How to colour light bulbs

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Coloured light bulbs add a special ambience to any occasion, whether you randomly hang them outside in the garden or illuminate a room with a soft, colourful glow. You can colour light bulbs yourself with the right materials and a little creativity. Make a series of multi-coloured spheres to enhance your next party, or hand-paint scenes on light bulbs and present them as gifts for a custom look.

Buy hard glass paint from an arts and craft shop or online supplier. Regular acrylic paint won't stand up to the heat from the light bulb, so you must buy glass paint that can be baked in the oven. Read the manufacturer's instructions on the glass paint to ensure that you select the correct type. Glass paint made for crockery and glassware must be baked to set the paint and keep it from washing off or chipping away with use.

Find clear light bulbs that suit your purposes. You can paint on a white light bulb, but the transparency of the clear bulb allows the colours of the paint to remain true.

Clamp the base of the light bulb to the table so that it stands up freely. If you don't have a clamp, you can brace the bulb and paint one side at a time, rolling it after the paint dries.

Paint the light bulb in whatever colour you want. Glass paints can be mixed together to create shades of colour that are not sold separately. For painted scenes, paint the background first in whatever colour you choose, then layer the scenery as you would for any painting. You can choose to use small stencils to create patterns and objects if you're not adept at freehand painting.

Let the paint dry and then bake the coloured light bulbs in the oven according to the manufacturer's directions. This will dry the paint evenly before you use them in your lamps.

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