Reuse Lightbulb Glass -Fishbowl




About: I'm currently in college studying everything I can. I work in a makerspace where I've really been able to grow a lot. Keep an eye out for new Instructables on the way! Thanks for checking out my page!

This stunning DIY piece is a great way to get a second use out of your old glass lightbulbs. It's inexpensive, easy to make, and can be used as a centerpiece, an office decoration, or whatever else you can imagine.

Step 1: Materials

This project was inspired by a project given in beginners digital art and photoshop classes where you have to draw a fish in an unexpected place. (the iridescent scales require a lot of consideration to light angles.)

You will need:

An old lightbulb, (not LED)

White polymer clay

Polymer clay color of choice

Translucent polymer clay (optional)

fishing line or transparent jewelry cord

Hot glue or solder

sand, pebbles, or uncolored kitty litter


Colored Cord (Like Jewelry Hemp Cord)


Pliers/wire cutters

Wire (16 gauge or similar)

Water or epoxy resin (optional)

Step 2: Open the Bulb and Clean It

WARNING: wear safety goggles and gloves during this procedure. You will be breaking glass, so make sure you're careful.

Using your pliers, pry off the soldered silver circle on the end of the bulb. When you have, chip away the black glass with the tip of your pliers or a screwdriver.This will be sharp, so be careful. When you're done, chip away the glass tube that goes down into the bulb, being careful not to crack the bulb itself. you might hear a popping sound as the inert gas inside escapes. Shake out the glass into the trash.

The insides of lightbulbs are coated in a chemical to 'frost' them, but it will rinse out of the bulb easily.

Step 3: Sculpt Fish Body

Mix half white and half translucent clay into a teardrop shape.

Step 4: Add Color

Mix your colored clay with some translucent clay and roll it into a paper thin sheet. "Tear" off little jagged pieces and smooth them onto the fish.

Step 5: Add Eyes and Fins

Roll four oval fins from the white/translucent mix and roll a v-shaped tail. Attach them as shown above and smooth the connections with your
X-acto knife. when you're done, push your eyepin into the clay fish as shown.

Step 6: Rocks and Stringing.

Tie your fishing line to your eyepin and put your fish into the bulb. add about 1/2 to 3/4 an inch of pebbles or sand.

Step 7: Put a Ring on It.

Make a loop out of your wire and either solder or glue it to the lightbulb. Attach the other end of the fishing line to the loop.

Step 8: Display

Tie a piece of cord to the ring and hang wherever you want it. You can fill the bulb with water or epoxy resin, but I preferred the look with the bulb dry.

Glass Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Glass Challenge 2017



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    11 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is pretty cool! I think it would look better if you put water in it, though.


    2 years ago

    This look so cool. I want to make one now.


    2 years ago

    Excellent idea!

    Treasure Tabby

    2 years ago

    Its a very nice concept but I would not recommend this for gold fish. Gold fish need lots of oxygen dissolved in water. You get that though an bubble tube, bubble stone, water plants and or filter. Best to have things like beta fish for this since they at least don't need to get their oxygen from the water. They get it from the surface of the water. :)

    2 replies

    At first I also thought they put a real fish in it. My vegan-senses were tingling.
    But if you give the process a once over, you see the fish is fake :)


    2 years ago

    really cute


    2 years ago

    Great idea!