How to Hollow Out a Lightbulb

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A light bulb does not lose all usefulness just because it no longer lights. Hollowed out light bulbs can be used to carry water and act as a beaker in a science experiment, provide a casement for art project and offer a sea monkey some very unique living accommodations. With a little care and a gentle touch, hollowing out a light bulb and placing it on a stand is as easy as following the steps below.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulb
  • Screwdriver
  • wire cutters
  • Wire
  • Duct tape
  • Drill
  • Wood block
  • Wire hanger
  • Salt
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Use the needle nose pliers to grip and twist the point of solder on the very base of the light bulb. Twisting this should free the brass contact and simultaneously break the fine wire leading to the filament area.

  • Crack the glass insulator on the base of the bulb (using extreme caution and wearing protective gloves and goggles) until you have a clear entryway into the interior of the bulb. It should be clearly visible once you have removed the solder. Discard of all glass pieces and shards safely.

  • Place a screwdriver into the now open end of the light bulb and use it to break the fill tube inside. The fill tube is a small glass tube that could be useful in later projects.

  • Shake remaining interior pieces out of the light bulb onto a newspaper or other scrap waste to discard. Now the light bulb should be completely empty inside.

  • Clean the bulb interior by pouring in a little kaolin powder (available at pharmacists or online). Be sure to keep the powder away from food, drink and your mouth. Shake the bulb gently to distribute the kaolin around the surface of the interior.

  • Insert a clean cotton tissue into the bulb to wipe away the remaining powder and make the inside sparkle. If there are stubborn pieces of dirt and debris, sprinkle a little coarse salt inside and shake again.

  • Attach to a hook and wire for hanging or use a wood base, a small metal pole and a hanging hook for a more finished look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Caution needs to be taken when handling the glass to ensure that you do not cut yourself.
  • Do not use a fluorescent bulb for this project because the white powder used to make the bulbs are dangerous and toxic.

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