Dove Made From Spent Light Bulb

I like to create things from non-typical items. People often ask me how I come up with the ideas, and I've found that question difficult to answer. I suspect it's the same as asking a musician how they write a song.

So I had already planned that the next time I decided to create something, I would document the process, throw in a few of my thoughts, and let you walk with me behind the scenes, so to speak. This is the first of three crafts that I designed today. There will be two more posts like this, one on Saturday, and one on Monday. If you like the format of the post, let me know in the comments and I'll continue to do more. Otherwise, I'll just keep giving you the basics.

First, my inspiration. And this is the part I can't really explain. The picture below related to a light bulb in my mind.

I've had an interest in recycling spent light bulbs for some time. They're plentiful, free, and re-purposing keeps them out of the landfill.

It's rather ironic, don't you think, that I have a picture of a light bulb as I talk about my "idea."

But, yes, I started with a regular, old-fashioned light bulb, of which I have a pile.

I grabbed some paper from my recycling pile and cut out the shape of a tail, in proportion to the size of the light bulb.

I lightly glued the tail to the screw end of the light bulb.

Next, I cut out a pair of wings. I happened to do well on the shape and size of the wings and tail first time. I will occasionally redo to a step as I progress, but I find that I usually do best with my first impression. It's not good for me to over-think things.

I glued the wings to the sides of the bulb.

I knew the bird needed feet, and I found that it didn't want to set up properly without. So as I designed the feet, I decided to use them as a stand. I just cut two short strips of orange chenille stems and twisted them together.

I shaped them into feet. My first try was a little long so I just shortened the toes a bit.

I aligned the feet together, applied a little glue to the center, then set the bottom of the bird onto the glue.

The flat formation of the feet made it very stable.

Next, I needed a head. "Round" things are a little rare when it comes to supplies. I didn't want to use wood - it would set too high and the connection to the bulb would be too tiny, plus no way to hide the glue. I didn't want to use an ornament ball for the same reasons, plus I'd have a stem to deal with. I could have used a styrofoam ball, but I didn't have any, plus I think it might have looked cheap. I decided to use a white pom, because it was a good size, good shape, and not "hard," so hopefully it would resemble feathers a bit. I trimmed one side down a bit so I would get a tight connection when I glued it to the bulb.

Next, I used a piece of orange craft foam to form a beak, but orange felt worked well too. I didn't find this aspect of the craft to be all that important, so variances made little difference to me. Then I tried a couple of sets of eyes. I'm not a fan of google eyes unless I'm trying to do something silly, so these didn't appeal to me.

I also had some flat-sided google eyes, but I had a hard time getting them to set how I wanted on the tips of the pom.

Another idea that I think would work well is a small black bead, but since I didn't have any on hand, I opted for small black poms. I tried numerous positions (higher, lower, closer together, farther apart.) Once I decided upon the position, I spread out the pom to form an indent, so that I could inset the eyes a bit. I found that white glue worked best, since it gave me the option to adjust it, and do it without burning my fingers!

Then I placed the pom on the top of the dove. I found that the head can be placed in several different positions that look nice. One other position I really liked was with the head turned and the beak tucked in under the wing.

At this point, I evaluated to see if there was anything I needed to change, but I was pretty pleased! So I painted a light bulb white and started my official prototype.

I took off the wings and tail and used them as a template to cut wings and a tail out of white felt. I believe fleece would work well too, but I opted for felt since it tends to have a little more body.

I determined that white doves have pink feet, so I changed the chenille stem to pink.

I made two feet and positioned them.

Next, I glued them to the light bulb for the bottom.

As the light bulb would now sit stable, I knew where to glue on the tail.

I decided to add a small white satin bow to the tip of the tail to help hide the end of the felt.

I glued the wings to the sides, intentionally leaving the edges unsecured.

I put together the head and glued it to the top of the light bulb. Cute, but missing a little something. Some color, or some accent.... hmmmm....

I tried several things, like a red ribbon with a heart dangling, or a mini banner with the word "peace," but I ended up deciding on a simple clump of greenery and berries. Many of my decisions are made based upon what I have on hand.

