DIY Light Bulb Bugs

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About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

Intro: DIY Light Bulb Bugs

So in this Instructable I'll be explaining the very simple steps behind making a bug/insect/otherworldly creature by recycling a light bulb.

I guess most people will have a dead and broken light bulb lying around, and this project can use any shape of light bulb....in fact, the shape will no doubt give you inspiration for the type of creature you want to create.

Read on to find out more...

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Very little is needed for this project, depending on how adventurous you go with it.

You'll need:

- A light bulb

- Wire; I used 1.5mm black aluminium craft wire that is cheap and easy to shape

- Wire cutters

- Round nosed pliers; I used my set of jewellery pliers

- A plan; you can of course follow my plan, or you can make a design completely of your own, but it's important to have the design in mind before you start!

Step 2: First Pair of Legs

First straighten the wire between your fingers before you use it. It's really easy to do this with aluminium craft wire, but if you're using a different kind of wire you might be better using pliers to help you.

Then you wrap a length of the wire around the metal section of the light bulb.

Wrap it once around, and then some, to get the 'legs' sticking out in the same direction. If you wrap tight enough and get the wire in the grooves, you shouldn't need to add glue at all in this project.

The length of wire you use depends on the leg length you want, but the straight 'legs' on mine were around 15cm (6") long each.

You then follow the photos to bend the wire backwards towards the glass bulb, so they lie horizontal, then bend the legs downwards part way along. Not straight downwards, but angled a bit backwards for stability.

You can then use your round nose pliers to make a spiral on the ends of the legs for the feet.

Step 3: The Second Pair of Legs

You then repeat the previous step where you wrap the wire around the metal grooves to form two more 'legs'.

The length of wire should be the same as what you used for the first pair of legs. These legs, however, will be bent outwards and forwards, before being bent downwards.

Then add the little spirally feet :)

At this point you will need to put the bug down on a flat surface to make sure it balances on the 4 feet. If it doesn't you'll have to change the position of the wires until it does.

Step 4: Spiral Feelers

I do like my spirals don't I?

For the last step, I once again wrapped a section of wire around the metal part of the bulb. I had to wrap this wire on top of other wire because I'd run out of grooves to use.

This wire used for this section can be a little shorter than the legs, and then you simply use your pliers to make a big spiral facing forwards. Check that these don't overbalance your bug, and if they do you will need to put the front legs more forwards or put the 'feelers' further back.

Step 5: Finished!

And here is a photo of my light bulb bug being chased by a baby Tapir. Just because.

And that's it, you've finished!

There are all kinds of variations you can do of course, including:

- Using different thicknesses and colours of wire

- Basing the design on a different type of insect, or making your own mythical creature

- Adding paint, beads, paper or fabric decoupage...or other embellishments

- Adding wings

- Making it from weatherproof materials, attaching it to a thick wire 'stake' and putting it in a flower bed/plant pot

- Make a flying bug and hanging it from the ceiling

- Adding LEDs to make the bug glow (thanks to commenters for this suggestion!)

Step 6: Video

I made a spider design too, which you can see how I made in this video :)

Glass Challenge 2017

Grand Prize in the
Glass Challenge 2017

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26 Discussions

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IsabelleJ1

1 year ago

i'd like to fill up the bulb with glitter, beads, ... is there a safe way to open a bulb and to use it as a container, for a sparklier bug's belly?

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Roddy ScottIsabelleJ1

Reply 1 year ago

IsabelleJ1,

if you go here - https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Tesla-Meets-Edison-Nixie-Clock/ - I show how to safely dismantle a light bulb for inserting anything you want.

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Tuomas SoikkeliIsabelleJ1

Reply 1 year ago

I have opened some. Usually there's glass under the metal. So you need to drill or sand hole through the glass. I have used dremel with cut off wheel to cut metal layer of, then removed the glass with diamond tip. Easy task if you have dremel. Of course you can try to crack glass with pliers too, but sometimes whole bulb cracks. But it can be done without dremel too. Gently press threaded part with pliers from every side so that glass under it brakes, then cut the metal with hacksaw. Works sometimes. Of course there might be better options too.

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IsabelleJ1Tuomas Soikkeli

Reply 1 year ago

Thank you. I don't have dremel. I like the idea of cracking the glass with pliers, under the metal.

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1dave1IsabelleJ1

Reply 1 year ago

Try drilling threw the end of the bulb (screw in end) the hole can then be glued or re- soldered

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Suki_ete

1 year ago

Congratulations for winning the glass contest!! *:D

1 reply
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JoW45

1 year ago

I love this & was thinking about spraying it with glow in the dark paint.

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jwzumwalt

1 year ago

When I saw this it made me think what a great idea it would be to mount two solar panels that look like wings and you would have a glow bug!

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Ferntoe

1 year ago

Thank you! I'm into jewelry, but you've broken this down to look entirely doable. This may solve my beads in tubes, but because the tubes are funky plastic, I throw away. I try to recycle and your instructions fit the bill! One may perhaps call them Blooming Lumen.

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FernMakes

1 year ago

Thanks everyone! I've thought about adding lights before but haven't got around to it...it would look pretty awesome I think :)

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Tuomas Soikkeli

1 year ago

Funny idea. I think im going to make one with wings and place a led inside it. Then its like a firefly. :) Thanks!

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jreidy1

1 year ago

Really neat!

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SusanH75

1 year ago

cool. It needs to blink on and off like a lightning bug too:)

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Suki_ete

1 year ago

Nice and simple! Great idea! +1 vote from me!! :D

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ThriftStore Hacker

1 year ago

Great project! I may have to make one with LEDs