Zen Bulb




About: I am an automation engineer but I will give anything a go. I don't know if you call if pessimism or just being an engineer, but I look for problems everywhere, then I look for some weird, left field way to s...

I recently ended up in possession of a very large, blown bulb.

I have seen several terrarium and ecosystem projects with old bulbs but I wanted something a little more interactive.


Step 1: Hollow Out the Bulb

I started out by cutting the bottom off of the Edison screw, I hadn't realized that with this being a modern bulb that there would be a bunch of electronics inside.

I needed a larger opening than other projects so I opened the whole base carefully with my knife. I extracted the guts with a needle tip pliers and smashed out the filaments. There are tonnes of tutorials on cleaning out a bulb but one thing is certain, you need to be careful as nobody wants an evening in the hospital with a palm full of broken bulb.

Step 2: Balance Is Integral to Zen...

I is also vital as bulbs are generally rounded!

I had some sticky backed rubber feet. I always use 3 points of contact over 4 as 3 points are self leveling (4 can rock about and is hard to level)

Step 3: Make a Rake

Using some hors d'oeuvre skewers I made up a small wooden rake.

The handle is made of 3 pieces for strength and length to reach the other side of the bulb.

The spikes are the tips of the skewers. I needed to remove the points with my snips and it took some paring with my knife to get the rake through the opening.

Step 4: Fill With Stones and Zen Out

I poured in .5kg of small grey stones I got at the pet shop.

I installed the rake and then combed the stones until I felt relaxed.

I think it looks well on the desk and it looked even better on the window ledge catching the sunlight.

You can fill it with any colored stone or sand you wish and changing the media is as simple as pouring it out and refilling.

Glass Challenge 2017

Runner Up in the
Glass Challenge 2017



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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    im rather amused by this, nice one.


    2 years ago

    I have 3 blown out bulbs right now still in light fixtures. I guess this would be a good time to change them. 2 of them are the curly compact florescent ones. Any ideas for them?

    2 replies
    Left-field Designsmrsmerwin

    Reply 2 years ago

    Only thing I can think of is if they are the curly ones like a birds nest, then I would put them into a flush fitting and use them as a holder for a small plant pot. It would look a little quirky

    mrsmerwinLeft-field Designs

    Reply 2 years ago

    I cannot imagine what you are describing. If you get a chance maybe you can make one and show us. I have never taken apart a light bulb--not even the regular ones. I will have to investigate when I get a chance.


    2 years ago

    When you used the knife to make the opening, did you just poke through the electronic parts area. Can you explain what you did with the knife to make the opening? Thanks.

    1 reply
    Left-field DesignsMISTHULA

    Reply 2 years ago

    Okay, maybe I should have gone into more detail here. The material is quite soft so I was able to trim the back off completely with my knife but left the thread as this is part of the charm. I pulled the circuit board out with the pliers and this left the filaments supported on a glass tube. I carefully smashed out the glass tube with a screw driver and let everything fall into the bulb. I then pulled it all out with the pliers and shook out any remaining shards. I hope that explains it.