How To Upcycle Light Bulbs Into Hot Air Balloons

Caroline Malcolm (aka me!) demonstrates how to upcycle light bulbs into hot air balloons.  I first made one of these, using a larger light bulb, and personalised it as a gift for my niece Natalie.  Garages across the globe, throw away used light bulbs removed from cars every day.  Why not ask them to keep some for you so that you can upcycle them…

In the next video I’ll show you how to make the decorative stand to hold them.  I will also do a video to show you how to make a hanging mobile feature with the miniature hot air balloons and some driftwood.

I hope you enjoy the video and I’m sure that my future videos will improve with practice!  I took some photos of the wrapped wire to let you see this up close as it’s not the easiest thing to follow on the video.


The materials and equipment that you will need to make your upcycled hot air balloons are shown below.

  • Old light bulbs
  • Tissue paper (preferably used!)
  • Thin wire (I used 0.4mm gauge)
  • Translucent nylon thread
  • PVA / white craft glue (2 parts mixed with 1 part water)
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Paint brush
  • Pegs and bottle tops (to balance the bulbs on)
  • Ruler
  • Wire snips or scissors
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Hot glue gun (or superglue)

Please remember that the hot air balloons are made of glass and should not be left within reach of young children.

Did you know?

A compact fluorescent light bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than the old-fashioned kind and lasts up to 10 times longer. Unfortunately fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury that can end up in the air or water if not disposed of properly.  Please recycle your energy saving bulbs.

Contact us if you have any tutorials that you’d like us to share.

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