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Great ideas for reusing used light bulbs

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
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Light bulbs can be reused or upcycled to create many different kinds of things for the home. The delicately curved shape of the glass and its convenient size makes it extremely versatile. However, before you use the old light bulb for anything, you need to empty it out first. To empty out a light bulb, you will need some common tools such as a screwdriver and needle nose pliers. Most importantly, never use a fluorescent bulb for this DIY project as the powder used to coat the inside is made from phosphor and is quite toxic. 

Make sure you use eye protection because you will be working with glass. Using gloves is a good idea too, and prepare a towel to wrap around the light bulb while you're handling it just in case it breaks. To get started, grip the solder point at the end of the light bulb with the pliers and give it a good twist. This will free the brass contact. Next, carefully crack the glass insulator, but be very careful as the pieces are razor sharp and can get into almost anything. Then, use the screwdriver to break the fill tube and shake the filament out of the tube. 

Finally, the bulb needs a bit of cleaning. There is a layer of kaolin powder inside the light bulb which needs to be cleaned, and although it is non-toxic, avoid close contact near food or your mouth and eyes. To clean the inside of the bulb, just use some toilet paper, but be very gentle and careful as there might be tiny bits of broken glass inside. Put some salt in the bulb and shake it around a bit to scour the powder off the walls of the bulb. Now, your light bulb is finally ready and can be used to beautify your home with a few more simple materials. 

Let's browse the great ideas for reusing/upcycling used light bulbs shall we?

Decorative ornaments for children

Decorative ornaments for children can be made out of old light bulbs and a little creativity. For example, you can create a hot air balloon out of a light bulb as it has the perfect shape. Just wrap the bulb with some fabric and hang some passengers on a basket below. 

You can also paint the light bulbs or wrap them with colourful paper and hang them in the children's room. Use a branch like the one in the picture to enhance your decoration. 

As a terrarium

Hollowed out light bulbs can make great terrariums or little planters for a tiny indoor garden such as the one pictured here. Terrariums are a great way of adding some green and tranquility to small spaces such as the desk or dining table. The terrarium in the picture features a climber climbing a rock. You can include whatever you like to your terrarium to make it more personal.

The good thing about using empty light bulbs as terrariums is they have a unique shape and can be hung by their ends too. You can also stabilize it on a hard surface by using mounting it on some sculpted wire. 

For Christmas decorations/baubles for the tree

modern  by Vinyl Impression, Modern
Vinyl Impression

Christmas bauble wall sticker decoration.

Vinyl Impression

Light bulbs happen to be the perfect shape for making Christmas baubles and decorations for the tree. All you need is some spray paint, glitter and a nylon string to hang it on the tree. Just spray the light bulb and sprinkle some glitter on it. It will look just as good as store bought Christmas decorations, plus it will be a great DIY project for the whole family to get into the Christmas spirit and do something together. 


Kitchen decoration Modern kitchen by In:Style Direct Modern
In:Style Direct

Kitchen decoration

In:Style Direct

Old light bulbs can make unique mini vases. You can mount the bulb onto a sculpted piece of wire to balance it on the table properly. Use delicate flowers and leaves so as not to disrupt the fragile balance of your new vase. Leave the bulb plain or spice it up by painting it or attaching beads to it to fit the look or style you're trying to create.The possibilities are endless. 

The kitchen decoration pictured here is the work of In:Style Direct, interior designers and decorators in London, United Kingdom. 

Snow globes

modern  by Vinyl Impression, Modern
Vinyl Impression

Snowflake Christmas decoration window stickers

Vinyl Impression

Light bulbs can make beautiful snow globes. Just put a figurine of your choice inside the light bulb and attach it to the bulb securely. Next, put some glitter and other confetti pieces inside it to create the snow globe effect.This can make a wonderful and special gift for someone. It can also be used as a hanging window decoration, or simply placed on a shelf. 

Browse through decoration ideas here on homify for more inspiration. 

Oil lamps

Add a contemporary twist to the usual traditional Indian decoration with oil lamps by using a light bulb as an oil lamp instead. You can even fill it up with colourful oil to make it more funky. The tricky part is finding a way to balance it properly though. One way is to shape wire and use it hold the bulb in place and balance it on the surface as well. 


Light bulbs can make all sorts of containers. You can make unique salt and pepper shakers out of them, or even use them to package gifts and romantic love messages to your partner. They can hold jewelry, keys, and a myriad of other things. Just be careful as these containers are also very fragile. 

We hope you enjoyed this idea guide as much as we have. For more inspiration and ideas, have a look at a modern home with luxurious charm

Did you enjoy this idea guide? Let us know in your comments below. 
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