How to Make Light Bulbs Blink

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Things You'll Need

  • Button flasher or flashing light control adapter

  • 60-watt maximum incandescent light bulb

  • Light bulb socket or lamp

Tip

Check your local hardware store for button flashers. You can also find blue 60-watt button flashers for sale at several web sites for less than $10 as of November 2010. Button flashers of higher maximum wattage are difficult to find.

Light strands such as twinkle lights can be made to blink by replacing the bulb nearest the power source with a special blinking bulb.

Specialty light bulbs and decor devices, such as as bulbs designed to flicker like a flame or to turn on and off at random, are available from specialty lighting shops and Halloween-themed stores.

Warning

Unplug a lamp or turn off any light fixture before replacing its bulb. Allow a bulb to cool off before unscrewing it.

You can recognize an incandescent bulb by the filament.

There are several ways to make an ordinary light bulb blink. Building simple circuitry to make LED lights flash is one option, or go the pre-made route for a special device designed to make incandescent lights blink. Some screw-in socket controls work with a normal light switch to make a bulb blink. Pin flashers sit between the plug and outlet but are prone to fail as the wire that heats and cools the filament can burn out. The cheapest and simplest solution is a button flasher.

Step 1

Unscrew the light bulb from the socket.

Step 2

Place the button flasher in the socket if the socket faces up. If it faces down, you will have to either turn it up or sideways to insert the button flasher or balance the button flasher on the contact end as you insert the bulb and screw it upward into place. If using the flashing light control adapter, thread the device onto the bulb base, much like placing a bulb in a socket.

Step 3

Screw the light bulb or flashing adapter with attached bulb into the socket. When you turn the light on, the bulb will flash. Some button flashers will make the bulb blink 65 to 85 times per minute, but this may vary based on the brand.

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Lawrence Nyveen

Lawrence Nyveen has been a freelance editor, writer and researcher since 1993. He was editor of Netsurfer Digest and now teaches journalism at the college level. He is involved in screenwriting and with military history. His most recent book was "Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service: 1948-1950." Nyveen holds a graduate diploma in journalism from Concordia University in Montreal.