diy project: valentine lightbulb


i know a lot of people find valentine’s day to be a commercialized, over-hyped, pressure-cooker of a holiday (um, take it easy with the chocolate aisles, drug stores). in my mind though, valentine’s day is great because such little things can make huge statements on this romantic day. pretty much any act of kindness carries with it a bigger message of love: a note on the counter, an extra long hug, a favorite food in the fridge, etc. so with the “little gifts” concept in mind, i bring you this valentine’s day light bulb. a subtle love note tucked inside a pretty glass bulb, this can hopefully be displayed year round, and have longer lasting power than a dozen roses (not that i’m knocking roses). the other awesome part of this project is that once you’ve hollowed out a light bulb, the possibilities are endless for future projects: mini terrarium? check. handmade snow globe? check.. go crazy!

also, if the wire sculpture is a bit intimidating to you, put a small message or little drawing on a tiny scrap of paper and attach it to are strand of wire, then suspend that in the bulb…instant success! remember, cute is king on st. valentine’s day… have fun! -kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

materials:

1. red thin gauge wire (available at craft stores)
2. light bulb (any standard incandescent bulb with a regular size base will do..no fluorescent or halogen bulbs)
3. pliers
4. screwdriver
5. safety goggles
6. scrap piece of wood or wood cube (craft stores usually sell wood for crafts and would have a small square or chunky piece that would work)
7. 2 pins
8. paper and pen (or type written message)
9. wire cutters
10. hammer and nail (optional- if you are using soft balsa or craft wood these are not necessary)
11. hot glue gun

cost:

wire: $2
wood scrap or cube: $2
tools, paper: on hand

time:

1 hour

instructions:

1. prepare a surface on a work table for hollowing out the bulb. make sure the area is large because little chunks might jump off the base when you crack the glass.

2. follow these instructions on how to hollow out the light bulb from teamdroid.com. these are easy to follow instructions that also give good tips on safety and procedure.

3. when you have your bulb ready, clean the outside carefully and put it to the side somewhere where it is protected from breaking.

4. cut a ten inch piece of wire to make a heart “filament”. fold the wire in half to create a sharp crease, then unfold. about an inch from the crease, take both loose wire ends and loop both wires around to create the heart halves. then pull both wires back down, overlapping the center of the crease and extending beyond the heart shape. you may want to tweak the heart halves a little to get heart shape that you like. your heart should be about 1/2″ wide so it will fit through the base of the bulb pretty easily.

5. if you want two or more heart filaments in your bulb, repeat step 5 one or more times.

6. take your filaments to your bulb and hold them up to see how long the stems need to be to have the heart filaments positioned in roughly the center of the bulb. use your pliers to cut the extra wire off the ends. also test that they fit int o your bulb without having to smush them or distort the shapes. if that is the case, make them smaller.

7. if your wood is soft, you should be able to poke the wire filaments down into the top of the wood and they will stay in position. if you are using a firmer wood, use a hammer and nail to create a small guide hole. then remove the nail and push the wire down into the hole. you may want to secure these with glue as well.

8. now fit your glass bulb over the filaments and glue the bulb down to the wood at the base.

9. use the pins to attach your love note or message to the front of the piece of wood.

YOU’RE DONE!!

Allison

I love this!
I’ve been collecting old bulbs to turn into mini vases but I think I like this idea even better!

A handy trick I learned: dry salt works like magic for cleaning out light bulbs. Swishing around a couple of tablespoons of salt will take care of the white coating inside so many bulbs. A little nail polish remover will also clean any printed lables off the glass.

Brandy

Adore this. Valentine’s Day is what you make of it, in my opinion. If you rush out to buy something just for the sake of buying, then it’s a commerical holiday. But if you take the time, and create a wonderful moment, gift or even a thoughful gesture, then it’s a nice holiday. This year I’m giving my girlfriend’s valentines to show them how much I care for them too. Spreading the love.

