10 Ideas For Up-cycling Light Bulbs Into Christmas Ornaments

Upcycling Lightbulbs


 After making a Santa ornament from an old light bulb last year, I began thinking about what other ornaments I could make by up-cycling, or repurposing old light bulbs. So I started saving my burned out light bulbs.

Recycling or reusing old burned out light bulbs is hot. Check out Pinterest or Google and you will see what I mean. Creative ideas abound from tiny oil lamps to salt and pepper shakers.

I have shared some ideas I came up with for 10 really cool Christmas ornaments using old light bulbs. Make one, three or 10 of them. Better yet, let my ideas inspire you to come up with your own using craft supplies you already have!

Don’t leave lights on all over the house to get your light bulbs. That’s not a very green thing to do. Check your lamps and light fixtures. I’ll bet you will come up with a few burned-out bulbs. Or ask your neighbors for some. I promise they won’t think you’re crazy!

General Directions For Making Light Bulb Ornaments

The trick is in the painting, drying and gluing techniques. When painting the bulbs matte colors, use fast-drying acrylic paints. Lay them on a paper towel to dry. Turn the bulb over, then touch up the side that was laying on the paper towel. Touch up, and do more than one coat if needed.

For all but Santa, the Elf, Rudolph, the Grinch, Vintage and Glitter Globe, begin by spray painting the screw-on tops gold or silver. This will make them look like ornament hangers. Wrap a paper towel around the bulb to keep the spray paint from getting on the bulb part. Prop them up in empty12-ounce jars to dry. For the ones sprayed gold (Vintage and Glitter Globe), the inside lid of the spray paint can make the perfect prop for drying.

winter 13
Begin by spraying tops gold or silver.
Dry painted bulbs with acrylic on paper towel. Then turn it over and touch up the other side.Lay back down on the dry side.
Lid of spray paint can serves as a drying rack.
Lid of spray paint can serves as a drying rack.




winter 18(1)


 Santa is the CEO of Christmas. So my new Santa light bulb ornament needed to be really special.


How to Make

    • Paint bulb white and leave an oval for the face.
    • Use swirly brush strokes for his head.
    • Paint on a pink face. Dry.
    • Add google eyes and a small red pom pom nose.
    • Make hat. Cut a circle 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter from red craft felt.
    • Cut a slit from one edge to the circle’s midpoint.
    • Form into a cone shape and hot glue it together.
    • The flap will be the pointy end of the hat. Glue on a white pom-pom and form the brim from cotton.
    • Tear cotton balls apart to form Santa’s hair, eyebrows, and mustache.








Santa’s Elf has a red and green hat and a happy smile.


How to Make

    • Paint bulb with flesh-colored paint. Allow to dry.
    • Make a hat like Santa’s using green felt, red felt brim and red pom pom.
    • Draw elf ears on flesh-colored paper.
    • Cut out and glue flush with bulb, then bend back.
    • Attach hat with hot glue.
    • Glue on google eyes and a pom pom nose.
    • Paint on a smile and eyelashes with a thin brush and black paint.
    • Attach a ribbon hanger with hot glue.



Rudolph Light Bulb Ornament
Rudolph Light Bulb Ornament


What would Santa do without his loyal reindeer?


How to make 

    • Paint bulb with brown acrylic paint.
    •  Add a red pom pom nose.
    • Bend brown chenille stems to look like antlers.
    • Glue on large googly eyes.
    • Paint on a smile and high eyebrows in black.



The Grinch 

The Grinch Light Bulb Ornament
The Grinch Light Bulb Ornament


That grouchy Grinch won’t get by with stealing Christmas!


How to Make

    • Paint the entire light bulb green.
    • Make hat like Santa’s
    • When dry, paint on a white mouth and green eyes. (It will take several coats.)
    • Allow to dry.
    • With black paint and thin brush outline eyes, mouth and draw teeth.
    • Glue on googly eyes.
    • Glue pieces of black chenille stems for grouchy eyebrows.Attach hat and ribbon hanger with hot glue.


For the next two light bulb ornaments, spray the entire bulb gold or silver. Use the inside lid of the spray paint can as a prop to dry. Spray again to touch up. Dry. These take some patience but are well worth the effort.



Vintage Light Bulb Ornament
Vintage Light Bulb Ornament


Remember ornaments with glittery rings around them? Blue, silver, and gold ones give this ornament a retro look.


How to Make:

    • Spray and dry bulb with method in general directions.
    • When dry, start putting rings of glue and glitter.
    • Let each ring dry before adding another.
    • Alternate colors.
    • Hot glue on a pretty hanger.


Glitter Globe

Glitter Globe Light Bulb Ornament
Glitter Globe Light Bulb Ornament


This is a spectacular ornament with lots of bling.


How to Make:

    • Spray and dry bulb using method in general directions.
    • When dry, brush on a wash of part Elmer’s glue and part water.
    • Sprinkle on iridescent glitter lavishly.
    • Add a row of gold sequins at the top.
    • Prop in the mouth of the jar to dry.
    • Glue on a pretty hanger with hot glue.




Sparkle Light Bulb Ornament
Sparkle Light Bulb Ornament


Bright, cool colors and a light sprinkling of iridescent glitter help these ornaments reflect the lights on the tree.


How to Make:

    • Paint bulb and allow to dry.
    • Spray lightly with clear Krylon to help make it shiny. (optional).
    • Brush on mixture of one part water and one part Elmer’s glue.
    • Sprinkle lightly with iridescent glitter.
    • Add a silvery ribbon hanger with hot glue.





Victorian Light Bulb Ornament
Victorian Light Bulb Ornament


Pink paint, lace, and delicate beads give this light bulb ornament a romantic Victorian look.


How to Make:

    • Paint pink and let dry.
    • Spray with clear Krylon for a shiny look (optional).
    • Glue on beads and lace with tacky glue.
    • Hot  glue on a silvery ribbon hanger.




Decoupage Light Bulb Ornament
Decoupage Light Bulb Ornament

Modge Podge and a Christmas symbol cut from a glossy December magazine make a very simple and very impressive light bulb ornament. Add a snappy matching bow on top to add pizazz.

How to Make:

    • Find and cut symbol like holly, wreath, candy cane.
    • Paint bulb to match and let dry.
    • Use brush and Modge Podge to attach symbol.
    • Let Modge Podge come to a clear dry. Add another coat and dry.Spray lightly with clear Krylon. 
    • When dry, hot glue on a bow and hanger in two colors, like red and green.




Stained Glass


Stained Glass Light Bulb Ornament
Stained Glass Light Bulb Ornament

Scraps of colored tissue and Modge Podge make this ornament reminiscent of a stained glass window.

How to Make:

    • Cut shapes from colored tissue.
    • Attach them to the bulb with a brush and Modge Podge.
    • Overlap gaps. Continue brushing on Modge Podge.
    • Allow to dry. A light coat of clear Krylon will make it shiny.
    • Hot glue on a ribbon hanger.




3 Replies to “10 Ideas For Up-cycling Light Bulbs Into Christmas Ornaments”

Leave a Reply