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Glass float lamp? DIY or otherwise

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I haven't found much for pre-made float lamps, one Etsy seller in UK, but they're wired a bit differently if ya know what I mean...wink is as good as a nudge to a blind bat, eh? Is there a good USA source for a ready-to-dangle lamp?

Glass floats are readily available on the interwebs. Can a float be cut for a lamp socket without shattering? Can I just go at it with a diamond bit in a Dremel or what?


Paging Doctor Skip. Doctor Skip to the Waiting Room.

From what I've read here, you are usually better off finding "alternatives" to actual glass floats than risking destruction of an actual float by cutting into it. Or, you can easily light the float by attaching a small bulb to the top and hiding it in more rope. I've had success with clear lamp globes painted with Krylon Sea Glass spray.


The netting is a basketball net stained with Rit and gathered on a pair of rings.

I like the idea of lighting the glass from above. I have tons of super thin LED puck lights that would be perfect. Thanks!


"Can a float be cut for a lamp socket without shattering"

It depends on what kind of glass you are cutting. The real fish floats can be cut but it is hard to do as they have small bubbles in them from being blown glass and this makes them crack easy.

The glass you show on your float Bam Bam can be cut and it's not too hard to do.

Try to find a plastic globe those cut well and have a nice glow once you find them.

I have a large 10 to 12 inch blue one right now for sale but the shipping would kill ya to California.

Good luck, look for a tapa shade and then you will find a float as you never find what you are looking for.


I purchased 3 of these in different colors on Etsy, they should be here today. I have a bunch of thin LED puck lights that I can silicone to the top and conceal under the netting. If they’re too bright I’ll have to add a dimmer. Will post the build.


When I first started making these, it was because I couldn't afford paying top dollar for them at that time, so it was a fun adventure and I learned a lot in process by experimenting.

  1. When buying floats to drill, look for thicker glass. Use Diamond bit, holesaw type, and use lots of water and slow and steady and don't push the drill in. Don't use drill press, lol, don't ask me how I know 😂. Honestly, I only had issues with thin cheaply made new ones that are easily available on Etsy and amazon and eBay. I know it's hard to find now, but there are still sellers that sell thicker versions. Looks like the ones you find might be thicker version.

  2. If you are looking just to throw some around in dark bar where no one is going to inspect them or scrutinize over fine details of float production, I second finding nice plastic or glass clear shades, using transparent spray paint and also frosted glass on the inside and outside too; real ones were "frosted" on outside because of sand, however because sandblasting them on inside really jeopardizes the structure of it and makes it more prone to cracking (I leaned the hard way while I was making few in my glass blowing class), so frosting spray works pretty well, you just have to have patience and let it fully dry between applications.

  3. If money is no object, keep searching, I see them pop up for $170-$250 shipped on both eBay and Etsy already drilled and wired.

  4. Find some local artisans that could make them for you, and can be made with hole on top right off the bat, so no drilling required and in the whatever color you prefer, or clear and you can spray paint. They should be able to sandblast, but again, see my comment about that above.

I am currently in communication with a local artist who is getting me quotes on collaboration project, where they make the float and I make the net and wire it. If I'm going to sell some in the future, I'd rather put my name on quality handmade floats from local artists while supporting them at the same time.

So that's my take! Good luck on your adventure and keep us posted on your progress! 🗿😊7A93B0A1-87CC-434C-8F87-9338D3F3C245

Your pic at the end makes me wonder, what is the best source for smallish pufferfish when making that variant of a float lamp? I've seen some on ebay, but have no idea what quality I'd be receiving...


It's hit and miss! If you are on super tight budget, buy them cheaper and drill holes and take stuffing out and try not to get hurt! They are pokey.

Any seller that sells them, measure from face to the the tail tip so if they have it listed as 6", it's gonna be 4 and tiny, but might be what you are looking for. Save yourself trouble and get some that are already wired, if you want to avoid hospital trip, cause medical bill is gonna be more than extra 10-20 bucks :)

I hope it helps!

I bought nice vintage floats for a good price and did not want to cut them either. By chance I came across these LED puck lights. On one float I hot glued the puck upside down and ran the wire up the rope I used to hang them. I did paint the wire brown since they are white. On the other one I removed the light, it is super small and flat as you can see in the photo where I pulled it up a bit. I soddered the wires back on and it sat totally flat on the top of my float. I hot glued it on as well. I bought a handful of those pucks and will gladly send one at cost to anyone. They were like $8 a piece. Brightness depends on your glass and I think I put something over one light to damper it a bit cause it was too bright.IMG_3939IMG_3941IMG_3942IMG_3943

I would like to get my hands on about 6 of those led pucks - can you tell me where you got them?

