DIY fan shows how to make a tasteful bottle lamp – using an empty gin bottle

What a bright idea!

Here's a transformation to spark the imagination! DIY pro Paul Mellia shares his ingenious gin creation with us, and we think it's pretty brilliant.

He's mastered the art of turning what would be waste, into something to treasure in our homes.

Related: Savvy DIY fan creates a bespoke coat rack from an old wooden pallet

Here he says with us his step-by-step guide to making your own bottle lamp...

How to make a bottle lamp

isle harris gin

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

The unofficial first step is to finish off a bottle of gin, an enjoyable task we think you'll agree. With so many attractive and signature gin bottles on the market, the hardest task will be deciding which one to upcycle.

Step 1: Drill a hole

bottle with drill hole

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

To start Paul says, 'using a 12mm drill bit, designed for glass and ceramic drilling, slowly mark the area you want to drill.' Warning, 'do not make it too close to the bottle base as this increases the likely hood of cracking the bottle.'

'Start drilling slowly,' he advises, 'applying enough pressure that you feel it grinding the glass but not too much, every 45-60 seconds. As you get near breaking through lighten the pressure a little until you make the breakthrough otherwise you risk  cracking the bottle when the tip of the bit breaks through.'

Clean the drilled hole and fit a bung, Paul says he uses 11mm rubber bungs. This is to protect the cable. Paul advises to 'ensure the bung fits snug and flush.'

Step 2: Feed in the wire

bottle with wiring the lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

'I use a clip on lamp fitting which I remove the clip from, file the base nut round the edges until it fits tight in the bottle neck hole' explains Paul. 'Remove the bung, take the plug off the lead and feed the cable through the bottle and hole.'

Step 3: Secure the cable and check the bulb

bottle with test the light

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

For securing your lamp head in place Paul advises to , 'give the inside top of rim a slight sand, this gives the adhesive a better grip. Apply some adhesive to the nut and insert tightly into the bottle neck, ensuring it is nice and flush.

From here you go on to refit the bung, adding a little adhesive to secure it safely in place.

'Let adhesive dry and test out with a bulb' he explains.

Step 4: Cover the shade

room with lamp cloth and shade

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

Paul has expertly paired his Harris Gin bottle with a traditional Harris Tweed fabric – a rather nice touch we feel.

He goes on to explain the final stages, 'I use a plain white shade 20cm Diameter. Cut the material to length leaving approx 2.5cm  overlap, top and bottom.'

'Apply adhesive periodically on the shade and around the top (outside and inside). Fold material into place. Going round several times until the overlaps have adequately stuck in place. Glue patch in desired position.'

Step 5: Fix the shade on

room with hand woven cloth lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

Reattach the clip to the lamp base then affix your shade on securely. And you're done. What you have after just a few simple steps is an attractive homemade light, to display proudly in for your home.

room with hand woven cloth gin lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Mellia)

Last thing to do is switch on your lamp, create some ambience and settle down with a nice G&T.

But who's the say it has to be a gin bottle? If Whiskey is your tonic, use an empty bottle of that with a luxe fabric perhaps. Rum would work perfectly with a tropical print fabric on the shade.

Make a bottle lamp to suit your tastes, quite literally.

Related: How to make your own pallet bed – a step-by-step guide

Drink up, there's a lamp to be made.

 A top tip from Paul, 'I dip the drill bit into water when drilling, to both let the glass and bit cool. Reducing the heat reduces the risk of cracking and the water also acts as a lubricant.'


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.