My bottle lamp has been “completed”! Overall, I’m proud of the finished product, but I definitely have some ideas for improvements to make to it over the next few days/weeks. Let me get into the actual process to go from the bottle below, to the lamp you see above.

Initial Ideas, Research, and Inspiration

As far as design goes, I followed a fairly standard process like this one my team and I came up with in-class:

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Design Loop (Credit: Roshan Misra, Created By: Chris Coffman, Joe Yoshimura, and Roshan Misra)

I had a need for a table lamp in my room, since my old lava lamp that I’d been using had officially fizzled out. This project served as a great excuse to build a lamp for myself! I had always thought that glass bottles were awesome pieces of art and I always find myself appreciating glass bottles like this:

Skull Tequila Bottle (Source: http://g02.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1JJlsJXXXXXcpXXXXq6xXFXXX3/1000ml-font-b-Cool-b-font-Novelty-Special-font-b-Glass-b-font-Skull-Beer-Water.jpg)

or even some of the simpler, but still elegant bottles like this one, which eventually turned into my lamp:

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The Glenmorangie Scotch Bottle which serves as the base of the lamp (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

Doing some research on Google, I found that there were numerous glass bottle lamps and different methods of implementation. I ended up combining elements of many of these designs in my lamp. A few of these are pictured below.

https://i0.wp.com/assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/06/john-meng-wine-bottle-lamp-2.jpg?resize=333%2C280

https://i2.wp.com/s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/db/8e/c1/db8ec143fb1eea53b308092d0b18e50e.jpg?ssl=1

https://i2.wp.com/winefolly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/wine-bottle-lamp-ideas.jpg?resize=326%2C228

A few of my bottle table lamp inspirations (Sources:http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/06/john-meng-wine-bottle-lamp-2.jpg,
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/db/8e/c1/db8ec143fb1eea53b308092d0b18e50e.jpg, http://winefolly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/wine-bottle-lamp-ideas.jpg)

At this point, I had to decide the kind of aesthetic that I wanted to fulfill with my lamp. I’ve always felt there’s a certain beauty about industrial architecture, which I wrote a little about in a previous blog post (http://wp.me/p74uWv-6g). This aesthetic often involved bringing industrial, often classically ugly, elements such as exposed piping, brick, concrete, wood, and metal in a very purposeful way to create an atmosphere. It invokes modern and vintage elements at the same time and I find it very comforting and cozy. I am a big believer in feng shui and the energy of a space and wanted to focus the energy of my room into something warm and welcoming. When executed properly, the raw industrial aesthetic, can create a glowing, cozy space, like in a few of the pictures below.

A few examples of the raw industrial aesthetic (Sources: http://retaildesignblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sage-Restaurant-Drewes-Strenge-Architekten-Berlin.jpg,http://static.materialicious.com/images/attic-apartment-with-a-visually-pleasing-industrial-aesthetic-l.jpg,
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m06anpbifj1r08h92.jpg)

Another aesthetic that I wanted to draw from was what I will call the “simply elegant” aesthetic. I found many bottle lamps which had too much going on in their decoration and in their look. Many were very colorful and too busy. I wanted something that could function like a centerpiece on a table, similar to a vase, but simple and not flamboyant.

https://haveyounerd.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/img_1107.jpg?resize=212%2C265

https://i2.wp.com/ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-42280649089190/viking-frosted-glass-five-petal-centerpiece-bowl-10-inches-3.jpg?resize=386%2C277

Some examples of simply elegant centerpieces (Source: https://haveyounerd.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/img_1107.jpg,
http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-42280649089190/viking-frosted-glass-five-petal-centerpiece-bowl-10-inches-3.jpg)

These pictures above were some of the inspiration for my final design of the bottle.

Goals and Design Choices

My lamp has one functional goal, which is to provide light. However, I had to make multiple choices on how to provide that light, and those choices would influence the overall aesthetic of the finished product.

