Sunday, June 20, 2010

tutorial #1: light bulb ornaments

What do you do with old incandescent bulbs after they've burnt out? There are quite a few tutorials out there to make cool things from them, and in some places, used light bulbs can be recycled.

I like the curvy, almost fruit-like shape of light bulbs, but I wanted to soften the texture so that they're suitable as decorations for our living room.

Materials needed for this project:
-old light bulbs
-double-sided tape (the thinnest kind you can find)
-twine (one roll should be enough for about four light bulbs)

Time needed: Approximately 30 minutes for each bulb.

Step 1: Clean off light bulb with a cloth to remove dust. Take strips of tape and begin wrapping the light bulb with tape from the base (where the metal part is). Be sure to press out any air bubbles in the tape. Apply tape until about halfway up the bulb.

Step 2: Take one end of the twine, and press it to the tape as close to the metal base as possible. Begin wrapping twine around the light bulb, gently pressing twine down on the tape. Be sure not to press too hard or the glass may shatter. Each coil of twine should stay as close as possible to the previous coil.

Step 3: When you are nearly at the halfway point, apply more tape onto the light bulb until there is a two or so centimetres of tape above where the twine coils end. The new tape should slightly overlap the existing tape to ensure that the twine will hold. Continue winding twine around the light bulb until you are past the widest point of the bulb. Remember to keep pressing the twine continuously onto the tape.

Step 4: Apply tape to cover the entire area on top of the bulb. Because of the curve of the bulb, it will be harder to keep the coils aligned, so make sure the there is enough slack in the twine before continuing onto the next coil. When there is nearly no space left for more coils, estimate the twine needed (probably about 1 cm) and cut the twine after that point. Then, carefully wind the remaining end of twine onto the top of the bulb and tuck the "tail" into the centre, pressing gently but firmly. Finished!

They can be placed in a bowl or strung up together in a garland, once you add a wire loop to the end.
They're super easy to make, and you can experiment with different sizes and shapes of light bulbs and different colours of string/yarn/hemp. Enjoy!

No comments: