Make a Lamp From a Bottle





Introduction: Make a Lamp From a Bottle

About: Becky Stern is a content creator at Autodesk/Instructables. She has authored hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. Before joining Instructables, Becky worked for MAKE Maga...

Using part from the hardware store, you can make a lamp out of an old bottle for about ten bucks.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

You will need:
-a suitable bottle:
I used a champagne-like bottle from the Brooklyn Brewery's delicious refermented brew, Local One. Use any bottle you like, so long as it's heavy enough to balance your lamp hardware.
-lamp hardware:
I bought a package at Home Depot with all the parts, but you can easily gather them: a stabilizing plug to fit your bottle opening (rubber stopper) with a hole in the middle, a short section of threaded bar to fit inside the stopper, a basic bulb socket with cap, switch, and shell, some electrical wire, and a wall plug.
-lamp harp to support shade
-wingnut to secure shade to harp

-utility knife
-small phillips head screwdriver

Step 2: Plug the Bottle

Adjust the size of your rubber stopper to fit in your bottle. I did this by shaving off the sides with a utility knife until it fit. Place the threaded rod through the stopper with about 1/4 inch protruding, and fit the assembly into the bottle. I then shaved down the remaining stopper to make it flush.

Step 3: Wire the Lamp

Place the harp base and socket cap on the threaded rod, and tighten down the socket cap with your screwdriver. Then thread your electrical wire through the hole in the cap, and tie a "underwriter's knot." (See image.) wrap the stripped ends of your wire around the terminal screws on the socket and tighten them down. Then slide the paper-lined socket shell down over the whole thing, and clip the socket assembly into the socket cap. There are little teeth that lock in to the cap's grooves, so just rock it back and forth until it clicks and is steady.

Step 4: Add Bulb and Shade

Screw in your bulb, add the top of the harp and the shade, and plug 'er in! If there aren't any sparks, you've wired it correctly and without any shorts. Flip the switch and bask in the glow!



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18 Discussions

a few Arizona bottle lamps, note the cool bulbs! Hanson's also had a series of Native American labels for their soft drink bottles, I have yet to make any lamps but I will fill them with colored sand layers since they are clear glass.

C:\Documents and Settings\Wildcat\My Documents\Arizona lamps 2.jpg
1 reply

You could use a bottle for burning incense, it already has a hole in it.

Well done, except for the cord running outside. Why not run it inside and drill a hole at the bottom. I would be surprised if HD didn't have a drill bit which would work. Otherwise a nice Instructable. I too would go with a larger wine, champagne bottle.

3 replies

Thanks for the comment. The particular threaded rod I used wasn't wide enough for the electrical cord to pass through, plus I wanted to do it with minimal tools for a quick afternoon project. I agree that it would be cooler with a hole at the bottom. The most recent issue of CRAFT magazine has an article about how to do this process, including the hole at the bottom of the glass drilled with a masonry bit.

It's easy. Just get a 1/2 inch diamond drill bit from HD. Run water over the bottle while you are drilling to keep it cool and keep it from breaking. When you start drilling, drill at an angle to make a "GROOVE". (Keeps it from slipping on the bottle). Once the groove is started, you can drill straight down and make a hole. Just make sure to keep water flowing so it doesnt get hot. Hope this helps.

OH.. and while drilling.. let the drill do the work. It may take 10 minutes depending on the bottle, but there will be less of a chance of the bottle breaking.

Has anyone drilled out the bottom of a bottle? Would a ceramic drill bit work? I have large olive oil bottles with bubbles in the glass and these would make great lamps, especially if i could figure out how to put another small wattage bulb inside.

1 reply

carbide or - even better - diamond drill bits will cut it. Be careful and don't put too much pressure on the drill and break the glass and make sure it's held securely before you begin also. Go to a supply house like,, or other local supply chain for industry Most of the machine shops around you have some idea of where you can get them .

I used the 'Arizona' bottles and put sand in the bottoms to keep them from tipping over. I stenciled the shades and added a bulb. I sold these in a local craft store and after expenses I made $4. profit on each one.

1 reply

My son made one from a Grand Marnier bottle - short and squat and quite stable - and added a funky shade from Target. After seeing similar lamps at a local French restaurant, he just had to have one for his dorm room for "mood lighting"!

1 reply

This is an awesome instructable!!!! i am making one right now!!!!! great job on this 1!!

I find that champagne and other larger-scale bottles are weighted better for this application. A top-heavy lamp is a fire hazard, especially with a cat in the house. This bottle is also at a good height for most desk tasks, where most soda bottles are just too short.