How to dip lightbulbs in silicone

Written by megan shoop | 13/05/2017
How to dip lightbulbs in silicone
Dip small light bulbs in silicone to soften their glare. (five light bulbs image by timur1970 from

Silicone-dipped light bulbs feature a rubbery, outer coating that is smooth or rippled. The coating diffuses the light, creating a flame-like glow instead of the glare typically lessened with a lampshade. This technique often is used on faux candles, making them perfect for windowsill or festive decorations. You also can add these light bulbs to metal lanterns and chandeliers, as long as they take regular light bulbs. There is no need to buy these decorative bulbs; you can dip light bulbs in silicone yourself for a few pounds.

Put on your rubber gloves. Use the scissors to snip a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) off of the tapered tip of your silicone tube. Squeeze the tube slowly and firmly, directing the silicone into a deep, plastic bowl. The silicone should flow easily but be fairly thick. Let the silicone settle for about five minutes to avoid bubbles.

Nip as many 15 cm (6 inch) pieces of craft wire as you have light bulbs. Wrap 7.5 cm (3 inches) of wire around the base of each bulb and bend the other 7.5 cm (3 inches) into a hook. This allows you to hang them up later.

Grip a light bulb by its wire-covered base, not the wire hook, and push it slowly into the silicone. For a smooth finish, pull the bulb up slowly and straight. For a textured finish, twist the bulb about 90 degrees to the left or right as you remove it from the silicone. Either way, the resulting coat of silicone should have a long, tapered tip.

Hang the bulbs up by their wire hooks from empty hangers or an indoor clothesline. Cure for about 48 hours before using them.

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Clear, outdoor-caulking silicone
  • Deep, plastic bowl
  • Wire nips
  • 20-gauge craft wire
  • 5-watt light bulbs

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