On holiday in Menorca this summer I loved these bottle lamp-shades at a bar in Mahon’s old fish market.
They look lovely, and I thought they couldn’t be too difficult to make.
As ever, YouTube is your friend and there are lots of videos showing various methods of cutting bottles. I had fun sourcing a trio of attractive and different bottles (drinking the booze is a definite plus point for this project, but please don’t attempt any making when you’ve had a drink) and decided to use a diamond cutting wheel on my Dremel to do the glass cutting. I half expected to shatter a bottle or two as I got the hang of this, but actually it went quite well and the bottles all cut quite neatly. I’m not going to write up how to do this, there are dozens of blogs and videos describing good techniques, but I would definitely advise wearing eye protection, a face mask and long sleeves if you use a rotary tool like I did – small shards of glass flew all over the place.
Having cut the bottles the edges needed grinding and sanding to smooth off any bumps and sharp edges. It takes a while to get really nice results, so spend as long as possible to make the cuts look neat.
I ordered a ceiling rose with three outlets, some lovely sparkly braided cable and three bulb holders from Creative Cables UK and waited for them all to be shipped from Italy. My bulb holders are hidden by the bottles so I got plastic ones, which meant I could use two-core wire without an earth. Metal holders look nicer if they’re going to be in sight, but don’t forget to connect the earth to them with three-core cabling. I wired up the bulb holders, slipped the bottles over each cable and connected them together in the ceiling rose with a terminal strip. Then I swapped my new lamp with the existing one in the front room (where the cocktail cabinet is…). If you’re at all unsure what you’re doing, get an electrician to help, and please make sure you switch off the circuit breaker for your lights at the consumer unit before you make a start.
Ceiling roses are always too small for the stuff inside them, but after the usual struggle I managed to get it secured to the ceiling and when I turned the power back on to the “ground floor lights” nothing went bang or let out smoke.
I’m pleased with the result of this. I had considered longer wires and making a spider display with the individual bottles spread out across the ceiling, but I think they look nice nestled together. The bulbs are filament LEDs so strike a good balance between looking good, having a long lifespan and being energy efficient. The edges on my bottles aren’t quite as clean as the ones in Mahon, but unless you look closely they’re good enough.
If I did it again I’d spend even more time grinding, sanding and polishing where the cuts had been made. The base of the prosecco bottle makes a nice small dish for nuts or olives and the bottom half of the Martini bottle is now a straw dispenser, so I’ve been able to make use of most the bits of glass I didn’t need for the lamps.