9 Surprising Things You Can Make with Light Bulbs

Give old lightbulbs a second life with these creative craft ideas.
Kristen Mosier Avatar
Man working on light bulb craft


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There’s no need to toss burnt-out bulbs in the garbage. Instead, consider repurposing them into a unique home accessory. From decorative hanging vases to sweet snow globes, there are plenty of options for getting crafty with light bulbs. Many of these DIY projects are simple and require only a handful of inexpensive materials.

Not all light bulbs are appropriate for crafting, though. Older fluorescent versions can contain toxic materials such as mercury, so it’s best to avoid using those. And remember to wear gloves, safety goggles, and cover skin with long sleeves, shoes, and pants when working with glass.

1. Bud Vases

Bulb flower vases

Give light bulbs a second life by creating a collection of delicate bud vases. Perfect for shelf décor or a unique hanging whimsical display, these small vessels are adorable and simple to DIY. Plus, they have a creative way to mount the light bulbs, too.

Get started with The Merrythought’s step-by-step guide, complete with photos of each step along the way.

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2. A Mini ​​Terrarium

Light bulb terrarium
Photo: MyDIYTerrarium via

Create a tiny natural world inside an old light bulb with moss, air plants, and other small greenery. The Terrarium Tribe collective makes creating a mini terrarium super simple with their plant knowledge and DIY instructions.

For those who love the idea but are worried about the execution, ready-made versions can be found online, like these terrarium light bulbs by MyDIYTerrarium at Etsy.

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3. A Snowman Ornament

Snowman decorated light bulb

Thinking about including a festive snowman craft in your winter decor plans? Kelly Dixon’s Smart School House’s version is as sweet as they come, complete with hat and scarf. The finished snowman can be used as an ornament or displayed on a shelf or mantel.

Follow along with her easy-to-follow tutorial to create one at home.

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4. Bulb Bugs

Light bulb bug craft

Perfect for insect-loving families or even spooky Halloween décor, these light bulb bugs are sure to impress visitors. Place one in a planter for a bit of whimsy. All that’s needed is a couple of old light bulbs, craft wire, and a set of pliers.

Get started by following Rokolee’s handy online video tutorial. The best part is this DIY doesn’t require removing the filament, which can be tedious in light bulb crafts.

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5. Twine Pears

Twine wrapped light bulb

If you are looking to craft a simple centerpiece for the kitchen table, check out these twine pears. Repurpose old light bulbs to create twine-wrapped pears. Group them in a basket or bowl for a charming fruit display.

This tutorial by Practically Functional makes it simple with their step-by-step instructions. All it requires is common household supplies.

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6. Snow Globes

Small light bulb snow globe

Create a magical waterless snow globe inside a burnt-out bulb. Pair miniature figures with a bit of sand or glitter for a snowy scene. Make them into ornaments or hang them from twine or wire for a unique home display.

The NoBiggie blog features an easy-to-follow tutorial for a holiday-themed version using tiny bottle brushes.

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7. Holiday Decor

Small light bulb painted in red glitter

Small night-light bulbs offer the perfect material for a simple holiday ornament or garland. Mod Podge Rocks outlines an easy DIY for sparkly bulbs using glitter and, yes, mod podge.

Consider selecting blue glitter when decorating for Hanukkah, red or green for Christmas décor, or multiple colors for any celebration.

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8. Unique Gifts

Photo: SoniasDesignShop via

Let graduates know that their future is bright or tell a special someone that they light up your life with this unique gift idea. Fill an old light bulb with rolled-up bills or heart candies and include writing or a tag wishing them well with a sweet inscription.

For those who want to keep it super simple, SoniasDesignShop at Etsy offers bulbs with ‘bright future’ on them that can be perfect for new graduates.

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9. Painted Mini Masterpieces

owl and Halloween decorations painted on a light bulb
Photo: TheGnarledBranch via

Keep it simple by hand-painting upcycled light bulbs. Apply the design using a brush, paint pens, or spray paint. Get creative with holiday-themes or purchase hand-painted ones from TheGnarledBranch at Etsy. For crafters who want to use painted bulbs, choose an LED version or a 40-watts-or-less incandescent, and heat-resistant paint.

Note: Using a painted light bulb that has a higher wattage, could result in an explosion as the paint traps the heat inside the bulb.