Thursday, 26 April 2012

A Sort Of Tutorial...

Quite a few people have asked me how I managed to hollow out the lightbulb - if you want a sensible tutorial, have a look here. This is where I learnt to do it.

However, if you want to see how I did it, here we go.  First assemble your tools on a tray - it gets messy. Also, do wear some kind of safety glasses - there will be all kinds of crap flying about.
Make a cup of tea.  See sense and remove cup of tea from work area.
Pry up the little metal disk on the bottom of the bulb using a kitchen knife.  Stab finger.  Go more carefully.
Remove little metal disc with pliers - sometimes the wire from inside will come with it - not today.
There will be a tiny hole where the wire poked through.  Embiggen this hole...I started with a screwdriver....failed...tried the kitchen knife - stupid.....tried a skewer - nearly....found a set of mini tools that I got free in a cracker at Christmas and the tiny thing with a screw on the end was perfect.  Once the hole was big enough, I used the big screwdriver to start breaking up the purple chunk of glass. And a hammer.  Carefully.

Have a swig of tea.
To get the purple glass pieces out, enlarge the hole by bending back the metal edging with your pliers.  Tip out purple glass and then pull out the remaining wire filament.
There will be a long thin piece of glass inside the bulb - this needs to be carefully broken with the screwdriver and tipped out.  I cannot emphasise the word carefully enough - first time I tried this the screwdriver poked straight through the lightbulb and I had to start again.
See how close the screwdriver is to the bulb?  This is not good.
Tip out all the bits of glass that remain in the bulb. 
There will be a rim of glass in the metal section.  This has to be carefully broken to englarge the aperture.  I used my pliers and carefully snapped it piece by piece.  Notice how often I am using the word carefully?

Drink some tea.
Using your industrial strength kitchen scissors, carefully snip the jagged metal round the top of the hole and make it even.  Retrieve pieces of rogue metal that pinged across the room into the dishcloth.

After making sure there are not bits of glass left in the bulb, fill with soapy water and gently wash using a soft toothbrush.  Not your own toothbrush, one that you keep downstairs especially for this kind of thing.  This one I got free on our flight to Boston last year.
 Twist a piece of kitchen paper into a point and gently insert into the bulb.  Use the handle of the toothbrush to swab around the inside the bulb and dry it as best you can.
Compare actual amount of tools used with the optimistic two gathered at the start.
Finish tea.
Scrape glass and wire debris off tray into a  paper towel.  Remove shard of glass from finger. Carefully. Wrap up glass bits and throw away.
 Inspect hands for damage.  No blood here....
...or here.  Yay.
Take gratuitous photograph of dog who has been whining for his dinner for the past half hour and really getting on your nerves.

Feed dog.
Put bulb back in it's box, hole upwards, and balance on the top of a radiator for any residual dampness to dry off. 

And that's how I did it.  Unfortunately, I cannot fill the bulbs yet until my partner comes home from Belgium with the wooden bases he has made for them - no point in putting fish inside until there is something to anchor them to.

There are still a couple of days left for you to enter the draw for my original fish in a bulb.  Good luck!


Magpie Magic said...

Looks like a case of 'rather you than me'. A metal file might help with the metal rim at the end to make sure you get an even finish. xoxo

Ella said...

Hi Caroline! Please can you enter my name for the original fish in a bulb prize draw? Thanks, Dan E Ella

montyandrosie said...

I had to tweet this tutorial - it's brilliant - even if an empty light bulb is not actually required!