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Bright DIY Ideas to Reuse Old Light Bulbs

Burnt-out light bulb headed for the trash can? Not so fast. Here are some easy DIY projects to turn old light bulbs into something new for your home.

You know our motto: don't throw anything out, and that includes light bulbs! Here are some easy DIY projects you can create from your old light bulbs from designer Pamela Miltenberger.

Light Bulb Magnets

  • burned out full size light bulb
  • metal tart tins
  • napkin rings with acrylic flowers or decorative accent of your choice
  • E6000 glue
  • strong magnets - Pamela recommends either Mighty Magnets from The Container Store or super strong magnets from Wal-Mart
  • wire cutters
  • mini light bulb

1. Using the wire cutters, cut the back of the acrylic flower off the napkin ring, and push in any loose wires on the back of the flower. Most any decorative accent will work for this project.

2. Using E6000, glue the back of the flower or other decorative accent onto the front of the light bulb. Allow to dry flat until a strong hold is achieved - usually a few hours.

3. Glue the back of the bulb to the metal tart tin and let completely dry for several hours or overnight to insure a strong hold, which is important to minimize bulb breakage.

4. Attach 2 Mighty Magnets or super strong magnets to the back of the tin to insure hold. You can choose to glue magnets on the tin or not since they will stick both to the metal of the tin and to your refrigerator.

5. Put another magnet on the bulb socket and use it to attach your mini light to illluminate the magnet.

Fabric Light Bulbs


  • fabric
  • flood light bulb
  • mod podge
  • E6000 glue
  • decorative trim

1. Cut a piece of fabric a littler larger than what you'd need to wrap around the flood light bulb horizontally.

2. Starting on one side the light bulb at the top, glue the fabric to the light bulb with Mod Podge or E6000 glue, wrapping it as you go. Cover the entire surface of the light bulb, trying to minimize the seams. Leave excess fabric and just trim it once you have finished gluing. It's easier to get a tailored fit that way rather than cutting the fabric too short, creating gaps you'd have to cover.

3. Use decorative trim or beading to hide the seams.

Decorative Hat Pins with Light Bulbs


  • mini light bulbs such as Christmas lights or appliance bulbs
  • decorative accents such as beads or flowers
  • floral pins
  • plastic or metal earring back

Thread bulbs and decorative items onto the floral pins. Use wire for securing the items onto the pins. Use an earring back to hold the items in place.

Here are some other great web-exclusive projects that Pamela shared with us.

Upcycled Bathroom Light Fixture


  • Light bulbs
  • old bathroom light fixture
  • paint

1. Paint an old bathroom light fixture a fun color.

2. Add outdoor bulbs, colored party bulbs, and hang inside or outside. Use glow-in-the-dark paint on some of the bulbs. Be creative! Add string lights, party bulbs, mini-lights or fill the bulbs with trinkets.

Light Bulb Industrial Caster Tabletop Art


  • light bulbs
  • duct work/industrial collars
  • casters
  • magnets

You can do so many things with industrial collars - make a lampshade or hang them for decoration, but this project uses it as table top art.

1. Add rolling casters to your industrial collar by using magnets attached to the back of the caster.

2. Add old light bulbs to the inside and the outside of the collar using magnets.

3. Add some string or battery lights on the inside or outside using magnets or wire to attach or just drape the lights inside and outside.

Liptstick Tray Desktop Display


  • light bulbs of varying sizes and shapes
  • acrylic lipstick tray from The Container Store
  • glue dots or any strong adhesive tack
  • mini-battery lights

1. Insert old light bulbs, decorated or as is, into the lipstick tray You can use clear adhesive dots to hold the light bulbs in place or any strong adhesive tack to keep them securely in place.

2. Drop mini-battery lights inside the tray for a cool luminous effect.

Light Bulb Glow-In-The-Dark Door Knobs


  • Glow-in-the-dark flexible door knob covers
  • light bulb

Use glow in the dark door knob covers found at retail stores and hardware stores for this project. Insert a bulb - party bulb, colored, painted, painted it glow-in-the-dark, etc.- into the flexible open end of the door knob cover and creatively display it.

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