Repurposed Lightbulb Christmas Ornaments

Just before last Christmas I read that 2 billion incandescent light bulbs are sold each year. While they are being phased out in some places in favour of compact fluorescent bulbs, it will take time and will still leave the world several billion new or used bulbs that could be repurposed rather than sent to already overflowing landfills.

  I had seen on Pinterest several postings of lightbulbs that had been emptied and repurposed as tiny terrariums. I didn’t fancy dealing with the potential sharp metal edges or easily broke glass, and Christmas was right around the corner. I inverted a cardboard egg carton and used it to hold inverted lightbulbs. I applied a minimum of two coats of gesso to each bulb, followed by a soft mint or creamy white paint.

 I snooped around on the internet and found several vintage Christmas images and printed them several to a sheet of paper, in a size that would fit onto a standard light bulb, which I applied using the gesso transfer method.

 I gathered scraps of fabric and bits and bobs of junk jewellery and vintage buttons, as well as lightweight wire that was perfect for winding around the screw part of the lightbulb and creating a loop for hanging. I used a hot glue gun to secure many of the embellishments. Incandescent lightbulbs are so light they don’t require a very strong glue.

 My friend Denise insisted I share this story. I was in that project stage where you get a little intoxicated with creativity and having run out of lightbulbs I was beginning to eye my neighbours’ lanterns and porch lights. Lo and behold, on my way to work on Wednesday (garbage day) one of my neighbours had filled their glass recycling (we are very into separating our recyclables in this region) all kinds of champagne and wine glasses – and lightbulbs. I was on my way to work and didn’t have time to run home for a bag. So I took the lightbulbs. “…in the eye of the beholder”, right?! I have giggled many times about what they must have thought if they had gone out to add to their garbage and seen someone had taken their burnt out lightbulbs but left the stemware.

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3 thoughts on “Repurposed Lightbulb Christmas Ornaments

  1. Thank you so much. Gesso is a great medium, but can be pricey. one of these days I’m going to try making my own. I am now asking everyone I know to save their burned out lightbulbs – and a friend told me that I can probably get loads from the recycling depot, where they have a big bin just for lightbulbs.


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