Sunday, April 17, 2011

How to Hollow out a Light Bulb

Ok, so why would I want to hollow out a lightbulb? Well just last week at work, we moved to much larger cubicles. Being a web developer, I don't really need a whole lot of space for paperwork or anything other than a computer, so I want to add a bit of decoration.

My previous attempts to keep plants alive have been rather fatal (for the plants). I even killed an aloe plant (they are supposed to be very hardy). So in trying to find something that I could take care of, I found out about terrariums. Not with animals in them, just plants. Terrariums are pretty self sustaining and won't die if I forget to water them...
I got this book The New Terrarium at the library and found some cute ideas. I'll be trying one of the ideas later.
I even found a really nerdy idea on Lifehacker for a light-bulb terrarium and decided I had to make one. But it was a relatively complicated process so I'll start with just the cleaning out of the lightbulb. Please excuse the picture quality, I did it early in the morning and am still trying to find the best way to take pictures.

You'll need a lightbulb (I saved one that burnt out last week), needle nose pliers, a screw driver, a towel or washcloth, and salt.
Use the needle nose pliers to remove all of the internal parts of the light bulb. First you remove this metal layer at the edge of the black glass on the end. Then you break the black glass (I did this right over a trash can and made sure I didn't get any glass shards on me by holding the light bulb with the towel. You then use the screw driver to break and remove the tube and the glass around the tube. Use the needle nose pliers to pull out the filament.
Once everything is removed you need to remove the white powder. It comes off very easily if you put some salt in the light bulb and gently shake it around. Any powder that doesn't come off with the salt you can get out with a little bit of water in the light bulb.
Then you end up with one clean empty light bulb ready for use! Hooray! Next blog will be about how to make your terrarium in the light bulb!