How to hollow out a light bulb

There’s so many cool light bulb projects out there. You can turn aย disassembled bulb into a terrarium, aquarium or a Christmas ornament for example. So when a light bulb recently blew out I knew I had to recycle it into something neat. Today I will show you how to hollow out a light bulb in just 5 easy steps. Trust me it’s super simple and even my clumsy self managed to disassemble it without breaking it into a thousand pieces.

Light bulb

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • screwdriver
  • snips or pliers
  • light bulb
  • towel and eye protection for safety

Yup that’s all!

Let’s get started ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 1

Wrap the bulb in a towel so you’re safe if it shatters. Grab the solder point and twist it until it comes off.

Light bulb

Light bulb

Step 2

Once you pulled out the contact you have to crack the black glass insulator. The chips from this are charp and fly around everywehre. Be very carfefully while removing it. You might need some pressure. After you removed the insulator you can see the inside supports of the filament and the fill hole.

Light bulb

Step 4

Use a screwdriver to break the fill tube. You can now shake the filament assembly out of the tube.

Light bulb

There will be sharp edges left. Try to remove them as best as you can and be careful while filling the bulb. By the way excuse my messy nails. But I’d rather paint them after a craft than messing them up again :p

Light bulb

Step 5

The bulb needs a cleaning. I used water but salt seems to work too. Some bulbs are coated with a white powder (Kaolin). It’s not too dangerous but still be careful and keep it away from anything important. And you’re done!

I turned my first holowed out light bulb into a light bulb aquarium! I love it so much! What did you make out of your recycled bulbs?

Light bulb


  1. tabzillaBlue Nov 28th, 2014 3:49 pm

    Great tutorial! But please tell me you’re talking about aquatic plants only when you say “aquarium” – a light bulb is much too small for any fish to live in. ๐Ÿ™

    • arfotografie Nov 28th, 2014 4:32 pm

      TabzillaBlue yes I am. I will upload the tutorial for it this weekend. I actually own a tank and would never hold fish in a light bulb! I even think holding a beta in a small bowl is super cruel and its forbidden here in Germany.

      • tabzillaBlue Nov 28th, 2014 4:35 pm

        That’s really cool! I’m looking forward to that tutorial. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. WonderfulWolf Nov 30th, 2014 6:22 pm

    Great tutorial! I’ve never actually thought about how to dis-assemble a bulb. I wonder if doing it with those huge globe bulbs would be the same. They would look awesome too!

    • arfotografie Dec 1st, 2014 9:25 am

      Oh that’s a great idea! If you do it please share a pic. Would love to see the result ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. su Jul 9th, 2016 1:44 pm

    WOW this helped me quite a lot since i am making a diy book , and trying to collect as many cool and interesting things as i can. : )

    • Anni Jul 21st, 2016 10:05 am

      Great! We’re glad you like it! If you use our Idea please make sure to give us credit ๐Ÿ™‚


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