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7 Creative Ways to Reuse Lightbulbs

Sarah is a certified Hatha, Vinyasa, & Kundalini yoga teacher. She is an artist who believes in the importance of living a creative life.

7 Creative Ways to Reuse Lightbulbs

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These three powerful words will make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly should you choose to do so! The three R's are in this order for a reason.

  • First, focus on reducing what is unnecessary or what you can do without. You can do this by not buying plastic-wrapped items, borrow instead of buy, and share with others. There will always be something that you find that you would normally toss.
  • These projects are all about the middle step: reusing. When you reuse an object, you give it a new life, and it is no longer headed for the last step.
  • Recycling is that last step. Many items in your recycling bin don't actually get recycled, and the system right now is very over-burdened. To keep from having to recycle items try reducing and re-using first.

1. Make Hanging Vases

Hanging vases are a beautiful way to use a light bulb and add a fresh look to your home or outdoor area!

What You'll Need:

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Small screwdriver
  • String/twine
  • Flowers
  • Lightbulb
  • Protective gloves and eye protection


  1. Use the tweezers to pry off the disk on the tip of the bulb. The part under the disk is actually glass, so be careful during this next step.
  2. Insert the screwdriver and twist until the glass snaps.
  3. Use your pliers to remove everything that is inside the light bulb and dump it all out.
  4. Tie a piece of twine securely around the top and it is ready to hang!
  5. Fill the bulb with water and your favorite flowers.

2. Put a Ship in a Bulb

Ship in a bulb is a fun way to not only reuse a light bulb but also have your friends wondering how you did it! These bulbs will be an excellent addition to any desk or shelf. For help in putting it together, follow the terrarium project link below to learn how to open up the light bulb.


3. Build a Terrarium

Terrariums are a wonderful way to bring nature indoors and be environmentally friendly at the same time. Using light bulbs work well for this idea because of their unique shape and small size. Clear light bulbs work best for this one. You will love these tiny green environments encased in glass for you to observe. You may even wish to hang them from the ceiling!


4. Make Hot Air Balloon Ornaments

Hot air balloons have the same shape as most light bulbs! Without having to break open the light bulb, this fun craft requires paint, brushes, and creativity! These whimsical pieces of art look great hanging from the ceiling and would look just right in any children's rooms. The designs can be as simple or complex as you like. Have fun with it!

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5. Make Snowmen

Snowmen made from lightbulbs are perfect decorations for cold seasons and even make great gifts! Like the hot hair balloons, you don't have to break into the bulb to do this! Use scraps of fabric for a scarf and hat. Glue a bottle cap to the bottom of the snowman to serve as a base. To make a snowman ornament, attach a loop of yarn or wire at the top.


6. Create Various Decorative Items

Decorative pieces can easily be made from burned out lights. Simply dip the bulbs in glue and then again in glitter! Allow them to dry completely, and place them in a glass jar to display in your home. This is incredibly easy to do, yet makes a lovely display. If the lights are colored, you can skip the glue and glitter and put them in a tall glass vase. Choose colors that go with the season or theme you want. These make perfect centerpieces, especially during the holidays.


7. Hang Colored Bulbs

Hanging bulbs are an easy and great addition to any room. All you have to do is paint the burned-out bulbs in the colors of your choice and hang them with fishing wire! The effect is very whimsical. The colors you choose will determine the tone of the piece. These could also be used a garden decoration as well if they are hung from tree branches or outdoor roofing. I think these could also be a colorful decoration for a special occasion.


Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on September 06, 2014:

Wow. A+ and big time bonus points for originality. I'm loving almost every idea here and have never once heard of any of them. The first photo is enchanting. How cute that would be over a fairy garden or my kitchen window for that matter. Love this!

Avinesh Prahladi from Chandigarh on December 08, 2013:

I just love this hub, these are certainly some of the best & creative ways to make use of the bulbs.

Anil from Kerala on December 08, 2013:

Nice, we can follow (save money ) this new and beautiful idea,

moonlake from America on December 07, 2013:

Cute ideas..Voted up.

ziyena from the Somewhere Out There on December 07, 2013:

Nice! Very creative idea ... cute cute cute!


Jennifer from New Jersey on December 07, 2013:

I love the vase idea! I will be trying this summer for sure!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 07, 2013:

Great ideas, and such a fabulous way to be environmentally friendly. Loved it all.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on December 07, 2013:

These all are lovely ideas. How very creative! I especially like the hanging vases and the tiny terrarium. Thanks for sharing these tips.

Audrey Howitt from California on December 07, 2013:

I love this idea--Thank you Jackie for sharing!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 07, 2013:

Wow, now that is something else!

Yasmin Crawford-Hunt from Shenyang, China on August 06, 2013:

I love the vase idea, they look so pretty!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 14, 2013:

What cute ideas! I no longer use regular light bulbs; I use the curly ones, so I wouldn't be able to implement any of these ideas. However, I love what you've come up with!

Donna Herron from USA on June 13, 2013:

I love these ideas too. These items are beautiful, yet made from something we take for granted and throw out when they no longer work. Great hub!

Monica Kay from Pennsylvania on June 13, 2013:

Wonderful ideas. I love the idea of repurposing everyday items.

Sarah O'Brien (author) from Pennsylvania on June 13, 2013:

ComfortB, thank you! I am glad you liked these ideas and hope you will be inspired to reuse other objects as well. =)

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on June 13, 2013:

Love these bulb recycling ideas. I've always wondered how the ship could fit in the bulb. Now I know. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up and useful. Sharing :)