I’ve been collecting wine bottles for the past 3 years with plans to turn them into a wine bottle lamp. I’m by no means a crafty person, but the fact that 3 empty bottles survived a move AND my massive KonMari clean out shows my dedication to this project; I wanted to make something, dang it.
After deciding it was time for the bottles to stop collecting dust, I went to googling how to actually make a wine bottle lamp. Turns out you have to cut the glass with either a glass cutter or some diamond tip tool. I didn’t have those and didn’t feel like buying them. Also, cutting glass can be dangerous.
Discouraged but not hopeless, I searched for an alternative and came across LED micro lights (aka firefly lights, moon lights, starry lights etc) and devised my own plan.
How to Make “Fireflies in a Bottle”
Step 1: Drink a bottle of wine. But not in one night.
My favorite wine is Southern Red. It’s produced by Lakeridge Winery here in Central Florida. Bet you didn’t think Florida could produce good wine did ya? It may not be all Napa Valley but it is good.
Step 2: Take off the label.
I removed my label by soaking it in warm water and Super Washing Soda. This will depend on the type of bottle you have, but I still had to scrub the glue a little.
Step 3: Clean and dry the bottle.
Thoroughly rinse your bottle inside and out. I haven’t test this yet but if you have soap residue inside your bottle, try swishing a little vinegar in it. You do not want a lot hard water marks or soap residue left because it will show through when you have your lights on.
Step 4: Buy micro lights and replacement batteries.
I had three bottles and just so happen to find a pack of 3 LED micro lights for $10. There are 20 lights on each extra thin wire and the battery pack is also small which helps disguise it. These micro lights require 2 3-volt lithium batteries and you’ll need those as well.
Step 5: Remove the screws and color the battery pack black.
The battery pack is white and coloring it black will help camouflage it when it is attached to the back of your wine bottle. I colored mine with a permanent marker. There also is the spray paint route. Also, remove the two bottom screws on the battery pack and throw them away. You don’t need them. Now, opening the battery pack to replace the batteries will be much easier.
Step 6: Gently feed the strand of lights into the wine bottle and adjust them to your liking.
You want the lights to be roughly scattered throughout the bottle; not in a clump at the bottom nor all to one side. Just play around with it.
Step 7: Attach velcro strips to the top of the bottle and to the back of the battery pack.
I used Command strips that are intended for hanging pictures up to 12 lbs (I cut off the little white tab so only the velcro was left). I realize this is overkill but I had them on hand so I used them. There may be better options out there but basically an on/off switch dangling out of your bottle is not attractive for the long haul so you want to discretely attach it somehow.
Step 8: Wait for the sun to set and enjoy your ultra-charming Fireflies in a Bottle!
Tips and Other Information
I gotta tell ya, I was feeling pretty cool when I created Fireflies in a Bottle. “This thing is AWESOME! I could sell these! I know- I’ll pin it and everyone’s gonna love it!” Then, I looked on Pinterest and discovered my Fireflies in a Bottle was already on there. Yep, someone else had already thought of it. Dang Pinterest.
BUT this version of Fireflies in a Bottle is different because they are in a wine bottle that you do not have to cut and we’re using LED micro lights instead of the standard white christmas lights.
Other Ways of Making Fireflies in a Bottle
As I learned from dream-killer Pinterest, there are other ways to make Fireflies in a Bottle. You could use a wide mouth mason jar and simply place the battery pack on the bottom and arrange your micro lights around inside. This way you can forgo my whole velcro-attachment scheme. However, I chose a DARK GLASS BOTTLE for a reason- the firefly lights look more realistic behind the dark glass. The dark glass blurs the lights and wire and adds an ambiance that is not possible with clear mason jars. I even tried placing firefly lights in a green mason jar and still prefer the dark wine bottle. A dark wine bottle is my top choice but this is YOUR craft. Try a few methods and go with what you like (get the wine bottle).
Or, if you do have a glass cutter, you could cut the bottom of the wine bottle, smooth the glass and place the battery pack/micro lights on the shelf and put the wine bottle directly on top.
How Long with Your Fireflies in a Bottle Last?
I had my bottle turned on 6 out of 7 nights for about 5 hours per night and the stock battery lasted about 2 weeks. This is why I suggest getting replacement batteries and why I made the battery pack easily accessible. Fireflies in a Bottle do not need an outlet and can be placed anywhere but the battery is small and will need to be replaced. If you want to give this as a gift, be nice and give back-up batteries as well.
I seriously cannot get enough of these bottles. So soft, so charming. Unfortunately, I think I’m giving them away as gifts. Guess I’ll have to drink another bottle of wine. Oh darn.