How to Convert Bottles Into a Light Fixture

Written by deborah stephenson
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Ah, the ubiquitous bottle---in our disposable society they are quite literally everywhere, and far too often a major component of landfills. We can reprocess them the usual way, by carting them to our local recycling centres, where they accumulate along with millions more, until hauled away to be melted down and reshaped into yet more bottles, or we can choose to be creative and turn them into something useful--like lamps.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bottle or mason jar
  • Pebbles, marbles, sand or steel shot
  • Lamp kit (for wine bottle or mason jar)
  • Utility knife (optional)
  • Light bulb
  • Lamp shade (clamp-on style)
  • Filler objects (optional)

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  1. 1

    Select a bottle. Wine bottles make interesting lamps but can overturn easily unless weighted, so fill tall, narrow bottles with pebbles, marbles, sand or steel shot to counter top-heaviness.

  2. 2

    Open your lamp kit and find the cork or rubber stopper that is best suited for your particular bottle. Kits usually come with two or three sizes, standardised to fit most bottle necks, but you can shave one down to size with a utility knife if necessary.

  3. 3

    Push the pre-wired, pre-assembled socket through the cork and insert cork directly into the neck of the bottle.

  4. 4

    Screw in light bulb, and top with a clamp-style lampshade. Plug in and use.

  5. 5

    Use a mason jar filled with interesting objects or collectibles as an alternative to a wine bottle. You can create interesting children's lamps using small toys, puzzles or coloured marbles, or try this idea from Jane Lake: "Layered soup mixes are very pretty and look attractive displayed in the kitchen. Why not use one as the base for a jar lamp? For a very easy version, simply fill with tricolour pasta, rice or dried beans."

  6. 6

    Fill the jar as desired and screw on the pre-wired and pre-assembled mason jar lamp socket (adapted to screw on like an ordinary lid).

  7. 7

    Add light bulb and clamp-style lampshade as before. Plug in and use.

Tips and warnings

  • Add a night light to your bottle by dropping a few battery-powered LED lights mixed with clear marbles into the base. You will have to uncork the bottle and remove them to turn them off, but it is worth it for parties or other special occasions.
  • Always use UL-listed electrical parts for safety.

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