In terms of the aesthetics of my lamp, I wanted to embrace that industrial aesthetic as much as possible, and felt that “Edison” style light bulbs were the best choice as far as the bulb was concerned. The clear glass and glowing filament evoke feelings of a simpler time. However, the bulb I purchased is anything but simple, as it is an LED bulb (to conserve power) and dimmable (if a dimmer switch is installed). The dimmable nature of the bulb was a huge draw for me so that I could adjust the lighting level depending on what kind of mood I wanted to set. I found a plastic work light cover, which I screwed onto the light socket for the light bulb, to keep with the industrial aesthetic of the bulb and the bottle.

For the bottle, I decided to decorate it similarly to the vase pictured above. I purchased frosted glass spray paint from Home Depot and used rubber bands to create the sweeping curves of non-frosted glass on the bottle. Looking at the finished product, I started to notice that the curves were representative of some art nouveau works. I felt that the sweeping curves of clear glass was a clean and elegant feel to the bottle. Additionally, I decided to add Christmas lights into the bottle base of the lamp. This would help to add more flexibility to the lighting of the lamp, as well as provide emphasis to the frosted glass base.

In terms of colors, I wanted something that would compliment the warm light of the “Edison” bulb, so I decided to go with a matte gold color for the socket, cord, and  work light cover. I also felt the gold would compliment the frosted glass look of the bottle and help to create the warm mood I wanted to associate the lamp with.

Building the Lamp

Once I found my inspirations and thought through the design, I began to build the lamp. I skipped the pretotyping step, outside of a few practice runs on smaller glass bottles. Moving into the final design building, I started with the large bottle below, and soaked the bottle in a mixture of water and dish detergent to get the labels off. I then used a Dremel tool with the routing bit to put a small hole through the bottle, which I then widened to allow for power cords to be pulled through the bottle.

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The original bottle (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

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The bottle: pre- and post-widening (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

After widening the bottle, it was time to focus on creating the light fixture itself. The main light consisted of four parts, the socket, work light cover, light bulb, and power cord (not pictured below). All but the power cord (found at home) were purchased at Home Depot. While the integration of these parts was not particularly challenging, it did require some modification to fit into the small openings which the bottle allowed, specifically at the top. I had to whittle the plug portions of the power cord to fit through the top of the bottle, which was significantly smaller than the diameter of the socket. This was something I hadn’t been prepared to do, due to some lack of planning in measuring all of my parts. However, I successfully shaved off enough plastic to slip the cord through the narrow bottleneck and pull it through the hole I had carved near the bottom.

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The three parts of the light fixture (from left to right): Socket, Work Light Cover, Light Bulb (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

To ensure that the aesthetic of the bottle was maintained, I had to paint the socket, power cord, and work light cover a matte gold color. Additionally, I had to frost the bottle to help maintain the “simply elegant” aesthetic I was planning on. The rubber bands on the bottle seen in the picture above help to create the sweeping curves of unfrosted glass. I literally had to watch paint dry to ensure that no snow got on any of the parts, which are pictured below after painting.

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The frosted bottle (above) and the golden work light cover, light socket, and power cord (below) (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

After the paint had dried, it was time to integrate the light fixture to the bottle. I slid the power cord through the top until the end which plugged into the socket was mostly flush with the top, screwed in the light bulb, and attached the work lamp cover using screws to clamp the halves down. At this point, the bottle looked like this:

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The bottle lamp off (above) and on (below) (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

I still had to add the Christmas lights to the base of the lamp. This was a simple process of feeding the lights in through the bottle hole I had created. Below, the completed lamp is shown.

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The final bottle lamp (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)

My Next Steps

Overall, I’m very happy with how this lamp turned out! For my first venture into making my own furnishings, I think I got the look and function I was going for and I’m super excited to use this in my room. I would like to refine some of the integration of the parts, specifically, to fix the light bulb at the top in place, round out the edges of the cord hole, and to integrate the power for the bulb and Christmas lights into a two switch system with one power cord. Currently, the bulb at the top is powered by one cord while the Christmas lights are powered by their own cord. I also want to add a dimmer switch for the top bulb so that I can reduce the brightness of it at nighttime since the bulb is currently very bright. Lastly, I want to purchase a more robust work light cover than the one currently on the lamp since it is a bit flimsy.

