This recycled glass bottle light installation will add a fun element to an eclectic room setting. For added impact, group any number of the same kind of bottles together. We used eight bottles here – but a large number of wine bottles grouped together could have an even more dramatic effect.
QUICK PROJECT GUIDE
Hard labour 3/10
Skill level 4/10
Time needed About two hours
Finished size ±600mm (H) X 400mm (W)
What you need
• used bottles or jars
• electrical cord
• electrical fittings
• electrical connectors
• light bulbs
• insulation tape
• wire stripper
• glass cutter
• glass bottle cutting kit (optional)
• high pressure sprayer
Cutting the bottles
1 Use a glass cutting jig to cut the bottles at the desired height. We set it to cut as low down as possible, giving us enough room for the fitting and bulb. Position your hands across from one another so that you can apply enough force. Slowly turn the bottle while pressing it against the cutting blade. Maintain continuous pressure as you rotate, and stop as soon as the score line meets itself. Resist the temptation to go over the score line again; this will only lead to a messy break and will also dull the cutting blade.
Match the bulbs to the fittings.
Electrical connectors allow more than two wires to be connected together and are necessary for this project.
2 Pour boiling water into the bottle.
NOTE Use a funnel to make sure the water falls to the bottom without touching the sides of the bottle.
3 Pour just enough water into the bottle to slightly exceed the score line. Allow the glass to heat up until it’s hot to the touch, then use a high pressure water jet to spray cold water all along the score line while slowly rotating the bottle. You may hear a slight splitting sound. The bottle should break along this score line.
4 Smooth the flat edges by polishing them on carbide tungsten waterpaper. Do this under a thin layer of water to assist the process
and contain the glass dust. Lightly sand the sharp edges of the bottles.
Wiring the light
Tip Create the wire colour you want by covering white cord with electrical insulation tape, which comes in a variety of colours.
5 Push the wire through the neck of the bottle, followed by the top of the fitting and then connect the wires to the bulb holder.
6 Use the screwdriver to fix the wires firmly into the connectors.
7 Join the bundles of wire together using connector blocks; fix four wires of the same colour into one connector and join these to another connector using a short piece of wire until you can join just one wire.
Splicing light bulbs
The number of bulbs you can put on a single fixture is limited by the capacity of the electrical circuit to which it will be connected. This will determine the amount and size of the bulbs you can use. A 15- amp circuit will provide 600 watts of power – so you could use ten 60-watt lightbulbs or fifteen 40-watt bulbs in your new chandelier. The number of wires you can connect together is also determined by the type of wiring and fittings used. Electrical wiring and fixtures are rated – designed to handle the heat of the bulbs to a certain temperature only – beyond which it fails. So don’t go over the amperage limit of the wire and fittings.
• We used eight small glass bottles for our light installation; you could use longer wine bottles or wider jam/mayonnaise jars to suit your taste or to scale the light fitting to the size of your dining table or room.
• We struggled to find electrical cord in any colour other than black or white, so we simply covered white cord with yellow electrical tape, which comes in a variety of colours.
• Use the right cord and fittings – don’t use 60W bulbs in fittings limited to 40W bulbs. Ask for assistance if you’re unsure.
NOTE Incorrect wiring and/or wiring techniques can cause home fires. It is important that anyone who undertakes their own electrical wiring knows and understands the basic rules of electrical safety to avoid costly mistakes. If you are unsure of or inexperienced with electrical connections, get an electrician to connect your light fitting to the mains circuit of your home.
Source: Home magazine