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Multiples: A Kombucha Bottle Chandelier

This week our assignment was to make at least five of the same thing. I had some kombucha bottles at home that I’ve been meaning to do something with, so I decided I’d work on wiring them up as a chandelier.

I decided to use six bottles because I had a feeling I’d mess one of them up. First I figured out how to remove the labels and the glue, then I went to Lighting Plus to buy components, then I fitted the lighting components in the bottle caps, then put the bottles and the caps back together.

I completed one prototype first to make sure that the process would work before working on the other five. The biggest challenges that I ran into were getting the labels off (which isn’t nearly as easy as the internet makes it sound), drilling a hole into the plastic lid, and the bottle heating up when the light turned on.

The bottle before and after.
The bottle before and after.

I was able to get the labels off with a four-step process. First I boiled the bottles for about half an hour in order to loosen the glue. I made sure to put boiling water inside the bottles as well as around them. After removing the label, I rubbed the glue with a oil and baking soda solution and the abrasive side of an old sponge, which did a good job. I then removed the oil mixture with Dawn, then removed the last bit of blue with rubbing alcohol.

I originally used the drill press with a drill bit to match the size of my component, but the bit immediately bent the plastic lid instead of making a hole.

The drill bit would bend the plastic rather than go through it.
The drill bit would bend the plastic rather than go through it.

I tried to find a step-down bit, but ITP doesn’t have any, and the hardware stores that were nearby and open at the time didn’t carry them. So, I tried the drill press again, this time starting with a very small bit, working my way up to the larger bit, and pushing the bit into the plastic slowly. This worked well for the smaller bits, but once I got to the larger bits, I ran into the same problem. Tightening the grip on the cap helped a bit, but it almost always was taken out of the grip eventually by the bit. In the end, this process worked better than just the larger bit, but it wasn’t perfect. If I were to make 100 of these, I would definitely find the step-down bit and work on a better grip system for the drill press.

Finally, I found the the prototype was heating up a bit when I turned it on, so I drilled some small holes in the cap to allow heat to escape. I then left the light turned on for over an hour and it didn’t heat up too much, so I think this is all good.

Assembled components.
Assembled components.

Since we’ll be working on enclosures in two weeks, I decided just to complete the bottles with components for now. I’ll work on wiring them together in a wooden box then.

I’m looking forward to completing the project in a few weeks!