They have been filling rooms with light, color and scent for years, and the trend continues. Do-it-yourselfers enjoy making their own silicone light bulbs for the variety, cost savings and craft factor. A silicone bulb can wash a room in color while adding a subtle hint of cinnamon or another scent that fills the room with warmth as well as light.
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Prep and Supplies
The bulb you choose should be relatively small and round for easy dipping. Use clear or opaque 100 percent silicone caulking in a tube. An old yogurt container or small plastic tub can be used to hold the warm silicone. Silicone also comes in a jar specifically made for dipping, and can be found at most craft store chains. Gather your wire or hooks and any ornamental items you plan to place on the malleable silicone. Prep the place where you intend to hang the bulbs to dry before you begin. A hanger or towel rack can work just fine. Silicone can put off some serious fumes, so ventilate the room or perform this craft outside. Make sure to use gloves as the silicone is warm and can irritate your skin.
How to Make the Bulb
Test the bulbs to make sure they aren't dead before you go through the trouble of crafting them. Wrap wire around the metal end of the bulb so they can hang upside down when you are done. Place the bulb in the empty tub and mark on the side of the container where you want the silicone to end on the bulb. Fill the container to that point with the silicone. Put the silicone into the tub in small amounts at a time and tap the container to rid the silicone of bubbles as you go. Heat the silicone for about 60 seconds in a microwave. Hold the base of the bulb and slowly dip it into the silicone, then slowly pull it out to form a peak. Hang it to dry for at least 24 hours.
Tips for Different Effects
If you want to add color or scent to your silicone, add it in after you first remove it from the microwave. For scents, three drops is usually plenty for a small bulb. Don't stir too quickly and create bubbles – unless that is the aesthetic you are attempting to achieve. If you want a grubby look, add coffee grounds. You can also add glitter, candy sprinkles or plastic dots to the silicone. The color will look darker when the silicone is warm and dry to a softer shade. To remove the silicone and start over, wipe it off with a paper towel and then remove any leftovers with a swipe of isopropyl alcohol. Don't be surprised if a whiff of smoke comes off a scented or colored bulb when it is first plugged in. It's simply steam from the process and won't last or cause any damage.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.