I made a thing


Making a lamp out of a bottle is pretty straightforward, but for fun I thought I’d document how this one was thrown together.


  • a bottle (save the cap) – empty (depending on how you empty it, best not to do this all at once)
  • filler – I used green sand. The hobby store had sand in many colors, $2 for a 1.5 pound plastic jar. It only took half the jar to fill this 750 mL liquor bottle. So, roughly 1 pound of sand per liter of volume you’re filling.
  • a lamp kit – includes the fixture, wire, harp, etc
  • a lamp shade – It seems not many places sell green ones. Finally stumbled on this one at Ikea. SKIMRA. It was sold as a shade for pendant light.
  • a light bulb
  • a house, apartment, or other building – this should have some sort of power outlet, where you’ll plug in your lamp

Assembly Notes
The basic process is this: make an extra hole in the bottle; string the bottle onto the lamp wire; close the extra hole (hot glue!); fill the bottle with sand; assemble the bottle cap (with a new hole in it) and all the lamp parts and screw it into the top of the bottle; plug it in.

Some tips:

  • When drilling the hole in the glass, remember that glass would rather be sand again, and will try to break to accomplish this. Drill slowly.
  • After feeding the wire through the bottle, the plug end should be dangling out the back of the bottle. If the plug end is coming out the mouth of the bottle, you did something wrong.
  • If the wire and plug are inside the bottle, you may be using a Klein bottle. Re-orient yourself and the bottle and start again.
  • Don’t forget to clean up your mess!