Lightbulb Ornaments; Decoupage!

Recently, as in the past couple of months, I have been saving burnt out light bulbs, not the fancy LED swirl ones, but the older bulb ones. I had no idea what I was saving them for, but I knew I would figure it out.

Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I did. I was stumbling around on the internet and came across decoupaging, again. I have wanted to decoupage about ten times, but never got the chance or the right surface. After going to a couple of craft fairs, buying a decoupaged tray and seeing lots of lightbulb ornaments, I figured I would try to mesh the idea for myself.

It worked great!!! I hope you can try it, they turn out really very neat.

Though they are only for decoration, given they are burnt out, I wouldn’t try doing this with ones that you would still light up.

Here are the things you will need… Lightbulbs that are burnt out and cleaned, water and a little soap on a dishcloth will do great, do not immerse them in water, just wipe clean. Scissors, some string, any kind will do…

You will need a decoupage medium and brushes, we used foam ones. We did Mod Podge for our medium and it worked great! On the left is the gloss kind, leaves a nice glossy look and on the right is the glitter infused sparkle.

Now you will need images to decoupage. This gets a little tricky, there are rules. The image of your choosing needs to be something printed. So Magazines, music, books, scrapbook paper, etc. It cannot be anything from a newspaper or inkjet printer, the ink will smear all over your surface.

Take some string and tie it around the top of the bulb. Just one little knot will hold it fine, leave lots of excess string so you can hang the bulbs up to dry.

Cut out your image with the scissors or an exacto knife to the shape and size you want them. My Mistake! The more images the better, so cut out a lot of them! I kept having to go back and cut some more out, which makes for a very long process.

Now start putting the images onto your surface, we used the regular gloss Mod Podge for this. You have two options for adhering your images onto the lightbulb or onto your surface. You can paint the medium on the back of the image OR

You can put the medium on the surface and then stick the pictures. For the Mickey Mouse we put the medium on the back, but for the music, we put it on the lightbulb. It just depends on the thickness of the paper and how well it will stay itself. If your image paper is thin, then put the medium on the surface of what you are decoupaging. If it is thicker paper, put it on the back of the image.

Now press the images on however you like. Overlapping is key.

If you can’t get the images to flatten on their own, you can use a popsicle stick or the blunt side of a butter knife.

Like so! Smooth them down. Also if the image is big, start from the center and press out.

Keep covering until the entire surface is covered, or about as much as you want is covered. We left lots of open spaces on the mickey mouse bulb, Snug didn’t want the pictures to overlap, she wanted to be able to see everyone.

Once you are all done covering the bulbs with images, let them hang to dry. I tied ours onto a hanger. You want the medium to dry completely before you put on anymore. This doesn’t take long, 15 minutes or less.

Now you have to seal and protect your images, so take the decoupaged bulb and the medium and cover the whole thing.

It should look like this, when wet, it will dry clear and hard. For the Mickey bulb we used the sparkle Mod Podge.

For the music we used the gloss.

Back on the hanger they go to dry! It will take a little longer for these to dry, probably around an hour or so. You will be able to tell when they are dry, by looking at them.

After they are dry, put another layer of the medium on them. You can put another layer after the second layer, if necessary, you want all your images covered and sealed. If you have corners or edges that are still sticking up, you will want to put more medium on them, press them down and seal them again.

Here is Mickey all nice and sealed.

And the music!

To make them into ornaments, we added some ribbon around the top. For this part, you will need ribbon and hot glue or strong glue.

We took a good length of ribbon and wrapped it around the ‘screw in part’ a couple of times. We tied a couple of knots in the back and hot glued the knots. With the strings from the knots we tied them up at the top to make the string for the ornament to hang. Then we got a separate piece of ribbon and tied a bow, which we hot glued onto the front of the ornament.

There is a picture of how we tied them off in the back.

We are giving the music ones away as gifts and the mickey one is for Snug.

This was a very fun project, Snug and I had a great time! I have gone on to decoupage other glass ornaments for a fundraiser. In fact I have two more to do today, though I am really anxious to try decoupaging on a flat surface. Last tip for decoupaging on something round, the smaller the picture the flatter it will be.

Happy Decoupaging!


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