A Lightbulb Idea

Like most people I have a huge stash of used industrial lightbulbs in my basement. They’re right next to the alphabetized collection of moss varieties.

I know exactly what I want to do with these lightbulbs but I haven’t had time to do it. That’s really just me not having my priorities straight. Any real crafter would have given up bathing long ago if it would afford them more time to work on projects.

I’m a crafting failure by purist standards.

Truth be told, I’ve never even made a tea pot cozy.  Or a toilet paper cozy.  None of the cozies, really.  So I’ll say it again before the card carrying crafters can … I’m a crafting failure.

BUT … I have redeemed myself slightly with this next little project.

I was running down into the basement the other night to grab my 4th favourite glue gun, a box of gold sparkles and a branch from my driftwood collection when the idea hit me.  Actually it was a cobweb that hit me, which sent me diving to the ground right beside the long forgotten box of lightbulbs.  As I pulled myself up it happened.  A thought pulsing out of all of the pores in my scalp to form the shape of a great BIG lightbulb over my head.  I HAD AN IDEA!

I have a huge glass cloche which I’m constantly changing.  Sometimes I have antlers under the cloche, sometimes silver candlesticks and sometimes … the famous moss.

Until I had time to do my *real* lightbulb project, these lightbulbs were going under glass.

Glass Cloche


But that was only part of the lightbulb idea.  The other part was to set the base of the lightbulbs in a candlestick so they could stand up straight.  For years I’ve been wanting to put these lightbulbs on my mantle, but couldn’t figure out how to display them so they stood up straight.

Enter the dollar store glass candlestick.  All I did was put some strong double sided tape around the base of the lightbulb to make sure it stays stuck.


You don’t need a huge glass cloche to have the same effect.  Just putting regular sized lightbulbs on tall, silver candlesticks would look great.
Panton Chair


I originally had 3 bulbs in the cloche.  The two in the candlesticks and one laying down, but even though I liked that everything was clear it didn’t command you look at it.  Just adding the miniature Panton S chair gave a solid presence that forces your eye to the cloche.

Plus it matches my desk chair.


The moral of this story?  Sometimes all it takes is to wipe away a few cobwebs to come up with a great idea.

By popular demand … LexMod Mini Panton Chair in White “>you can buy the mini Panton S Chair from Amazon by clicking here.


  1. Carla Barnes says:

    I bow before your brilliance once again. Even UNLIT bulbs shine in your home! Love you!

  2. DianneT says:

    Great idea! But where has your chair with the rug on it gone? I LOVED that chair…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Dianne – The throw comes off the chair in the summertime. It’s hard to handle that chair when it’s 100 degrees with 110% humidity outside. That chair is now THIS chair, (you can only see the corner of it) and it’s in the living room. It will get it’s throw again come October 15th or so. ~ karen!

  3. kathe says:


  4. Marti says:

    Wow, now I feel so educated about what to call a giant white plastic chair that looks like someone’s ugly slurpy tongue, if it were cool, sleek and white.

    And reproduced in miniature. Panton S chair. Who knew?

    Oh. Yeah. Karen.

  5. theresa says:

    This is very cool- I have a brick niche really for a mantle- you’ve got me thinking could i do this and get them to light up?? the miniature chair was a stroke of brilliance. have to start looking at light bulbs in a whole new light-(sorry I had to!)

  6. Sue T. says:

    Wow, really cute idea Karen! Where did you find those bulbs,are they old or modern? I’ve never seen any like them.

  7. Rondina says:

    How about adding some of that moss around the bottom? I think it needs a touch of color.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rondina – No colour for me. The point of this one is for it to be clear and see through and modern. Plus for me, the moss isn’t the same feel as the bulbs or chair. I would add moss to a more organic scene though. ~ karen!

  8. Mary says:

    Cool idea.
    Curious, however, about the rug under the table. Drop Cloth?

  9. Natika says:

    Awesome idea!

  10. Lynn says:

    What a “bright” idea! And the touch with the little chair does indeed draw the eye! Karen, you are truly gifted when these things come into your head at the brush of a cobweb!!! Craft on!

  11. Suanne says:

    Great idea….Hey Karen, how come I have to open a link to each picture in order to view it? I haven’t had to do this before. (pardon my technological ineptness)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suanne. I’m not sure. You shouldn’t have to do that! Try clearing your cache. It also could just be a glitch with Flickr where I host my photos, but the pictures are showing up fine for me. Weird. ~ karen!

  12. Melissa says:

    As someone who hangs on to cool finds just knowing they’ll have an eventual application, could you share with me how long you had these industrial light bulbs? I’d like to know the time span of your genius ^_^

    • Karen says:

      Melissa – I’ve had about 5 bulbs for around 3-4 years but 5 of them wasn’t enough to do what I want to do. Then this spring an electrician friend dropped a whole box of them off on my front porch. ~ karen!

      • Melissa says:

        That’s good to know. I’ve had an industrial roller (made out of wood) that I’m oddly drawn to. I do want to use it, and I’m happy to know that an idea might come out of the blue! Thanks for your time 🙂

  13. Linda J Howes says:

    Cock a doodle doo, the cleverness of you!

  14. Edith says:

    I love your silver table, too.

  15. Johan says:

    Having 46 chromosomes that make up the male genome, I don’t expect to get the purpose of this centerpiece. I am thinking you want to draw eyes to it to hide something you didn’t get to because you were busy sorting moss?
    What this cloche-ically challenged guy does get is how that first sentence delivers a chuckle while drawing me in to see just exactly where this leads. Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

  16. Nicole2 says:

    The whole thing is, well, “brilliant”! Where does one get a cute mini-chair like that?

