Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Super Secret Birthday Project Revealed

I have briefly mentioned before the super secret birthday project that I've been working on for a gift for my brother David's birthday. 
And I figured that since I've given him his present that I can now share with all of you what Amazing Boyfriend and I made for my brother. 


 We made him a whiskey bottle lamp.

Honestly, I think that my favorite part of this project was that ABF got really into it, helped me figure out the best way to put it all together, and helped me with some of the more difficult parts. It's been a project on my to-do list, and I'm excited that I had the perfect person to make it for.

Wanna see how we did it? 

large liquor bottle
make-a-lamp kit
fabric to cover lampshade
modge podge
filler (decorative sand) 
3/8" diamond tip drill bit
cordless drill 
hot glue gun

I started this project by cleaning the bottle. I washed the inside out with dish soap and rinsed it a few times. I cleaned the outside of the bottle with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Then I used hard coat Modge Podge to seal the labels to the bottle. (I didn't take pictures, but hopefully you know what I'm talking about.)

While I was taking stuff over to my cousin's house for a garage sale, Amazing Boyfriend drilled a hole through the cap and secured the lamp bulb base through it using washers, gromets and other parts that we picked up from the hardware store. He even took pictures of the process all by himself! (Yes, I am very proud.)

 Drilling hole through the top of the cap. 

Finished drilling hole through the top of the cap. 
All the components: lamp base and switch, bottle cap, washer and nuts. 

 The base of the lamp screwed together with the cap. 

Making sure that it all lines up right. 

The next step was drilling the hole in our bottle to put the cord through. Now this was the most challenging part of this project and was something that Amazing Boyfriend and I thoroughly researched before we started. After much debate (and yes, there was plenty of debate) we decided to try using a 3/8" diamond tip drill bit that I got from Home Depot. I was in charge of holding the whiskey bottle and spraying it with water, while ABF did the drilling. 

*note: when drilling a hole in any glass surface the key is using the proper drill bit, specifically for glass or tile, lots of patience and lubricant. In our case we used water, but there are other oil lubricants available for use. If you're not careful, you will crack the glass and have to start over with a new bottle.*

After the hole is drilled, ABF fitted a rubber grommet inside the hole and thread the wire of the lamp kit through the bottle and out of the neck hole. The grommet is to secure the wire running through the bottle, protect the wire from the edges of the hole we drilled as well as making the hole tight so that the filling material doesn't come out. 

Once the wire is threaded through the bottle, I filled it with the decorative sand I bought. I chose a metallic copper decor sand because it reminded me of whiskey, but you can fill it with anything, small rocks, glass pebbles, etc. They have lots of options in the floral section of any craft store. 


Once the bottle is filled it's time to put the light together! 

Now for the lampshade, I stole took some purple velvet Crown Royal bags from my Dad's stash (he's saving them to have a quilt made out of them) to use on the lampshade. I found a lampshade on clearance at Jo-Ann's that already had the adhesive on the lampshade, I just had to add the fabric. I used my hot glue gun and the cording from the Crown Royal bags to add the detail to the lampshade.  If you were making your own lamp there are many different lampshade options out there, just get creative. 

    Once the lampshade was finished, I put it on the finished lamp and we were done. I have to admit the finished project was a lot cooler then I thought it would turn out and this is probably one of my favorite project ever. I also have a feeling that once everyone sees this I'm going to have a bunch of my guy friends begging me to make one for them (and their wives/girlfriends begging me not to.)

As for my brother, who rolled his eyes when I told him I was making his birthday present, he LOVED it!!! He said that it's the coolest thing that he's ever owned and he never even guessed what we were going to make for him. 

P.S. Happy Birthday, David!!!

I'm linking up to the following parties


  1. haha!! my boyfriend would LOVE this lamp. great idea!

    I'd love for you to link this up to my new link party, Your Whims Wednesday!

  2. Awesome! Great instructions too! TFS!

  3. No way! That is so awesome! My little sister would love this. Thanks for linking this up to the VIP party today!

  4. OMG, OMG, OMG, my husband would LLLOOOOVVVVEEE this!!!! I am TOTALLY making one!! When our first born came home from the hospital (weighing all of 5lbs), we used a Crown Royal Bag as a Diaper Cover and took his picture.

  5. Great information and well done too..I would like to follow it for my friend's birthday..

  6. this is totally the bomb. ... wow there are so many folks i know that would die for one of these , it sucks that i dont drink :( but would so love to make one , thanks for sharing it is a master piece !!!

  7. Just curious how many bags it took to make the shade?

  8. how many bags did you use for the shade?

  9. So I was on Google looking for lamp shades made from crown bags and came across this. Love it. I am actually hydrodipping my bottle in gold, purple, red and green paint (I have a crown apple bottle). I wanted to share the way I drill a hole in the glass bottle. It's super easy. I bought a set of 4 glass bits from Walmart several years ago. I stick a hand towel in my sink, sitting the bottle on it so it's not right against the hard sink, and run the cold water over the spot im drilling. while I drill the hole (I don't have help or someone to hold the bottle or anything so I have to hold the bottle, have water flowing and drill at the same time). Anyways! I start with the smallest bit that I have and gradually work my way up to the biggest till I have my hole. I've not cracked or broken a bottle, this way, ever. I believe the bits cost me around 7 or 8 dollars 3 or 4 years ago. My first time trying it I picked the biggest bit bc that was the size of the hole I needed and started drilling, with the towel and the water going, but broke my first bottle. That's when I decided to try transitioning from small to big and it works 100% of the time. Hope this helps if you are doing this alot. Thank you for the post and helping me with my creative journey.

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