Day 61: Lightbulb Terrarium



Supplies: Lightbulb (must be incandescent because florescent bulbs have mercury!), wire cutters, knitting needle, dirt, greenery, rocks, other terrarium things.  NOTE: Check out the original tutorial here for a list of the tools you should probably use.  I just listed the tools I used and they worked for me!

Not all supplies are in this picture- shame on me!

Time: 20 minutes tops

Lightbulb vases and terrariums seem to be all over the internet craft universe lately!  In fact, a day or two after I bought the bulb for this project Craftgawker reposted an old lightbulb vase picture.  Weird!  Since I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on pliers this week and I returned my dad’s pair, I settled for his wire cutters I have not yet returned.  I also used the back of a paring knife and a knitting needle.  I used the back of the paring knife to bend the metal contact at the bottom of the bulb, grabbed the bent part with the wire cutters, and pulled it off.  It comes off a lot more easily than I would have thought.

No more metal. This bulb is officially a dud.

Did you know the black part at the bottom of a light bulb is glass?  You probably did, but I had no idea until I read the tutorial!  The next step is to break that glass, preferably without breaking the bulb (which I didn’t do, by the way).  I tried tapping it with a hammer, but it’s pretty thick glass and the impact was too spread out.  I whacked the glass with the side of the wire cutters and that worked nicely.  It weakened that glass for me.  Then I got a smaller knitting needle and wedged it in the hole in the glass, which broke the glass all the way.


I also didn’t want to buy protective gloves or go outside, so I held the bulb inside a plastic bag to catch the broken glass.  I was lucky enough not to cut my hands, but it’s probably not a bad idea to use protective gloves.

The next part is trickiest.  You have to break the inside glass tube and get it out along with the wires.  I stuck the knitting needle into the tube and jabbed at it until it broke and then wiggled things around until I could get the glass out with the wire cutters.  Pliers would have been better here, but I did it without them!

A bulb is round.  You’ve probably noticed that round things tend to roll around.  For that reason I added a few feet to the bulb to make it stand.  Good old hot glue came to the rescue today.  Three dots on the bottom (I actually used the side as the bottom- you can decide how you want your bulb to stand) and I had a nice stable bulb.

That’s all the hardware stuff.  Now you get to decorate.  Add sand, dirt, greenery, whatever you want to make a little terrarium.  I just used a little dirt and grass for now, but I’m on the lookout for something prettier.  And I absolutely need to find a small plastic creature to put in there!

Anyone know where I can get an air fern?  I really like this project.  It’s such a nice way to bring the outdoors in without having to maintain plants.  I’d rather keep a cute cat alive than a plant that doesn’t even sleep on my bed.  Have fun making terrariums out of all kinds of glass things!













2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Day 101: Lightbulb Candle « Daily Craft Project

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