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The Lightbulb Diorama Part 2 -
How to Hollow Out a Lightbulb


This is part 2 of the make a diorama inside a lightbulb. If you need to go to the beginning of this tutorial it is located here: Make a castle diorama inside a bulb


I also have a video that shows how to do this complete process.

Types of lightbulbs

Here are a few different bulbs. You can see I have the clear ones and a frosted one. The clear ones are vanity bulb style and larger than the normal light bulb which is great for our project. It gives us a little bit more room for the diorama. The frosted bulb is no problem because the frosting comes out easily. You just wipe the inside with a paper towel.


The tools needed

Here are some simple tools you need to hollow out a lightbulb. A coat hanger, a small file, pliers, side cutters, safety glasses and safety gloves. The glasses and gloves are very important. Do not attempt to hollow out a bulb without them. Flying debris can get in your eyes. And holding the bulb can cause you to squeeze it and break it right in your hand.


remove the bottom contact

Using a pair of side cutters attempt to gently lift up the edge of the contact button. This is a soft metal and you may be able to lift it easily. If so then you can pull on it until it comes off the bulb.


file the contact on the bulb

If you have trouble removing the contact you can simply file it with a small file. It will file very easily because it is a soft metal. Once you have filed a few deep furrows in it you should be able to lift it right off with your side cutters.


Lifting the contact

This picture shows the contact being lifted off the bulb.


Insert a file into the hole

Now insert a file into the hole and lever it so the insulating ring cracks. you will then be able to cut the ring with your side cutters into pieces and remove the pieces right out. This insulating material is hard and it will shatter and pieces will fly around so wear your safety glasses.


Inside the bulb

If you look inside the bulb you will see the stem that holds the filament. There are actually two stems, one inside the other.


insert file and snap the stem

Insert a strong metal object like a file into the hole, push all the way down then lever it sideways until the stem breaks. You may get two stems that break individually. First the internal stem breaks, Then the external stem breaks.


Junk in bulb

Now you should be able to tip the bulb over and get all the junk out. You may need needle nose pliers to help work all the pieces out.


file the glass and the brass for safety

Now file the brass and the ring of broken glass just inside the neck of the bulb. Remove any sharp areas. this is for safety.


Clean out the frosting

Wrap a paper towel around the end of a coat hanger and use it to clean out the inside of the bulb and you are done. You are now ready to make the diorama!!

NextOkay, let's start building this diorama