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42 Comments. Leave new

The crooked construction light adds a rugged element to the piece. You were talking about fixing that but I kinda like the distortion trait it presents

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Anfal Abdulrahman
February 13, 2016 10:47 pm

industrial, elegant the words used really applicable to your project, I really like it. You might consider securing you lamp head some more for safety reasons

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I love the edison bulb, Christmas lights, and frosted glass. It would be nice to combine the cables.

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Great idea, I’ve never noticed how the shape of bottles sort of resembles the shape of lamp bases. And you can go for a variety of aesthetics too depending on what bottle you use.

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That is a super bright bulb. I love the frosted glass look though, I had no idea you could buy frosted glass paint, it turned out really nice. If you fixed that bulb and made it one outlet plug, it’d be a really nice final product.

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Like the old school light used, good bottle shape to mimic a lamp, would like to see the top straitened maybe replace with a bit of wire caging rather than plastic. Think once the changes are complete you have a great piece. Use sand to weight down the lamp.. Mom trick ha ha.

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Awesome idea I love this! Would definitely be cool to try with unique bottles and glass containers.

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Samantha Maierhofer
February 10, 2016 11:37 pm

Roshan it looks awesome! I love the frost in the glass. I also like the aesthetic, almost industrial feel that the bulb gives off. Great work!

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The frosted glass spray turned out great! In addition to adding a weight to the bottom you could also glue rubber stoppers to the bottom so it won’t slide around

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Nicholas Flood
February 10, 2016 8:44 pm

I really like the idea of putting rubber bands on the bottle before frosting it. I personally think the styles of the base and the top contrast a bit too much, but that’s also what makes it unique. It grabs my attention because it doesn’t make sense. It’s a little surreal. Good work!

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Ashley Zimmerer
February 10, 2016 4:44 pm

I really like the glass bottle! Adding the frost is a great touch. Using rubber bands to keep the glass clear in places is a great idea. I like the combination of the delicateness of the glass and lights with the industrial light bulb and cage on top. Maybe you should look for a better cage, one that’s made of a thinner material. A metal base that matches the gold up top would look kinda neat and add weight so hopefully the lamp won’t fall over. This is the kind of thing I could see myself making. Great job, it turned out awesome!

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The lamp design looks great. I always enjoying hearing other people struggle to success with their projects too. If you wanted to keep the aesthetic of the Edison and work shade. Maybe add a piece of black metal of sheet metal to the inside of the shade.

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Excellent lighting fixture design. If you are interested in furthering this idea, I think the addition of different metals, glass, acrylic, and other materials that would catch the light in interesting ways would look nice.

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It looks great next to the green bamboo. Have you considered any color accents?

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Joseph Yoshimura
February 10, 2016 12:41 pm

Great job Roshan! It is even more beautiful in real life than in the pictures! Especially the frosted glass.

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Awesome idea using rubber bands to make stripes in the frosted bottle.

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The bottle turned out great. I think a wicker structure around the bulb would look nice.

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Meridith Richter
February 10, 2016 12:40 pm

It’s a good idea to add the Christmas lights in the lower half of the lamp. It would be really cool to be able to switch between the two or have both on. Nice job!

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Sreyas Krishnan
February 10, 2016 12:40 pm

Frosted glass looks really cool! I like the idea of adding a dimmer switch and making it possible to independently light up either the top or the christmas lights, that’s probably the next natural step. That bulb is BRIGHT!

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Roshan, I really like the look of the lamp. I think it was really cool using an old whiskey bottle. I think a dimmer is must but I really like this Edison style bulb.

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Have you thought about cutting the wiring for the Christmas lights and joining the cord into a single cable, so you don’t have to have two outlets taken up by a single lamp?

