Concrete Light Bulb Coat Rack W/ Reclaimed Wood




About: My Grandpa got me into wood working when I was five years old. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love creating something out of nothing, making something old new or using trash to make something beautifu...

We have lived in our house for five years now, and for five years we have had this awful coat rack in our basement hallway. It has these old wire hooks that will buckle under the slightest pressure. If you do by chance get one of your coats to stay up, as soon as you brush by it on your way down the stairs it will come tumbling down along with the rest of the hanging coats.
I don't know how or why I chose to live with this for so long but today is the day I do something about it!

Because I am who I am, I wanted to do something different. Something that is strong enough to hold a good number of coats and looks pleasing to the eye. So I came up with these awesome concrete light bulbs on reclaimed apple bin wood.
When I started this project I really thought that I found something new to instructables, but after I did some researching, I found someone who had already done concrete light bulbs. You can find anything on this site. We did things a little different but if you want another approach you can look at whamodyne's page to see how he did it.
I had a a lot of fun with this project and I hope you like it. Enjoy

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Step 1: What You Need

Burnt out light bulbs

Needle nose pliers

Small pick


Lag screw

Miter saw


Brad nailer


Step 2: The Light Bulb

To dismantle your light bulb start by holding it upside down and use a pair of needle nose pliers to peal back the small metal piece on the bottom. Next insert your small pick in to the opening and start to break the black glass insulator. You can do this by prying your pick back and fourth cracking the glass.

Then you will have to get all of the junk out of the middle. Use your pick to break apart the interior element and then ream out the hole.
Make sure that all of the pieces are out of the bulb and you can start to fill it up.

Step 3: Concrete

There are a lot of different ways to accomplish this next step. You want the concrete to be the right consistently depending on how you want your bulbs to look. The first one that I did had a very runny or thin mixture. This made it very easy to pour into the bulb but the end result wasn't as nice as some of the others.

It seems that the dryer the concrete. The shinier the finish. I tried with all different mixtures and they all have pros and cons. Try a few for yourself and see which ones you like.

Step 4: Set Your Screws

I used a 5/16 by 3in lag screw as my anchors. When the concrete was more runny, I used a piece of cardboard to hold the lag upright and straight.

Make sure that when you fill the bulb up with cement you fill it all the way to the top. I had one that settled a bit and when I went to break the glass the metal end fell off the bulb.
Let the Concrete dry for at least three days and then you can start to break some glass.

Step 5: Break Some Glass

I used a small punch to break the bulb. Lightly tap on the bulb to crack the glass. You don't want to hit it to hard and crack some of the cement underneath.

You will want to do this over a garbage because it will be a mess. Also please use safety glasses. Once you start, the glass falls off pretty easily. Make sure that there aren't any small fragments stuck to it and you can move to the end.
The little bits that are stuck to the inside of the metal are the hardest ones to get. Use a small pick or screwdriver to pry them out but be careful not to cut yourself.
Now you have some amazing concrete light bulbs and you can work on something to hang them on.

Step 6: The Shelf

For the shelf I used apple bin boards. These boards come from 26 bushel Apple bins that we use at out families apple orchard. In order for these bins to hold up for years of abuse, they are made out of solid oak. When the wood bins get to damaged to use, we take off all of the useable wood and use it for all sorts of projects.

The bin that I am using was from 1978(we date all of our bins) so that means the boards are 37 years old and have hauled tens of thousands of bushels of apples. Pretty cool that these boards are still so nice after all that time.

Not very many people have access to wood Apple bins but pallet would wood work great too.

First I removed all the nails so I could send it through the planer. I use a small punch to pound the nails out. Then grab the head of the nail with a hammer and pull them out.
I ran the two boards through the planer because the boards were pretty rough. A few passes and the wood looks brand new.
I wanted to have some rustic looking edges but I did run two sides through the jointer so the boards would sit flush on each other.
When the boards are ready, I used a brad nailer to secure the pieces together.

Step 7: Drill and Screw

I put two coats of semi gloss polyurethane on the self and then drilled some pilot holes for the lags. I used a drill bit that was about half the size of the lag. After the holes have been drilled you can screw the bulbs in by hand. Once you've done that, you have an awesome light bulb coat rack.

Step 8: Awesome

This has been one of my favorite projects so far. I hung it up and it works great. The bulbs make strong hooks the hold a lot of coats. It was not a hard or complicated project and I think that just about anyone could do it.

Thank you for looking at my project and I hope that you have enjoyed it!!

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56 Discussions


2 years ago

I finally got several burnt out bulbs. I have cleaned out the insides. Should I coat the inside with anything to make the glass removal easier?

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

I'm sure that is wouldn't hurt to use a thin lubricant to coat the inside of the bulb but I did not. When it came time to break the bulb, it came off very easy. I would love to see a pic when you are done.


4 years ago on Introduction easy is it to remove and hollow out top without breaking bulb..we are lucky here in new zealand we still sell the old bulbs so i have plenty to try...cheers vicki

3 replies

Reply 4 years ago

It's really quite easy. I only broke one before I got the hang of it. Hopeful my steps are adequate. Good luck


Reply 3 years ago

Use RockTite anchor cement. Dries faster, smoother and stronger


4 years ago on Step 5

Love it! Just thought of a slight variation, not sure what you could pour in that could be a little rubbery, but this same thing could be a door stop. Screw it into the baseboard and would keep the doorknob from hitting the wall.

3 replies

Reply 3 years ago

You can purchase 2 part casting silicone. Polytek is one brand. I've used them for making candle molds with great results.


Reply 4 years ago

That is an awesome idea and I think I'll have to try it! I think a silicone chalk would work great for that and maybe you could even dye it like Pepe did.


4 years ago on Introduction

Fabulous! I too made these from an instructable years ago. Check the image on this page 3rd row down, right hand end. I used a casting grade plaster of Paris with a Polymer mic and the result is almost like stone. Very hard and very smooth. I did all the internal door handles as well as the coat hooks. The bayonette bulbs we have in the UK are much harder to empty out than the edison screw type.


4 years ago on Introduction

I made a few of these light bulbs (inspired by another instructable!) and found that 1) using RapidSet Cementall worked the best. Also tapping the bulb with your fingers right after pouring will eliminate almost all the air bubbles (much tapping!). It'll be 2-3 days of sitting in the sun before the center dries completely so wait a bit if you want to paint it or it will bleed a little powdery mortar right up through the paint.


4 years ago on Introduction

Thank god,
because the abstract lightbulbs were'nt illuminating a damn thing
: D

Just kidding, I love these!


4 years ago on Introduction

Cool project. Ooo, what about dipping them in plasti-coat at the end? Hmmm.


Reply 4 years ago

I liked the look of that too. I made the decision to break it off so you could feel the cement. Thanks for the comment


This turned out really awesome! What a great idea (light bulbs and all). I might have to try something like this out.