Blog Post Wednesday 30 November 2016
Recycling: we’re guessing you’re all over it when it comes to paper, glass and cans. But there may be something you’re not recycling, which you could be: the humble light bulb.
Here are 10 great ways to recycle your old light bulbs, and make something useful and beautiful in the process.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to upcycle your old light bulbs is to spray them with a metallic paint to match your décor, and then display them inside a glass vase, fishbowl or even an old mason jar. Remember to tape over the metal caps before you start to spray. Choose colours such as gold, silver or bronze to give a glamorous look to any room, or pick something a little funkier, such as metallic pinks, blues and greens.
Sprayed bulbs will also look great hung from your Christmas tree, especially if you choose the smaller, candle shaped bulbs. Add a sprinkling of glitter for the ultimate festive touch.
Even if your light bulb is burnt out, it can still reflect light. Place a candle or tea light at the bottom of a large glass vase and add your old light bulbs. Once lit, the candle’s light will be reflected by the glass of the old bulbs, to create a simple but effective centrepiece for your table or mantle.
Create stunning topiary by arranging light bulbs of different shapes into an opaque container. Spray some bulbs gold or silver, and keep the remainder unpainted. Attach florist’s wire around each cap and then insert the bulbs into the container, building them up into a dome shape. It will be easier to keep the bulbs in place if you insert foam blocks into the container first.
You don’t have to leave the glass showing on your old light bulbs. Give them the rustic treatment instead, and cover them with twine to create light bulb pears. Keep the twine in place by adding spots of glue as you wrap them, and finish off the effect by gluing a small twig to the end of the cap as a stalk. They create an eye-catching display for autumn.
Many light bulb projects use hollowed out bulbs. To learn how to do this, head over to Team Droid for one of the best tutorials on how to hollow out a light bulb. Once you’ve hollowed out your light bulbs, you can create all kinds of stunning items, including a miniature terrarium. Simply spray the caps any colour you like, and then fill the bulb with soil or moss and air plants such as tillandsia.
These tiny terrariums also make spectacular place cards for a wedding. Punch a hole in a cardboard name tag and attach to a light bulb terrarium with a twist of wire. The light bulbs can be filled with anything from moss and tiny air plants to dried flowers in a colour to match your wedding theme. Add silicone bumpers on the bottom to keep them stable, and you’ve got an unusual place card that your guests can keep.
Old light bulbs make simple, but effective, vases for single or small blooms. Attach a string around the neck of the bulb to hang the ‘vase’, add some water and your choice of flowers.
If you don’t have anywhere to hang your bud vases, you can turn them into freestanding versions by making a stand from aluminium welding rod. Using a small pair of needle-nose pliers, bend the welding rod into the shape you require.
Take one hollowed out lightbulb. Replace the filament with two pieces of thin red wire shaped into a heart, making sure that you make each piece long enough to be inserted into a small block of wood. Assemble the light bulb on top of the wooden block using the wire hearts to keep it in place. Add your own personal message or love note to the front of the block and you’ve got a Valentine’s or birthday gift for your loved one.
While most of these projects only require one or a few light bulbs, some will require a large number of bulbs to be effective so ask your friends and family to put aside their old light bulbs and let’s see if we can significantly reduce the number of light bulbs being thrown away in Australia.