I also had the idea, and think it would be great, to put a pink ribbon around her neck for breast cancer awareness.

So there you have it! From start to finish. Let me know if you give it a try, or any other ideas you might have to add.

Here is a version by Oddie at She really did hers up! Gorgeous!
Check back Saturday for the second craft, and Monday for the third. And don't forget to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

If you liked this version of the tutorial, please leave a comment. These posts are quite a bit more work, but I'm willing to do it if it's "what the people want." And while you're at it, click to follow me too, please. I'm feeling rather lonely...



  1. Very cute, I'm bookmarking this one to try later. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Oh, so sweet! I love the extra touch with the berry branch in it's mouth.

  3. That's so great. He looks so cute finished. Great job and thanks for showing us how.

  4. This would be fabulous for a sunday school class to make! I want one for my tree!!

  5. Excellent tutorial! I can't wait to make these

  6. Can't get any cuter than that! Thanks for posting!

  7. I love your dove. I have been toying with another idea for a spent light bulb for a year or two but haven't yet tried it. You've convinced me to try. lol. Thank you for sharing. My daughter told me that light bulbs will be outlawed soon. Better stock up.

  8. That is so cute and clever! Happy Holidays!
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  9. That is the cutest bird ever! I'm so going to have to make one these, he's just too adorable. Now I need a lightbulb to burn out!

  10. Bravo! I love using what we already have at home. I'm bookmarking this page so we can make it when my daughters are on their winter break.

  11. This is seriously cute! I love the fuzzy details :).

  12. OMG!! Too Cute! I am a lot like you and am always creating things from unusual items. This one of the bird is so original. Great post. Please visit and see my creation but don't leave without seeing the Grand Prize Give-A-Way:

  13. So cute! I would have NEVER thought of that in a million years!

  14. Very cute. Now you need to use a empty toilet paper roll and make the log.
    Your new follower --and thanks for posting this great idea to the party

  15. I can never throw away a light bulb again after seeing your blog. I love all of your cute ideas.

  16. A beautiful bird and one of the best tutorials I've ever seen. You certainly have a great imagination. I'll be adding this to my favorites also.

  17. Absolutely adorable. I also saved some light bulbs wondering what I could do with them. Your idea is too cute! TFS and glad I just found your blog!

  18. This is a great idea! It would be helpful for us that aren't very crafty to have a template to print out for wings and tail - makes it easier to do with a group of children too, if they can trace and cut out their own pieces.

  19. Thank you for going to all this trouble to give such detail explanations/instructions of the evolution/creation of the light bulb birdie. I have it bookmarked for later this year (birdies for Easter).

  20. totally awesome! i loved it!
    i'm going to try this one.. but i also want to know what we can do with wastes like spoons..or things like screwdrivers ..i have a test in a few months & they ask us about what all we can do with various items! n yu can really help!
    if u have any such items made plz mail them to me! its going to be a great help & will inspire me to try something new too!... thanks a looooottt! :D

  21. Hi,
    Just found your site. Absolutely love the mouse and dove. Great job.

  22. Your dove is really cute! A friend sent me your way ... and I am SO glad she did.

  23. the dove wuz really kool thank u for puttin it on the world wide web thanks

  24. I absolutely love your creations and the detail you put into the process. It is very easy to follow your directions with the pictures accompanied by the description for each part of the process.

  25. Your little dove is so cute! I think it would be cute to make them in pairs to decorate a bridal shower table, maybe having a ribbon with wedding bands going from beak to beak, Oh the possibilities are endless! I have only just recently came upon your site and it is after four in the morning and I can't quit browsing! So much to see, so little time! Love it, thanks for sharing! :-) Mary aka totolyozum

  26. I absolutely love your Dove lite bulb! I am crocheting and crafting Christmas ornaments for each of my 3 grandsons and saving them to give them to put on their tree someday. I love crafting.

  27. Love this! Add a clothes pin to the bottom to attach it to your tree! Or some type of a clip but a clothes pin would be accessible. : )

  28. I Love it. Just found this site. I have pinned alot of your tutorials. I am going to start following you. This Site is awesome. thank you!!!