Whiskey Lamp

21 Oct

Lately I’ve been collecting bottles of various types. From time to time my dad will have a glass of whiskey after work and I snagged this bottle when he finally finished it. I saw several bottle lamp designs before, but most of them ran the cord on the outside, like someone just took a lamp top and shoved it on top of a bottle. The effect was very frankensteinish and I didn’t like it very much. I wanted the cord to go up through the bottle so the bottle was the lamp, not just a stand for the light fixture.

The tricky part was that I also wanted the bottle to be filled with liquid. The amber glow would have more of an impact than just a hollow empty bottle with wires in it. The biggest obstacle to this plan was that water and electricity don’t mix. I had to come up with a way to shield the cables from the water, while at the same time keeping the water from leaking out of the bottle.

I have a fish tank here in my apartment and some surgical plastic tubing that goes with it to pump air into the tank. I took a little snip of tubing and found that I could snugly slide the electrical cables into them. This would at as my shield against the water. I got a diamond tipped bit and carefully carved a whole in the bottom of the bottle, inserted the shielded wires, and then plugged the gaps with pvc piping glue. (I initially tried wax and superglue, but this didn’t work well enough to my satisfaction.)

I got a larger piece of surgical tubing and slid the smaller two wires through that at the neck. I then continued to fill gaps and seal the bottle with pvc piping glue. Yet before I sealed it all up, I filled the bottle with distilled water. I chose distilled because it lacks hard minerals. I figured this would aid in the life of the lamp and prevent buildup inside the bottle. I then toyed around with how to get the water to look like whiskey. I settled on 6 drops yellow food coloring, 4 drops red, and 1 drop blue. This helps give the lamp and amber glow. I sealed everything up, plugged it in, and bingo, Whiskey lamp:

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