Wine bottle pendant lights are one of those Pinterest projects that every wife seems to love and every husband insists he can make, but doesn’t. Trust me, I know! I heard that conversation play out a dozen times when I tried to sell some at a local event. But don’t worry–I’m here to help. This post will teach you how to make your own wine bottle pendant light. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make ir yourself, that’s no problem! We sell wine bottle pendant lights in our store as well.
- A putty knife or paint scraper for removing labels
- Kinkajou Bottle Cutter
- Abrasives for sanding glass. Diamond pads or wet/dry sandpaper work well.
- Wire Cutter
- Wine bottle (one per light)
- Keyless Lamp Socket (one per light)
- Rayon Retro Wire (a few feet per light)
- 0000 Steel Wool for removing adhesive
- Goo Gone for removing adhesive
- 50/50 Vinegar water for bottle cleaning
- Newspaper for bottle cleaning
- Pot for boiling water
- Sink or tub for soaking bottles
How to Make a Wine Bottle Pendant Light
Follow along to learn how to make your own wine bottle pendant light. If you find the process to daunting or the materials too expensive, you can always buy a wine bottle pendant light from our store.
Step 1: Get Wine Bottles
Before you can start making wine bottle pendant lights, you need to round up some wine bottles. You’ll want standard (750ml) or magnum (1.5L) bottles. Anything smaller won’t accept a light bulb. Anything larger is heavy, looks silly, and is difficult to cut.
Get Extra Bottles
You’ll want to have extra bottles available. particularly the first time you try this project. When you get to the glass cutting step you’ll find that, no matter how hard you try to score a perfect line, every so often the glass will break crooked, so having some backups available is important.
Where to Get Wine Bottles
Where can you find wine bottles? Try your recycling bin. Let’s face it: if you’re cool with having wine bottles hanging from your ceilings, there’s a good chance you like to imbibe.
If you don’t have any just ask around: we’ve all got friends who’ve discovered the wine loophole (it’s perfectly acceptable to get hammered at home alone. So long as it’s wine. Anything else and you’re a sad, pathetic drunk!) A quick Facebook message usually yields more bottles than you need.
If all else fails, go dumpster diving. Find out when your township’s recycling center is open, dawn some gloves and boots, and hop in.
Selecting a Bottle Color
What color bottles do you want? It’s up to you. I’ve found that clear glass just looks dull and brown glass is too dark. Green bottles look great as do blue when you can find them.
Step 2: Clean the Bottles
Bottles aren’t hard to clean if you have the right materials, and prepare them ahead of time. I created an article and video previously about how to clean wine bottles previously. The only update to that information I have is to get a bottle of Goo Gone to clean up the adhesive backing left from the stickers.
Step 3: Cut the Bottles
There several ways to cut glass bottles and they all suck to varying degrees. If bottle cutting is something you plan on doing more than once, I recommend you pick up a Kinkajou Bottle Cutter from Bottle Cutting, Inc. It eliminates much of the trial and error from the process, and they sell a bundle that has all the stuff you need to cut and smooth bottle glass. If you decide to save money and cut your bottles a different way that’s fine. Catch up with me in step 4.
Step 4: Smooth the Glass
After you cut the glass it will leave incredibly sharp edges that risk cutting your hands when you handle the bottle. The company that sells the Kinkajou also sells a kit including the Kinkajou, several flexible diamond sanding pads, and a bunch of wet/dry sandpaper. This is what I use to smooth the glass, but it does cost some money. Several grits of wet-dry sandpaper from 180 up through 220 will work just as well. Make sure you sand both the inner and outer lip of the bottle.
Step 5: The Final Cleaning
Now that the edges have been sanded smooth you’ll notice glass dust all over the bottle. This is why we didn’t give the bottle a “final cleaning” any earler. I clean glass bottles the same way I clean windows: using newspaper and warm vinegar water.
Step 6: Install the Electrical Components
To turn your bottle into a pendant lamp you’ll need two things: a keyless lamp socket (a lamp socket without an on/off switch), and a length of lamp wire that will position the lamp where you want it verticall y below the ceiling.
I like to use Rayon Antique Wire for my bottle lamps: it gives them a retro feel that looks great with the bottle. Modern Rayon Antique Wire looks like the old nylon-covered wire you can run into in old house remodels with knob-and-tube wiring, but don’t worry: under the Rayon covering it’s safe, modern, insulated copper wire.
You can order keyless lamp socket online or pick one up at your local hardware store. I use brass lamp sockets but they come in a variety of finishes. Just make sure you buy the type that fully encloses the wiring.
Cutting the Wire
Measure and cut the wire using a pair of wire cutters. Measure an extra foot to accommodate the extra wire you’ll need to wire into the electrical circuit at the ceiling and on the other end to run down the neck of the bottle and wire into the lamp socket. I like my lamps to hang about 12” from the ceiling, so I measure 24” of wire.
Untwist about an inch of wire on either end, and strip about ¾” of copper wire using a wire cutter. The Rayon Retro Wire that I use use 18 gauge. Make sure you use the appropriate gauge when stripping your own wire. Once stripped, choose an end of the wire to be the lamp end. You’ll take each bunch of stranded copper and twist the bunch together and then bend it into a hook to go around the terminals on the lamp socket.
Attach the wire to the Lamp Socket
Attach the copper wire to the terminals. The neutral wire (usually the one with white insulation, but not always) attaches to the silver terminal. The hot wire (usually the one with black insulation, but not always) attaches to the brass terminal. The hook should go around the terminal in the direction that pulls the wire towards the terminal when you tighten it. If that’s not the case, loosen the terminal and reverse the direction of the wire. Ensure that both terminals are hand-tightened with a screw driver.
Knot the Wire
Next we need to tie a knot in the wire just above the lamp socket. This knot needs to be tight to the socket, and not so big that you can’t hide it beneath the lamp socket’s cap. This knot basically prevents the wires from being pulled away from their terminals by gravity.
Finally, pass the other end of the lamp wire through the lamp socket’s cap and push the cap tight onto the lamp socket.
Install the Lamp Hardware in the Bottle
Installing your assembled lamp socket is easy. Just pass the loose end of the wire through the bottom of the bottle and up through the neck. Pull the wire out the other side and pull it tight so the lamp socket pulls tight against the inside of the bottle’s neck.
Step 7: Installation
Install your wine bottle pendant light light like any other pendant light. Your mileage may vary! A pendant light requires a canopy to cover the overhead lighting box. If you don’t already have one you can pick one up online or at your local hardware store.
First, ensure that the lighting circuit doesn’t have power by switching off it’s breaker at the breaker box. Now you can safely install the light.
If you already have a canopy on the ceiling go ahead and remove it. Now pass the loose end of your pendant light through the hole in the center of the canopy. Make another knot in the wire above the canopy, which will prevent gravity from pulling the wire out of the connections you’re about to make.
Install the light into the circuit by connecting the neutral (usually white) wires and hot (usually black) wires with appropriately-sized wire nuts. If your wire has a ground wire, attach that too.
Re-attach the canopy to the wiring box and flip the breaker back to an on position.