Air escape upwards & out of the bottle). Also a CO2-Cartridge is cheaper than a vacuum-pump (if you have to buy one).

    My 0.02$ :)

    1 reply

    Thank you all who voted and a special thanks to the Judges for selecting my project for this prize.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on winning First Prize in the "Make It Glow" Contest. You got my vote, and I'm not surprised to see you as won of the winners! - Great Job. :D

    1 reply