How to Make a Light Bulb

How To Make A Light Bulb

So, you’re thinking about showing your child how to make a light bulb.  Perhaps you have been studying about Thomas Edison and now you want to try and build your own light bulb.  Well, we did.  I homeschool my fifth grader. So, here is our Science experiment on building a light bulb.

Items Needed:

  • 6V Battery (I bought the cheaper one from Walmart. Price: Under $3).
  • Glass Bottle ( I bought a soda from Wegmans. Price: $.79)
  • Cork (The best place to get this is from a liquor store.  The guy gave me several used ones for free.)
  • Two Short Copper Wires (I bought this from Home Depot.  This is the wire that connects to the top of the battery. This is sold by the foot. Price: $.42) I used the whole foot for the experiment. Perfect.
  • Filament Wire or picture frame wire (This is sold by the pack at Home Depot. Price: $2.39. Unfortunately, you are only going to use about 2 or 3 inches of it.
  • Two Finishing Nails about 2 inches long


  1. Insert the nails into the cork.  This is best done by using wire pliers to screw and push them into the cork.  If you find it difficult, you may want to start off by slightly nailing them into the cork and then using the wire pliers to push them all the way through. Don’t put them too close together or too close to the end.
  2. Cut a two inch piece of the picture frame wire. You will need to separate it first.  It is several wires intertwined together.  After you separate the thin wire, cut two inches.  Then connect one end to each of the bottom of the nails.  It forms like a loop of some sort. This part will be inside of the bottle. I probably used about 3 inches of wire, though.
  3. Insert the cork into the bottle. Try to make sure that the wires at the end of the cork are not twisting together when you insert the cork.
  4. The copper wire is sold by the feet in Home Depot. The length was perfect.  You have to pull it apart a little at the ends.  Cut the covering off about one inch on each end and expose the wires.  (If anyone has ever had to repair an old iron because the cord stop working, you will know exactly what I mean.) Then, wrap the exposed wires around the top of the nails and then around each part of the battery.  See picture.
  5. When you connect the wires to the battery, you should see the wires heating up and turning red inside the bottle.  Remember, this is how Thomas Edison started experimenting.  If you go into a dark room, for example, the bathroom, you will see the redness of the wires very well.
  6. Because this is how Thomas Edison started experimenting, please do not expect that it will bring about light as the light bulbs we use now.  My daughter was highly impressed with seeing the red wires that gives a light effect.

Let me know how yours come out!  We are still experimenting just like Thomas Edison! Trying to perfect the light bulb….


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  1. The way you have described is very nice and easy. Actually i have a lot interest in science especially to make something electronic thing and make all stunned. I think this will help me to invent a new thing and to show my family and friends. I will let you know my experience after making bulb. Thanks!

  2. Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. I’m going to try using steel wool for the filament or a Brillo pad. I’m curious to see how quickly it burns out!

  3. This is a fantastic and fun science experiment. Thank you so much for sharing this on the #homeschoollinkup This is awesome. I’m pinning this to my homeschool link up pinterest board, and also sharing. This is a wonderful experiment that many homeschool families will love.

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Simple non-costly Ways to Winterize your HomeMy Profile

    • Thanks Lisa! We do many projects/experiments for homeschooling, mostly for Science. However, for Social Studies, we were studying George Washington Carver and made peanut butter. Love experiments and projects!

  4. So excited about this, I just pinned it & shared on FB & Twitter. 😉

  5. this is awesome! Can’t wait to try it with my son! Thank you for linking up to the Learn through play hop! Following you now & looking forward to more great ideas.
    Leah Mastilock recently posted…Make a Plate Kids Art Craft ProjectMy Profile

  6. Hey girl! LOVE this idea! My boys will enjoy this project during our science time! Thanks!

  7. Hi Sharon,

    I found you through the comment you left at Rob Goss’ blog.

    Yep, that’s how CommentLuv works.

    You have a wonderful website. Enjoyed reading through your posts and learned a lot.

    Must say, I’m not a fix-it type, unless I have no choice, but I admire those who are!

    All the best,

    Jude Banks recently posted…Reality Check For Your Internet Marketing BusinessMy Profile

    • Hello Jude. Thanks for stopping by. Great to see the CommentLuv button working. I’m loving it! Thank you for the comment. I try to fix or make everything if it is possible. I think it’s because I might be a really frugal person. Can’t wait to check out your blog.

  8. What a great project to share with your child! I just stopped by from SITS to say hello; hope you find time to do the same.

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