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So you just replaced all your old, inefficient incandescent lights with nifty compact fluorescent bulbs. Good for you! But now what are you going to do with all those old bulbs? Here's an idea: hollow those suckers out and reuse them for all kinds of things. A hollowed-out bulb could be used as a makeshift beaker, fish aquarium, planter, hanging flower vase, or even, dare I say it ... a Sea-Monkey condominium! Before you can make any of these cool items, however, you'll need to learn how to safely hollow out a light bulb.

Before we begin, I should warn you that since we're dealing with glass, you should be extremely careful. Glass is sharp, even when it's a teeny, tiny little piece, so keep track of where the broken pieces fall, and do your best to clean them up. Please don't eat it.

Hollow out a light bulb(click thumbnails to view gallery)

Start with a light bulbStep 1 - Find the brass contactStep 2 - Remove brass contactStep 2 (continued) - Remove brass contactStep 3  - Remove the glass insulator

A light bulb (or nine)

Needle-nose pliers.

Less than ten minutes, but your mileage may vary depending on the cantankerousness of your glass insulator.

Now let's pick up our light bulb and get cracking!

  1. Flip your light bulb over and find the brass contact. It's the little metal piece on top of the glass insulator, which is usually black.
  2. Using your needle-nose pliers, bend the edges of the brass contact, give it a good twist, and pull it out and away from the light bulb.
  3. The next thing we'll need to do is remove the glass insulator. Take time on this step, as the glass is thick and prone to spitting little shards all over the place. I've found that whacking the glass a few times with the flat side of my pliers helps to loosen up the pieces.
  4. Once you've removed the glass insulator, you'll notice that there are still several pieces of glass separating you from the hollow part of the bulb. Open your pliers as far as they will go, and use one end to break the glass tube and the part holding the filament.
  5. Shake the broken pieces out of the bulb, and proceed to use your pliers to clean up any shards that are hanging onto the edge.
  6. To remove the white powder, fill the bulb with water, cover the hole with your thumb, and give it a good shake. You might have to repeat this step several times until you've successfully removed all the white coating from within.
  7. Now that the bulb is clean, you can either let it air dry, or roll up a paper towel and snake it around inside the bulb to soak up any excess moisture.
  8. VOILA! You now have a hollowed-out light bulb ready to be repurposed into something cool.

SAFETY NOTE: You should keep in mind that this is, after all, just a light bulb, so it's not made of the strongest glass in the world. If you don't already have a nice stand to display your bulb, here's an Instructable on how to craft one from a wire clothes hanger. As an added bonus, lids from plastic soda bottles fit snuggly on the end of the bulb.

I used my hollowed-out bulb as a condo for my Sea-Monkeys. Despite their inability to communicate with me, I know they appreciate the change of scenery. I named the big one Swami McSwimmerton.

[ via TeamDroid ]

  • grain of Alt.

    I always thought that this: was a great way to use old lightbulbs as well.

  • 1 Comments / 1 Pages

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