HowTo: “Decore” lightbulbs

In some articles it has already been pointed out that old light bulbs can easily get a new “lamp life”. For this, however, the filament, its holder and parts of the threaded socket must be removed in almost all cases.

How you can do this is described in the following article.

Hints for our lovely english readers: Basically, many of the articles on are translations from the original german articles. Therefore, it may happen here and there that some illustrations are not available in english and that some translations are weird/strange/full of mistakes or generally totaly wrong. So if you find some obvious (or also not obvious) mistakes don't hesitate to leave us a hint about that in the comment section. 
Also please don't get confused, that instead of a "dot" often a "comma" is used as decimal separator. 🙂

Safety instructions

I know the following hints are always a bit annoying and seem unnecessary. But unfortunately, many people who knew it "better" from carelessness lost their eyes, fingers or other things or hurt themselves. In comparison, a loss of data is almost not worth mentioning, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Even the coolest project is worth no injury or other annoyance.

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Required material:

In the following list you will find all the parts you need to implement this article.

Required tools:

In the following list you will find all the tools you need to implement this article.


Especially at work as this you must pay even more attention to safety! It is very likely that one or perhaps several bulbs will break during the first attempts. That’s why enough thick gloves, a garment that covers the arms and protective goggles are essential for the work.

Please be conscientious and careful at work and do not join the ranks of people today who say, “Oh, I should have spent five seconds making safety arrangements”.

An example how your safety equipment coul look. Also take care to wear a top with long sleeves. Only then your forearms are protected against possibly flying glass splinters.

Remove foot contact

The only sensible way into the vitreous body of an incandescent lamp is via the screw contact. This also contains the two contacts via which the light bulb energy is supplied. These are called ring contact and foot contact. Of these two, the foot contact is relatively easy to remove, allowing access to the vitreous.

The light bulb that we want to “decore”.
The foot contact is on the bottom. With a…
… Side cutter or even a knife it can be bent up at its edge and thus …
…you can pull out the entire foot contact.
Back remains a black ring which is also made of (black colored) glass.
This can be easily cut into pieces with the side cutter and thus break out carefully.
The remaining fragments of the black glass ring can then relatively easily shake/knock out of the base of the lamp.
Detail view of the light bulb after removal of the foot contact.
Detail view of the light bulb after removal of the foot contact.

Remove the lower part of the glass bulb

After the foot contact is removed, it is relatively easy to approach the lower end of the glass bulb.

The lower end of the glass bulb can be broken out with a pair of needle nose pliers relatively easily.
Detail view after removal of the lower part of the glass body.

Piercing through the glass body

Now comes the most critical part. Now you have to break a first hole in the glass body with a screwdriver.

It is best to use a small screwdriver with which you can push to the glass body very carefully. Make sure that you do not break through the entire glass body as soon as the first resistance is overcome.
If you have pierced the inner part of the glass body, this could/should look like this.
Detail view of the pierced glass body.

Enlarge hole

After you have pierced the glass body, you can now enlarge this hole with a screwdriver.

Break the pieces carefully. Pay attention again to remove only the remains of the glass body in the screw base.
Detail view of the exposed screw base.


Remove the last pieces of broken glass.

Through the work certainly a few pieces of glass have got into the inside of the light bulb.
The easiest way to remove them is to fill the lamp with water and flush out the glass splinters.
This also makes the milky glass of the light bulb temporarily almost clear.
Detail view of the cleaned lightbulb.


Incidentally, this method also works with other types of incandescent lamps. 🙂

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described. If not or you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Also, ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

P.S. Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you appreciate it that I share these information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee box. 🙂

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