Transformation Tuesday: A DIY Wreath Made of Burnt-Out Lightbulbs

Reader Contribution by Jessica Kellner

In the last issue of Natural Home and Garden, we featured an excerpt from the excellent book Salvage Secrets by Joanne Palmisano. At an event about a year ago, I met one of the contributors to the book, Joanne’s good friend Shannon Quimby. Shannon is a fabulous salvage enthusiast and DIYer whose innovative REX project (the Reuse Everything Experiment) led her to create a new home out of the salvage of a delapidated one, creating virtually no waste! Since this topic is dear to my heart — last year, I wrote the recently released book Housing Reclaimed — Shannon and I found we had lots to talk about. She offers this fun project that reuses burnt-out lightbulbs to create an adorable, unique holiday wreath. Check out Shannon’s other fun DIY projects and ideas at her website

A Lightbulb Moment
Do you ever have one of those lightbulb moments? Well, I had one, literally. Instead of tossing out bad bulbs why not recycle them into something festive, original and fun? If you don’t have bunches of bulbs lying around, ask your friends and family. Before you know it, you’ll have enough for two wreaths! Not only are you reducing trash that ends up in the landfill, you are creating a beautiful piece of art.

Lightbulbs (I used 48 bulbs)
10-inch styrofoam wreath (available at craft or floral stores)
Green floral wire
Wire cutters
Two cans of red latex spray paint (always spray paint outdoors with a breathing mask; Krylon offers a lower-VOC spray paint)
Duct tape

How To:
1. Cut two pieces of wire approximately 1-foot long
2. Twist one end of wire around the neck of the bulb.
3. On the opposite side of the neck, twist the other wire around.
4. Pull pieces of wire straight down and away from the bulb so they look like prongs (see image below).

5. Repeat on all bulbs.
6. Starting with the first bulb, poke both pieces of wire through the top of the wreath form until they poke out the back.
7. From the back, pull the wire until the bulb is firmly touching the form.
8. Twist the wire together to prevent bulb from sliding.
9. Cut any extraneous wire and press wire flat against the backside of the form.
10. Continue the same process all around the wreath form.
11. Spray paint the entire wreath, making sure that everything is covered. Let dry.
12. Add strips of duct tape to the back of the wreath form to cover all the wire. 
Project courtesy Shannon Quimby; photographs by Steve Cridland