DIY Wine Bottle Lamp: Repurpose Christmas Lights!

The end of the holiday season needn’t be the cause of sadness. Sure, taking down decorations is no fun (you DO take your decorations down… right?).
There’s a fun way to get a little more mileage out of your Christmas lights this year by transforming a bottle of vino into charming outdoor lighting.
Gather the supplies (pictured above) to get started:
– Wine bottle
– Small strand of Christmas lights with a plug on only one end (Important)
– 1/2 inch Glass/Tile Drill Bit
– Sandpaper
– Some type of grippy, rugged tape — duct tape or “Gorilla Tape” (both will work)

The drill bit you want should look like this. Any brand will do. We’ll be using this bit to drill an opening near the bottom of the wine glass to feed our Christmas lights inside.
Chances are, your wine bottle might have a stubborn label. You want it to come off clean: fill the bottle with warm water, then place in a vessel large enough to submerge the label. Mix water and dishwater soap in there and let it soak for a few hours.
When you remove it, the label should slide right off, and you’ll be ready to begin creating your outdoor wine lamp.
Wine bottle with label removed

  • Applying tape to stage the drilling area.
  • Applying tape to stage the drilling area - alternate angle

Apply your duct/gorilla tape to the bottom portion of the wine bottle. Here you’ll create an opening through which you will feed the lighting. It’s best to aim for about a half inch from the bottom edge of the bottle.
Drilling a hole in the wine bottle.
Drilling a 1/2 inch diameter hole into a wine glass proved challenging. As I slowly widened the hole with the drill, I became impatient and applied an exorbitant amount of force to the surface, drill at full blast.
Failed attempt at drilling hole in wine bottle.
A shattered wine bottle was the result. Lesson learned: slow and steady wins the race here. Wear safety goggles or glasses, and gloves just in case. Use either a vice (with cloth around the grips to protect from scratches) or a friend to hold the bottle in place. Make sure that as you drill, you are coming straight down onto the bottle — NOT drilling from an angle.

  • Hole Progress 1
  • Hole Progress 2
  • Hole Progress 3
  • Hole Progress 4

Above, you can see the slower progress resulting from a more methodical approach to wine glass #2. This time, the hole was clean and the bottle remained intact. With the hole drilled, all that’s left to do is to sand the opening a bit with some sandpaper to dull those potentially sharp edges, then feed the lights through one at a time.

  • Feeding Lights into Bottle 1
  • Feeding Lights into Bottle 2
  • Feeding Lights into Bottle 3
  • Feeding Lights into Bottle 4

Again, be patient here, because even after you’ve sanded the opening, too much friction could damage the string lighting. I found it easiest to fold each light away from the bottle, then slide it in carefully, rotating if things got stuck. It also helped to hold the bottle upside down so gravity could encourage the lights to head towards the upper half of the bottle.
Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 1

  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 2
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 3
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 4
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 5
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 6
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 7
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 8
  • Finished Wine Bottle Outdoor Lamp 9

I’m pleased with the end result, but I would have loved to have used the first bottle I broke — it was label free! Though the Biltmore label (unremovable 🙁 ) has its own unique charm, I think. Check back next week for a video guide.
I’m going to make at least one more, and try showing it off in various locations, inside and out. Remember that if you decide to use it outside, consider corking the top so as to prevent water from accumulating inside the bottle and shorting out your lights.
For other great lighting ideas, check out our affordable outdoor lamps at DFOhome.

Leave a Reply