Triwania

This is soooo cute. I wished I weren’t snowed then I could run out to get the supplies. Great idea!

anthem

my guy would love this! I’m definitely doing this project. Thanks!

carrie

so adorable!! gonna try this, and the homemade snowglobe idea too (thinking ahead to Xmas 2010)!!

Suzette

Do you have these projects available in a printer-friendly version?

Louise

This is the cutest Valentine’s DIY I’ve seen! I’m going to the hardware store today to start creating!

omnomnom

that’s so incrediblyy cuteee!
:S the only thing is though – wondering if there’s any way to do this with a lightbulb that would still work, after you put the red wires in.

..prob not, because you’re taking out the filaments? too bad :(

oh well – it’s still really cute & a great reminder to your somebody that you love them.

kate

omnomnom- i know, wouldn’t it be great if we could design our own filaments? as far as i know that is only for the pros..but it’s worth a little online research!

Rach

this is genius. i don’t usually do valentines day but this year, i think i just might

Emma

Nice! I think I am doing one :D

A side note on what you wrote: “no fluorescent or halogen bulbs” , BECAUSE they are toxic when broken! If you accidentally brake one, open the window and exit the room!

how about the slogan: “you make me lightheaded” :P

hrhkat

very very cute….when I first saw the picture, I thought “where did they find that giant light bulb to do this project”…i guess its just the pictures……very cute and semi simple, great

Leah

Oh my, I LOVE this! And happen to have a burnt out lightbulb that needs replacing… Love the “re-use” aspect. I’m seeing all kinds of cute possibilities… Thanks!

Lisa

Sooo cute! What a great idea.. I was thinking of making an animation for my bf but now I think I have changed my mind:)

Ashley

You could always put a little LED light or something in the base if you drill down into the block more and have a cord kit with it to click it on and off… ? Just a thought.

Chelsea Connolly

Oh, I absolutely and utterly adore this idea! It is just so cute! :-)

And I agree – Valentine’s Day is so commercialised. It’s the simple and thoughtful gifts and ideas that matter!

Rosy

This is so cute!! I can totally imagine a guy actually liking this, rather than the cheesy stuff that’s sold in the shops. Ooo, is it me or would the same project work well in a test tube with a cork stopper?? But hey, I’m a chemist so I’m always looking for ways to make chemistry cool…

Michaela

I’ve cleaned out the lightglobe — it was even more fiddly than I’d imagined, and tomorrow I’m making a wire suspension stand for it and hunting for mini plants to make a light-globe terrarium — my boyfriend will love it!
Thanks for the brilliant idea!

Fiona Eng

What a wonderful and cute idea! I am off to the store this afternoon to get a couple bits to make one for my bf. Happy Valentine’s!

Kimberly Grommes

I love this! Absolutely adorable and you’re right, the possibilities are endless with the light bulb! :)

Paola

I just made this for my husband and I can’t wait to give it to him! Super easy to do, thanks for the DIY!

Katie

This is so awesome… and simple… I just finished mine for my husband… I found a round wooden box at the craft store so I used that instead of a block…. so it has a function too :)

Deanna Kim Tower

Thanks for the perfect idea for that quirkey valentine gift that will certainly stand out much better than an old box of chocolates!

Gwendolyn

I just gave this to my husband for Valentine’s Day. Thanks for the great idea!

Amy

This is FABULOUS!! Took only about 5 minutes and was SO fun. Made one with little photos inside too. Very clever. Thank you. :)

Georgia Mohr

How about: “Burned out long ago. Time to change the bulb.”

Gabriella Silva

I’m making it for my BF, valentines day in Brazil is on July 12th! :) I think he is going to love itt !! Thanks

Blue Team

Oh wow, this is SO cute!
We would love to feature this tutorial on our website! If you are interested please let us know by mail.
Again: this is such an awesome idea.

shel by

BTW, a great idea since its christmas time, is to go to any craft store like jo anns fabrics or whateva, and buy ornament bulbs. they come in packs and are relatively cheap, this way you bypass the breaking of a lightbulb and its dangers. :) all you have to do is take the little tin hook thingy off, which is supposed to be able to come off. so its super simple :)

Mike Yang

Omnomnom: That was my first thought too…

All a light bulb is, is electricity flowing through tungsten in a vacuum. To make it work you’d first have to make the heart part out of tungsten (not too hard), re-run your wires (again, not too hard) and then find some way to evacuate the air from the bulb (quite hard).

