Less than impressed with your home décor? Rather than spending up a storm at Kmart (we’ve all been there), why not whip up something yourself? The next time one of your lightbulbs gives up the ghost, make like a hoarder and hang onto it.
Breathing new life into your household appliances doesn’t call for a ton of expertise. With a little guidance, anyone can do awesome things with their old lightbulbs.
Here are some bright ideas to get you started.
From hip cafés to inner-city offices, terrariums are popping up all over the place. Whether you want to use flowers, pebbles or succulents, filling an old lightbulb with foliage is a unique way to embrace the terrarium trend.
- Using a needle-nose screwdriver, remove the metal interior from the base of your lightbulb (the part that looks like a metal corkscrew)
- Gently break the glass at the bottom of the lightbulb with a screwdriver (wear gloves and safety glasses to avoid injuring yourself)
- Once you’ve created a large enough hole in the base of your lightbulb, use your needle nose pliers to pull out its internal wiring
- Now that your light bulb is empty, you can go ahead and fill it with tiny pebbles or sand, moss and plants. Use your pliers to rearrange the contents of your terrarium until you’re happy with how it looks. If you’re not sure what type of plant to use, pick up some Tillandsia from your local nursery. These plants are tiny and only need a small amount of air and water to survive
- Place your mini terrarium in the sun and water it once a week with a spray bottle.
If you're not sure where to turn to for terrarium inspiration, the internet is brimming with creative ideas. Just Google it!
If you’re a fan of unconventional décor, turning an old lightbulb into a hanging vase can add a quirky touch to the look and feel of your home. This project is best suited to slightly larger lightbulbs with enough depth to support flower stems. Once you’ve got that, all you’ll need is some twine and a drill.
Here’s how to create a floating vase from an old lightbulb:
- Using the same technique outlined in our mini terrarium guide, create a hole in the base of your lightbulb and remove its internal wiring
- Once your lightbulb is nice and empty, drill a hole in either side of the metal base
- Thread a piece of twine through the holes before tying the ends together in a knot (be sure to use twine that’s strong enough to support the weight of your lightbulb once it’s been filled with water)
- Pop some of your favourite flowers into the lightbulb, fill it with water and hang it from a hook or beam.
Secure your hanging vases to the roof of your patio to create the hippest outdoor area in the neighbourhood
To give your home a warm and welcoming ambience, transform any burnt out lightbulbs you have lying around into cool and contemporary oil lamps. Here’s how:
- After breaking a hole in the base of the lightbulb and pulling out its wiring, glue the top of the bulb to some sort of base so that it’s secured in an upside-down position (this will prevent your oil lamp from toppling over)
- Make a cap for the lamp’s wick by cutting out a circular piece of aluminium from an old soft drink can. Make sure you carefully measure the piece of aluminium so that it sits nice and snug in the base of the lightbulb
- Punch a small hole in the aluminium cap to thread the wick through
- Fill the lightbulb with paraffin oil (but not all the way to the top)
- Thread the wick through the aluminium cap and secure into the base of the lightbulb. A small section of wick should be poking out the top
- Grab some matches and let there be light!
Since they contain flammable materials, lightbulb oil lamps are best suited to environments without pets or small children
Going through more lightbulbs than you’d like?
No matter how much you enjoy upcycling your lightbulbs, burning through too many could be a sign of energy inefficiency.
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