Glow in the Dark Light Bulb Night Light (Glo-Bulb)




About: I'm just another person out there trying to get the most out of life. I love to expole the world around me and try to have a good time doing so.

I'm not sure why but I have this fixation on things that light up and projects involving light bulbs (see my oil lamp and record lamp)

Anyway, I think that as the world switched to CFL's its is a shame to throw away all those wonderful light bulbs. After all, the CFL might give light, but it is not a cultural icon like the light bulb. I mean, when was the last time someone got an idea and a CFL appeared above their head? Exactly.

With that said here is another little project I've been playing around with in my head for a while. Its quick and fun. As an added bonus you get to reuse a burned out light bulb and make a novel night light that uses no electricity.

Hope you enjoy.

Step 1: Supplies

Burned Out Light Bulb
Glow in the Dark Paint*
5 Minuet Epoxy (optional, for gluing bulb to base)
Ceramic Light Bulb Fixture

Flat Head Screwdriver
Needle Nose Pliers
Cup of Some Sort

Note: I work heard to make thorough intructables. This includes pictures with notes explaining details. However, if anything is unclear, or you have suggestions please post them up.

*For this instructable I used United Nuclear UltraGlow. Its a bit pricey, but glows pretty good. You can purchase it here (be sure to check out all the other neat stuff they sell)

Step 2: Step One: Hollow the Bulb

This step involves glass, some fragile and some broken. Be safe. Do it over your sink or trash, and sweet the area after you are done. You might also consider wearing gloves

One: Using your screwdriver pry up the metal disk on the bottom of the light bulb

Two: Use your pliers to grasp and pull the metal disk off

Three: Break and remove the black glass cone at the bottom of the bulb. To do this seat a corner of your screwdriver in the hole at the bottom of the bulb and tap the end of the screwdriver with your pliers. Once you've broken the cone, use your pliers to break it more and remove the pieces.

(Step Three is a bit tricky. just be careful and take your time)

Four: Break and remove the internal structures of the bulb. Again, use your screwdriver by seating it against the internals and tapping it with your pliers. Then use your pliers again to break up and remove the sharp glass bits.

Step 3: Step Two: Clean and Paint the Bulb

One: Clean the bulb out but pouring some salt into it and swirling it around. You may have to do this two or three times.

(Note: Obviously you can skip One and Two if your bulb is clear. Also, if you don't have salt handy I'm sure you could get away with using rice or sand or something similar)

Two: Rinse the remaining residue with water. Set bulb on the cup to dry.

Three: Coat the inside of the bulb with a thin coat of paint. To do this squirt a fair amount in (a table spoon more or less) and run it around inside by turning the bulb and tapping it on your hand.

(Note: Its always easier to add paint then to deal with having put too much in)

Four: Set on the glass to allow to dry.

Step 4: Step Three: Mount the Bulb

One: Screw the bulb into the base. If you want you can glue it in by coating the threads with some 5 minuet epoxy.

Step 5: Enjoy!

There you have it! A fun little conversation piece as well as a recycled nightlight that uses zero electricity.

If you make this for some kiddos you might consider mounting it up on the wall out of their reach, or filling the bulb with something (acrylic?) so it does not break as easy.

Participated in the
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest



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    14 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! now i need to get some glow in the dark paint!

    (I didn't even know it exsisted! XD)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Try to put it in hot water, i just did it with glow in the dark sticky tape and it starded to glow. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable, good result, kids would love it. Also, I always love to "sweet an area." lol

    "... and sweet the area after you are done." - from Step 2

    2 replies

    I just want to say that I too have a fascination with what you an put in a little glass bulb. I used to make terrariums in them. I feel better knowing that I am using anything that someone else may call useless.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable. 

    Glow times will vary based on the paint used.  

    Green - 12 hours
    Aqua - 10 hours
    Blue - 6 hours
    Violet - 2 hours
    Yellow - 2 hours
    White - 2 hours
    Red - 15 minutes
    Orange - 15 minutes


    9 years ago on Step 1

     This is an amazing idea!  So brilliant, I love anything glow-in-the-dark!  I need to find some burned out bulbs now!  :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    Good idea, And BTW you spelled hard like heard, on the "note on supplies".

    Good instructible though, nice work.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You might be able to paint the outside if it doesn't get too hot, and when the bulb is turned off, it glows for a while.........