January 25, 2020

The Bottle-Lamp Adventure

Who knew a flight of fancy and a couple of videos would take us off on such a tangent?

I’ll never forget when Silke suggested that we shoot a video of me making one of the bottle lamps. The thought that nobody would watch was a front runner, but I was also thinking that it really wasn’t my cup of tea.

It’s one thing to go off and do something, but it takes a little bit more to actually explain it in a way that everyone can understand. They say you have not truly mastered something until you can teach it! In no way, shape or form did the word ‘teacher’ even came to mind at that time.

Bottle Lamp Making Video

The first video was shot in our basement back in Alexandria, Minnesota. The cake yellow brick walls in the background and dimly lit work area bring back fond memories, lol. The video didn’t turn out that bad after all and what ended up happening was a whole series of videos, Recycled Bottle Project, that help viewers not only with the process of making bottle lamps, but different ways to decorate them as well.

Collectively the whole Bottle Lamp series on Youtube has been viewed over 250,000 times and we still get questions and comments, and will answer them on a regular basis.

The Bottle-Lamp web site was designed to take the whole project of the videos and provide more sources of information. Visitors always wanted to know where to purchase certain items, like crystal fill or light strings. By providing links as well as pictures on our Supplies page, our visitors are able to determine what it is exactly they are looking for, as well as a place to purchase them.

Bottle Lamp Making

We also wrote a little e-book that we gave away for two years. It contained the basic steps necessary to put a bottle lamp together. By filling in an e-mail address the book could be downloaded for free. To date we have over 1,000 downloads for it.

South_Carolina_PlatesThe big move. Silke and I moved from our house in Minnesota to a town home in South Carolina. Not only was moving a major step, but it included downsizing all of our belongings. The bench drill press and all the empty bottles and lamp making supplies were soon sitting out on tables as part of our garage sale.

It was hard to let the stuff go, but there wasn’t any room in our new place to do these types of projects. Once the tools and supplies were sold it was pretty much done as far as the hands on creating lamps part went. I was still able to answer questions on the web site and videos and to help people find certain items like specialty drill bits and such.

Our favorite part of Bottle-Lamp was always being able to help people who wanted to start up their own shop.

Some of the visitors that come to Bottle-Lamp aren’t really interested in making these types of lamps themselves. They would certainly like to buy one or two of them though.

By becoming the conduit for the buyer and the seller, it was nice to know that every body was getting something out of the whole experience.

Social Media has always played a role in establishing contact with fellow DIY’ers. Facebook, Pinterest, and even our Etsy store have become gateways to meeting people who share the same ideas and interests. We’ve been very fortunate that others were willing to help us keep content flowing on these sites.

Recycled Bottle Lamps BookA published book was in the making. It was something that we had talked about when we had first started, but who has time for something like that? It was while we were staying at a hotel in downtown Charleston that the idea came back to us.

Inside each hotel room was a coffee table book with pictures of the Charleston area in it. “Why couldn’t we do something like this?” Over breakfast the ideas were pouring out and I took notes on napkins about how cool it would be. We have some really good photos of our finished bottle lamps plus the pictures that had been submitted for our DIY show off page were just as awesome.

The whole idea came crashing down after we talked to a publisher who wanted $10,000 up front to bring the book idea to reality. Silke wasn’t dismayed and found a self publishing outfit online. It wasn’t going to be just a bunch of pictures anymore but a more detailed step by step instructional with detailed photos, resources and inspirations. The copyrights of the people who had submitted the pictures came into play so we were limited to just putting in our own photos as examples.

I’ll never forget getting our proof in the mail. There it was. The finished book in our hands! It had been anything but easy and there were a couple times when the photos got to be a hassle that I simply had to walk away. Silke remained persistent and kept plowing on with it. The end result was very rewarding and turned out better than we ever thought possible. We looked it over one more time and gave them the green light to start printing it.

Our published Recycled Bottle Lamps book is on sale at Amazon – click here to check it out.

The future is always hard to pin down. Even the best laid plans can change at a moments notice. So it’s hard to say where all this will play out or even how it will develop.

Silke and I have been given an opportunity to house sit in Belize next year so we really will not be in a position to give a lot of attention to writing new articles anymore. We’ll have access to the internet and will be able to check in every once in awhile but we’ll be curbing the amount of content that we put on this site.

It’s been a wild ride to say the least. We both feel so grateful to have met all the people that have stopped by, sent us emails and messages, and made the Bottle-Lamp site what it is today. For that, we are very grateful!

Be sure to stop by the Bottle Crafts DIY Facebook page and drop a line to Jessie and Patty. They’ve done a wonderful job of keeping things posted and up to date.

Best wishes,

Nick and Silke Jager




5 thoughts on “The Bottle-Lamp Adventure

  1. bottle-lamp makers,

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing all this information. My daughter wanted a night light for Christmas and I wanted to make it versus running out and buying one. I was deployed before I got to see her open that gift but when I did get home it was right beside her bed.
    I don’t think she uses it anymore but I don’t think she’ll be getting rid of it anytime soon.

    A very blessed father

    1. Hi Charlie,
      We are very happy that we were able to help you out. I’m sure your daughter will treasure your present for many years to come, especially since it was made by you. :) There is just something special about receiving a hand crafted item that makes us cherish it so much more.

      A mother that understands.

  2. Charlie,

    Wow. That’s awesome that you made that for her. No, she won’t be getting rid of that anytime soon. Thanks for taking the time to drop us a line.


  3. i have made lamps out of bubble gum machines and the old meat grinders and use a metal strainer for a lamp shade.. when i do my booze bottles with 3/8 hole no problem except mini lights wont fit in hole. when i try 1/2 inch hole i use the garden hose to keep things cool. but they will crack or break. i let the drill do all the work.. what can i do to make the 3/8 hole a little bigger? please email me if you van.

    1. Bob,

      If you want to work with your 3/8″ hole a little you can always try a dremmel. It’s a tool that you can buy for your drill that can be used to sand down the sharp edges of the glass and might provide a little more clearance for your light string. Unfortunately, once the hole itself has been drilled there’s no chance of going back and re-drilling it to a larger size.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × five =