Monday, January 13, 2014

Let's Construct a Bottle Light

Guess what this is? If you guessed liquor bottle, then you would be correct. But it is also a lamp. Or you could call it a light. Or a light emitting device. Hell, I guess you could call it whatever you want, but it will end up emitting light.


Now, how did we go about constructing  such a device?   Read on.

 Obviously the first thing you will need is a bottle of some type.  Coke bottle, beer bottle,  liquor bottle, baby bottle,  perfume bottle,  whatever.  Lots of liquor bottles have unique shapes and designs  and end up looking pretty neat.

The second thing you need is some type of light  to stick inside your bottle. This is what we're going to use, a rope light. See?

And we wanted our bottle light to look cool, so we got a blue rope light. Actally we wanted it to be super cool,
so we got a long blue rope light,  a 16 footer.  See?  Doesn't it look supercool?

Okay, now that you have your light, shove your light into the bottle. Hmmm, how am I supposed to go about that, you may be wondering. Well, you need a hole at the bottom of your bottle so that you can push the light into. Kind of like this one.


Okay, and just how am I supposed to make this hole? Well, there are several ways to make holes in bottles, and my favorite way  is to use a high velocity bullet, but you can also use a handy dandy  electric drill.  You do have a handy-dandy electric drill, don't you?  Once you have procured your drill,  you can do it the way that they show in this video. (And this video also shows different designs and things on their bottle lamps.)

Now that you have your hole, start pushing the lights into it. In our case, we had a 16 foot rope light and I think the liquor bottle was a half-gallon one. Have you ever tried to shove a 16 foot rope light into a small, constricted,  half-gallon sized place that was not designed for a 16 foot rope light? Well if you have, you might know what I am about to say next. If you haven't, let me just say that it involves cursing, effort, cursing, sweat, cursing, blood, cursing, tears, a lot of time,  and perhaps some cursing. And what do you get in the end? Two hours later you end up with a half-gallon sized liquor bottle that still has a foot and a half of rope light protruding from it, and when you plug it in to see if the rope light still works after you have been  using a dowel rod  to help you shove and push it into a bottle, you find that it does not work. All of your effort  has now been negated. You have broken your rope light.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Do Not Break Your Rope Light! Not only will you be out $15 for the light, but you may very well have to use a sorry looking, substitute light in its place because your nephew  is the impatient sort and wants to  take  the bottle light home with him right then. Rope lights are not nearly as tough as they may at first seem.

So we used different lights, a string of Christmas tree lights. It is the kind that has a plug on both ends so that you can plug another string into it. Ordinarily it would not have fit into the hole, but we had a three-quarter inch hole to work with and by carefully trimming off bits and pieces of the plug on one end of the string of lights, we were able to persuade the lights into the bottle.

And this is what we ended up with. It didn't look nearly as cool as it would have with a 16 foot long blue rope light, but it will work and nephew was happy. There are all kinds of neat looking bottles out there and there are all kinds of neat looking lights out there. Do some experimenting and see what you can come up with.



  1. So the moral of the story is, use a 14 foot rope light! ;)