quickie project: bottle lamp making

When you're itching for some DIY action, but ain't got the time or resources: make a bottle lamp!

If you're like me, you must have a house full of glassware. I have a tendency to collect jars, bottles, and anything shiny and pretty, even though I don't even have a way to use them all. A few years ago, I got this bottle of shower gel, and I've kept the glass ever since. The only time I'd actually used it was for wedding flowers; fortunately, no one took it home with them at the wedding reception! I like it for its simplicity and delicate printing.

I won't write a complete how-to, because assembly is actually quite simple. Instructions are bountiful on the web and on the hardware packaging themselves. Basic lighting hardware is easy to find and inexpensive:

  • Go to Home Depot or similar.
  • If your bottle neck is wide and you can fit a standard size socket, get this "Make-a-lamp Kit".
  • If your bottle neck is narrow, then you should use a candelabra size socket. Get a candelabra socket + electrical cord with plug, and maybe some rubber bands.
  • And a roll of electrical tape while you're at it.
  • A pretty lampshade. You can either use the clip on kind that clips onto the bulb, or add a harp to use a regular lampshade. Be aware that the socket+bulb will make your lamp taller than just the bottle, so get an appropriately sized shade.

Assemble the socket according to instructions on the packaging. Basically, take the neutral wire (the one that runs from the 'fatter' plug) and connect it to the silver screw on the socket using a screwdriver. Then, take the other wire and connect it to the gold screw. Here's a site that describes it pretty well.

If you're using the kit, then all the instructions should be on it already. If you're using the candelabra socket, then squeeze the socket into the bottle opening. You might have to readjust the wire positioning to allow it to hang out. Tie rubber bands around the socket to create a cork-like stopper to hold it in place. BE SURE to cover all exposed wire and metal parts of the socket with electrical tape, if there is anything exposed.

Ta da! Took less than thirty minutes. The hard part was figuring out which bottle to use and finding a nice lampshade.

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