How to Make a Recycled Lightbulb/Light Bulb Flower Vase Tutorial
Recycled Craft - How to Make Lightbulb Bud Vases
Light bulb bud vases have been popping up all over the Internet, but they are all designed for fresh floral arrangements. I love live flowers, but I do not have the time to look after and replace them. To bring the fun and beauty of recycled light blub flower vases home, but without the falling petals and stagnant water, I devised a way to make more permanent recycled light bulb flower vases. Like all of my projects, I tried to the least equipment-intensive method possible so you can replicate my results at home without stocking up on specialty tools.
Supplies for Making Light Bulb Vases
Materials Needed to Make Light Bulb Bud Vases
Before starting any project, you need to assemble your materials. You need:
- Clear light bulbs (preferably ones that have already seen use in a light fixture!)
- Artificial flowers
- Acrylic water
- Tweezers or needle nose pliers
- Regular pliers
- A large nail
- A hammer
- Ribbon or wire.
You should also wear at least eye protection, and, preferably, gloves, too. You may also want to get colored glass pieces, marbles or pebbles to put in the bottoms of the "vases." I bought the pictured acrylic water at a local craft store because I had seen it used before and knew it produced fairly realistic results, but I am sure there are other high-quality brands out there, too.
How to Make Light Bulb Flower Vases
First, you need to remove the metal piece at the bottom of the base. Simply bend it up a little, grab it with the pliers and remove.
Hit the black glass at the base of the bulb until it cracks. This glass is sturdy, so the process may take a minute. You can speed up the process by sticking a nail in the center hole of the glass after it cracks and wiggling the nail around to loosen broken glass bits.
Break the Inner Glass and Filament
After removing the black glass cap, you must break the inner glass tube and filament. I used one of the scissors blades to do the job. This also takes some work. Light bulbs are not as fragile as we like to think! Then, use a pair of tweezers to reach down in the bulb and grab a filament wire to remove it. The piece of glass between the wires may be larger than the mouth of the bulb, so you might have to break it up, too. This is why eye protection is really important!
Make Holes in the Light Bulb's Rim
Next, put holes in the bulb's rim. Make two, opposing holes. I did this by driving the point of a nail through the metal with a hammer, but you could use a small awl, ice pick or something else convenient. Make sure the holes are in the upper lip of the metal, on the flat, smooth part. The threaded portion of the metal is covering the upper portion of the light bulb, which makes it unsuitable for these holes.
Prepare the Flowers
Then, rinse out the bulbs and set them to dry. I do not recommend trying to use paper towels to dry the bulbs more quickly because paper towels are likely to leave unsightly lint inside the bulb.
While the bulbs dry, prepare your flowers by cutting them to more manageable lengths and test-fitting them into one of the bulbs. It is important to have all your flowers ready to use before mixing the acrylic water.
How to use Acrylic Water
After the bulbs are dry, mix the acrylic water according to manufacturer's instructions. Acrylic water is typically a two-part system that requires you to mix the contents of two different bottles.
Carefully pour the water into the bulbs. I found that an old light bulb box made the perfect stand for bulbs I was filling. The bulbs were held steady and level, and both of my hands were free for pouring.
Arrange the Flowers
Finally it's time to arrange those flowers! Just put them in however you want. Then, thread your ribbon or wire through the holes in the bulb's rim. I pulled the ribbon through with my tweezers and then tied a small square knot in the middle. Because of the possibility of a small knot slipping, and how bad a large knot could look, I don't recommend knotting each end individually.
Hang the Bulb Vases
All that stands between you and finishing the project is a day or two of waiting for the acrylic water to dry. If at all possible, you should hang the bulbs to let them dry. This way, the 'water' can dry in a realistic position. You can carefully move the bulbs to hang wherever you want them in your home, or you can create a temporary hanging spot near your work area by using thumbtacks. After hanging them, make sure you like the way the flowers are arranged and how they bulbs are hanging. If you need to rearrange the flowers or adjust the ribbon, now is the time to do it.
If you are looking for something a little bigger, round vanity bulbs could make great vases for larger flowers, like roses. You could also use different types of artificial greenery to create decorations for any time of year. How cute would it be to make those 'candle' bulbs in to Christmas decorations for your mantelpiece?
I hope you enjoy this tutorial and, if you decide to make them, yourself, please don't forget the eye protection and remember to have fun!