Turn Your Old Light Bulbs into Energy Efficient Mini Greenhouses

So your old light bulb burns out. What do you do? First, you probably curse it for burning out at the worst possible time; not that there’s ever a good time for it to burn out. And then you unscrew it, look at it one last time, shake your head, and throw it out. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to have another purpose for these glass bulbs? Cue superhero music: There is! Turn those old, energy sucking, inorganic light bulbs into useful, organic, mini greenhouses. It’s simple, fun, and a great lesson for the kids.

Before you get started, though, you’re going to need the following materials:

  • Burned out light bulb
  • Glue
  • Socket to hold the light bulb in place
  • Rubber piece to hold the socket in place
  • Escutcheon (piece that will serve as the bottom of the light bulb and will hold it above the cup)
  • Small plastic cup
  • Soil
  • Pliers
  • File
  • Compressor
  • Drill with drill bit

Once you gather the materials, follow these steps to create the mini light bulb greenhouse:

  • Prepare the light bulb by using the pliers to pull out the bottom contact. Then use the file to break the glass between the two contacts and smooth the edges. If it’s a frosted light bulb, clean the powder with a rag and water. Clean out any broken glass before proceeding.
    NOTE: This step works best if completed over an empty box that can catch the broken glass and other pieces that are getting cleaned out of the bulb.
    • Prepare the base of the soon to be mini green house by first using the drill to widen the bottom of the socket. Make sure the socket fits snug in the bottom of the light bulb. Glue the socket to the rubber piece and let it dry. Then glue that to the escutcheon and let it dry.
    • Fill the plastic cup with soil and add seeds or a small plant. Make sure to water the soil so that it’s damp.
    • Attach the escutcheon, rubber, socket piece to the top of the plastic cup. If there is a plant already growing, push it through the hole in the top.
    • Attach the bulb to the top of the escutcheon, rubber, socket piece.

    Voila! You now have your very own mini light bulb greenhouse. Make sure to place it in a well-lit area and water as needed. Your kids will love creating this simple project and you’ll enjoy teaching them about saving the planet at the same time. And so ends this edition of superhero crafts. Until next time folks, stay safe, stay green, and check back for more!

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