Momma Told Me: Upcycling Old Bottles Into Lamps

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Upcycling Old Bottles Into Lamps

Jose Cuervo Tequila Bottle Lamp
Momma Told Me: See the world differently.

I was raised in a crafting household. As a disabled mother and homemaker, Momma was home 365 from my toddler years on up. This meant Summer vacations were spent by her side following grocery ads, and stopping into the local Goodwill twice a week for new inventory. If I owned any 'new' clothes during my childhood it was most likely due to a birthday or Christmas gift. For the most part, my wardrobe was second hand; and, until my teenage years, I rather liked it this way. At least at the Salvation Army or Goodwill I was never told 'no' when I fell in love with a pair of sneakers or some new pants.
Jose Cuervo Lamp Tequila Lamp
But our little shopping excursions were not timed for fashion- Momma had inside connections with the receiving employees to cultivate a special relationship that had her getting second pick. Old weathered headboards, broken antique lamps, and even delicate China would make it's way into Momma's arms and before her discerning eyes.

"What do you see?" she'd ask with a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous curl upon her lip. Even at 8 or 9 I knew how to play the game well.

I'd squint my eyes as though I'd put on my Magnificent Goggles, and hymn and haw as I pretended to see the otherwise junk as priceless treasure, "A bookend, a candle holder, new jewelry!" I'd exclaim enthusiastically, most often not all too far from Momma's intended use. She'd re-purpose the most unexpected things and sell them for an unbelievable mark-up at the local craft fairs.
Beer Bottle Lamp- Mississippi Mud LampBeer Bottle Lamp Mississippi Mud
So, it comes to no surprise of my family and friends that I recently saw a lonely wine bottle with some Christmas LEDs strung inside it and decided I could do much better. Here was nothing more than an empty bottle with some tacky battery operated Christmas lights being sold for $25 at a boutique. I knew, immediately that I could spend a little less than $6-7 to turn actual discarded glassware into real lamps. And so I began collecting various bottles, glasses, and jugs, mainly of the liquor variety with the intent of building custom decor for my friends and family. I drill a hole for an actual cord, tinker with some minor electrical work to run the cord and a switch through the neck of the bottle, and pick out a custom shade to suit the brand or bottle. For my great grandma's 90th birthday I even dressed up her favorite tequila with some hand done ribbon and lace. What do you think?

What Daughter Says: Some of the greatest things have come from the re-imagining of existing things.


  1. Those are really cool. They almost look vintage, and I love vintage stuff.

  2. My mother was a master of upcycling before it was even a word. I'm sure your grandmother loved her new lamp!

  3. I think you did a wonderful job. Love how they look! I think a Jagermeister lamp would be cool.

  4. It looks great! Made me smile that it's for your great-gma's 90th. She sounds spunky!

  5. Your grandma will really appreicate this celebration of one of her favorite liquors! It's very tongue in cheek.