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Peter Brunsgaard
February 10, 2016 12:39 pm

You and Tom should get together, and have him sow you a starburst lamp shade for the top. It turned out really well!

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I like how your lamp turned out. The combination of small lights behind the frosted glass, and the main bulb is very cool. It is also a great touch that you can use the base for dim light or turn the bulb on seperately for brighter.

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Jacob McCormick
February 10, 2016 12:39 pm

I’m glad you survived the manufacturing process.

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I really like the aesthetic of your lamp. I’m surprised that you dremelled the bottom of the lamp while in the tub, seems rather dangerous, but if it works. I like your ideas for improvements for your lamp. Great project.

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Great idea to use the rubber bands. Really tied the industrial/modern look with the frosted glass. Wouldn’t have thought that would have worked. Good idea with the dimmable feature that gives you options.

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That looks pretty and if you did not have the bulb on, it might looks like the stars. I wish the frame around the top light was more in tune with the bottle aesthetic. I like how the bottle muffles the light. Good job. Perhaps don’t use power tools in the bathtub in the future.

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very impressive that you succeed drilling a hole through a glass bottle. The design is very interesting and I like the frost glass feel. Great design overall!

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Cool project, I didn’t know they sold frosted glass spray. I really like the frosted look. It makes a nice looking street lamp, but I wonder how it is to have in a room since it’s very bright.

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I like the warm look you went for. It looks great how you spray painted the bottle to give it that frosted look. I also like how you used the smaller christmas lights inside of it.

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I really like the rope lights in the base of the lamp. I had no idea you could frost glass with spray paint. This lamp turned out way cool!

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I didn’t realize that you had frosted it yourself – it’s a sweet idea to do that rubber band trick to add clears bands!

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Rachel Grosskrueger
February 10, 2016 12:38 pm

I love the frosted glass design you were able to make! Making a whole set of these could be really beautiful and amazing! Also hanging this lamp could be really beautiful!

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Gardner Nichols
February 10, 2016 12:38 pm

I really like the frosted glass and the pattern on the bottle. I personally like the ambient, almost calm, light form the bottle a lot more than the light on top. Perhaps you could implement the christmas lights more than the Edison bulb. Nice job!

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Chip Bollendonk
February 10, 2016 12:37 pm

Neat frosted glass spray paint. This looks instagram classy.

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Thomas Brunsgaard
February 10, 2016 12:37 pm

The frosted outside makes the LED strand on the inside look really nice. Sometimes Christmas lights a really right, and burn your eyes when looking at them. Did you have to sand the outside before spraying it? Nice job Roshan!

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The base produces a nice glow. The light on top might benefit from a shade of some sort, a frosted glass one to match perhaps?

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I really like this idea of having light coming through a bottle. I like the lights within the bottle, but am not sure it works well with the light on top. It doesn’t seem as though they are parts of the same whole, but rather two separate projects. It may just be the light quality from both areas of light. I really like the form though and the soft quality of light.

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Christopher Coffman
February 10, 2016 12:30 pm

Turned out great! I have something very similar to this in my room, but I had to purchase it. Well done.

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Joseph Yoshimura
February 7, 2016 6:17 pm

This is really impressive how this turned out! I like the approach that you decided to take and how you made it so classy. The sweeping curves and the frosted glass are exceptionally beautiful. In addition, it appears that you have experience in photography for the images of your project that you posted look great. If you do continue working on projects like this then it would be cool to try to do the other method of somehow putting the light in the bottle and having a somewhat tinted feel to it. I think that could potentially be even more elegant.

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Very cool lamp! I am curious about how you widened the hole in the bottle for the wires. Other than that I think you did a good job documenting our steps and design. Good problem solving with shaving bits off to fit the plug through the hole. Do you thing there would have been a more efficient solution? I love the Christmas lights inside the bottle, looks great.

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I like the contrast between the refined look at the base, and the rugged, industrial look at the top. I do think it could be shinier up top though.

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