I’m thinking maybe you could rig up something with some epoxy and a bike pump, but I can’t find any DIY’ers on the internet Scotch enough to resurrect incandescent bulbs… :)

zulampard

i just searching idea for a gift for my girlfriend for her birthday.I think this is a very-very 5 star idea for me.Thanks a lot…

Kate Pruitt

Hi Ludo,

The cube is just a piece of balsa craft wood that I cut into a block shape. Most craft and/or art supply stores will sell wood like this, and some might even have precut wood cubes that you could use. Good luck! —Kate

ludo

Don’t know where to find some story like that in my town. But thanks I’ll find it somewhere. :)

zamantha lopez

i just want if i can find that in my city TOO! im from.. QUITO-ECUADOR! please! i like it a lot! (: i just want give it to my boyfriend.

Ali

I’m not seeing a link for how to hollow out the light bulb. I only saw the one that takes you to the main TeamDroid website, but I couldn’t find that specific post. Help, please? I’d love to make this for my sweetie!

Kate Pruitt

Hi Ali, thanks for brining that to my attention! I updated the link so it should head directly to the lightbulb tutorial now. Let me know if you have any problems. Good luck with the project!

Taylor

This is fantastic! I was at a complete loss for what to do for my geeky guy. I think that re-purposing a lightbulb will appeal to his electrical geek! So adorable!

alita

I can’t wait to make this for my boyfriend. he is a lighting designer for concerts & i think this is so cute and it will mean so much to him! awesome tutorial!

Taylor

Just a tip for everyone that I discovered while making my own: What the teamdroid tutorial didn’t mention is that the glass insulator is really had to get out. I smashed one bulb while trying to get that piece out and nearly broke a second (I have a small crack on the bulb that I ended up using because of this.) Go slowly and have lots of patience during this step, because it’s a lot more challenging than it seems.

Taylor

I am so happy with my bulb! I used scrap metal from the hearts inside and spelled out “you light up my world, love” on the wood around the bulb. I am so absolutely happy with this!

Jenny

I really love this idea and I really want to make this, but I couldn’t find any wood blocks at Joanne’s and Michael’s craft stores. Please help?

Jennifer

I was only able to find blocks at AC Moore. This is such a cute project but its not as easy as it looks, at least it wasn’t for me but I still accomplished it

Mandy

I made one of these for my fiance for Valentine’s Day this year! It was such a fantastic gift!

Janine

This might be a really stupid question but will this really light up? :)

Janine

In connection to my first comment, if it doesn’t actually light up, is there any way to make it light up? :)

Kelly

So thoughtful my husband is an electrician so giving this to him he will love it

MIchelle @ Tickled In Love

I am featuring this today on my site and will be using your idea in a sassy way. Love this and I love that it inspired a romantic idea! Just an FYI for you..I found this on Pinterest. When clicking the picture it got an ooops warning, saying that this might be going to inappropriate content. It then gives you an option to return to pinterest or stop search, or continue to unknown source. (It’s the warning you usually get when the site ends up being porn.) That might be deterring people from continuing onto the site. Just thought you would like to know!!! xox

Shelley

Sweet idea & more interesting than than the standard card/box of chocolates (not that there’s anything wrong with chocolates :-)

Sarah

I would really love an easy guide on how to make this light bulb light up. I’m not used to working with wires. Can anyone assist?

Mariana

I really loved this idea! But please, tell me, how did you attach the message to the front of the piece of wood? the pins poke the wood? I really need some help! Thank you :)

Martina

I did it! I also put a real light inside the bulb! I like it so much!! Thank you!!!

Trisha

Why cant you use halogen bulbs? The TeamDroid website directions on hollowing it out says do not use fluorescent bulbs but your directions say don’t use either..

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