  17. Ella says:

    You’re a very good writer! Where’d you get the cloche?

  18. Janice says:

    Hi – Can I just tell you that you’re awesome? I’m so glad you are back. When I can’t sleep – I can always look forward to checking out your post that is e-mailed to me around 1:00 – 1:30 in the morning. You make me laugh and inspire me to try to fix things myself. Granted, I almost will always hire out the big stuff, er, medium stuff, yup most stuff…but at least I’m inspired by the idea.

  19. karol says:

    Love it. I’ll have to send you a pic of the snowman I created out of the same lightbulb. 🙂

  20. Susan Preston says:

    Love the light bulb idea! Since I only use battery operated remote control candles now with no real flame the light bulb in my candle stick collection would look fabulous!! Tee hee! I will have to fight the cobwebs too since I have put away most of my candlestick holders with the troll under my basement stairs. Thanks!

  21. Terry says:

    Karen, I don’t want to cast a shadow or dim the light on this project but those metal hallide or mercury vapour bulbs you charish are a bit of a hazard. Should you drop one they do explode not just pop. Do be careful with them.

  22. Elizabeth W. says:

    Fantastic, Karen! I just love it when ideas come flying through the air like that, and you have such a knack for putting them all together. Wish I had a cloche, or some industrial bulbs….I need one more interesting tallish thing on my mantle (since I painted the top part black) and am stuck at the moment. But your creative moment will start all of our creative lightbulbs sputtering to life, I’m sure!

  23. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    glad you’re back in fightin’ form. Keep the brilliance flowing………

  24. Kat says:

    I love this! I have some really big light bulbs I have been trying to figure out a way to display them and this won’t quite work as they are so huge but at least it has my mind going again on it, now to find some cobwebs maybe something will jolt this old brain! But then again I am moving soon and maybe they will break and I won’t have to think so hard!

  25. peggy says:

    dear Karen, I don’t usually comment because I don’t know you handle that many and still have time for someone like me who hasn’t really got anything important to say. HOWEVER, I love the lightbulbs, don’t think I have ever seen any like them and you make me laugh every day, which is so important in my book. My great-grandson and I often go over all the chicken videos,they are right up there with Toy Story. Love from Michigan

  26. toekneetoni says:

    love this idea! and i love the table.
    you’ve got a great eye.

  27. Anne Wiley says:

    Very cool! I had three and turned them into dragonflies. I found a really heavy large block of wood and placed the twisted wire they were mounted on in the block. Instant art..ok it took awhile for the idea to come together. Love your idea.

  28. Elen Grey says:

    Oh, how I love this. Let me count the ways. It’s the chair. You’re right. I draws the eye. Love, love, love.

  29. Tigersmom says:

    Ok – I want the miniature Panton chair almost as much as I still want the pig salt and pepper shakers.

    I next expect to see the miniature chair starring in a Christmas centerpiece diorama surrounded by its life-size siblings.

  30. KJ says:

    Very cool! And I also love the cloche. Here are some other beautiful uses for old lightbulbs:


  31. Barbie says:

    Never thought about using light bulbs for my cloches! Thanks for the great idea!!

  32. Jeanette @ This Dusty House says:

    Hmm… I wonder how difficult it would be to modify this idea to make them functional? Run a light kit through the bottom of the cloche? It would make a pretty cool table lamp!

    • Karen says:

      Jeanette – These are industrial bulbs. The cloche would probably heat up to one billion degrees and break. But you *could* run some tiny battery operated light in there. ~ karen!

  33. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    So cool Karen..It looks great sitting buy your S chair..Still in love with that table..

  34. Elizabeth W. says:

    A bit off-topic here, but I wasn’t sure if you read the older posts at this point–there are a mere 24 hours in a day and even Super-Woman-Karen has to sleep at some point–the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, page 72, designer and co-founder of Alice Supply Company, Railie Clasen has a picture of her wood storage in there–you guessed it! PAINTED THE ENDS OF THE WOOD! Not nearly as cool as yours, and who knows, she might have copied them. She painted just three each in red and yellow.
    I think you should let them know you were first.

  35. Oriah says:

    I have an off bulb question….does your panton chair make your bum sweat? I live the look of a lot of the modern fiberglass/plastic chairs but i’m prone to sweaty-butt. It’s a curse really.

    • Karen says:

      Oriah – Mmm … well I’m sitting on it right now in a pair of shorts and my legs are sticking to it slightly. But I’ve been outside working like a dog and it is about 90 degrees out. I’ve never noticed the chair to be particularly sweaty though. ~ karen!

  36. Oriah says:

    Opps…that should be “like the look.” My fingers type faster than my brain edits.

  37. Jaime says:

    When I fall down after being attacked by spiderwebs all I get is dirty. Well done, you. I love these!

  38. Agnes says:

    I made a cozy for the “leg” of my school. http://agnesmakes.com/legwarmer-for-ocad/

    Oh and the door handles too:

  39. Nicki Woo says:

    I feel like u need to say the word cloche ten more times.. Cloche. Cloche. Cloche. Also, I in my wee many 38 years have never heard the word cloche before. Your changing lives here:)

  40. Liz says:

    So I actually do have a used industrial light bulb and a bag of moss in my basement. I just don’t have a giant cloche.

  41. I love your light bulbs. All I seem to have around here are those stylin fluorescent bulbs 🙁 Not the same effect as your display with the miniature chair against your full size! Very cool!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Art of Doing Stuff