I bought a 1/2 box full last year at a random sale. I have five I can spare for what I paid for them. ($8 a piece) Text me if interested and we can work out the details. Peter 913-689-5999

Here's the technique I use. As noted above, they don't need to be perfect especially when hanging from a dark ceiling. I found a 9 inch swirled glass globe at Ross for $17 with a 3 inch hole in the top of it.

My Tiki space is outdoors so I use nylon paracord, last a lot longer than jute. I needed 100 feet. 01

8 pieces of rope, each about 13-14 feet. Step one of a lanyard knot. This video is a bit goofy but shows this knot well https://youtu.be/2zgo48dRuC8 02

Lanyard knot step #2 03

Finished lanyard knot 04

I use a simple overhand knot instead of the more traditional square knot, easier to adjust length as you tie. It doesn't lay as flat as a square knot but adds more "texture" 05

First round of knots. I tied them 2 inches out from the center knot. The orange Post-It has a mark at 2 inches to keep my knots consistent 06

Second round, be sure to pull all knots tight 07

Taped to the globe to keep it from slipping around 08

The knots are no longer 2 inches as the circumference of the globe increases. I don't measure any more, just try to keep them even. After a couple more rounds of knots and tape, flipped the globe over using a container or bowl to keep it from rolling around. 09

Finished the last rounds of knots. Didn't really have a game plan to finish, just wrapped all the cord together to make a loop and tied it off tight 10

Wiring was simple. Cut the receptacle end off an extension cord and wired a candelabra socket on using heat shrink tubing. 11

Pushed the bulb and socket into the globe between the cords and used twist ties to attach the wires to the loop. The bulb just hangs in the center making it simple to change the bulb when it burns out. I use LED bulbs because they last a long time and don't make any heat. Note that the lamp hangs from the rope loop, NOT the electrical cord. Done and ready to hang. 12

Finished lamp. I need to find a dimmer bulb, maybe a green one 13

Very nice tutorial Mike. I have seen the frosted globes at Home Depot and thought about giving one of them a try.

Very nice tutorial Mike. I have seen the frosted globes at Home Depot and thought about giving one of them a try.

3vab posted on Sat, Jun 11, 2022 7:58 AM


[ Edited by 3vab on 2022-09-25 11:08:39 ]


Here’s one I made from a table lamp from Ikea:


The lamp was designed to sit on a table top and is tinted glass.

260737B0-E218-4D13-9417-8C754049E9D0 94CFB615-8CD7-49FA-A830-2F16DFAD5F79

I sprayed the globe with Krylon Sea Glass aqua.

E58AC1EC-6381-45BC-B3A7-438D5633806C B00DDC60-533B-489B-B71D-85D7542C11FE

Used some hemp rope to make a simple net. Since this pic I have ran the cord up through the hanging knot so I can’t be seen.



This post is just what I have searched for, the spray paint, is it a special for glass?

Yes, Grotto, you'll want to use "sea glass" or "frosted glass" paint. There's a diffusion quality built into the paint so that it acts more translucent than opaque. You can use regular paint, but the effect isn't as nice.

Also, I drill out and make some glass fish float lamps on A Moment of Tiki if you have interest in such things.

Yeah, I am a subscriber to your channel. So I am looking through all of your videos for tips and ideas for my upcoming home Tiki bar. I’m gonna check up on the sea glass paint, see what is available here in Denmark.

I recently just bought a vintage float and drilled into it. I got a 3" diamond hole cutting bit off of amazon and went for it. I put in a Bluetooth multicolor light and it took about 3 minutes. I was super happy with the result. Paid $30 for the vintage float, $9 for the light, and $12 for the hemp wrapped socket/15' plug. Awesome setup. I am hoping to find a lot more floats soon to make more.

Pics or it didn't happen! LOL

Congratulations on your first steps down a slippery slope!

Let me try to figure out how to post pics....

[ Edited by LenfantsCocktails on 2023-02-23 15:41:58 ]


[ Edited by LenfantsCocktails on 2023-02-23 15:42:29 ]

Or, you can easily light the float by attaching a small bulb to the top and hiding it in more rope.

So glad I read this just now, waiting on some floats to arrive and just ordered the drill bits last night, but I'm going to try this first before I risk breaking stuff.

Was looking for outdoor candelabra sockets since it's going on my patio, found some replacement Christmas light sockets (25 for $10 on amazon) so I'll try those that way I can run one wire between the smaller lights and just pop the sockets on wherever I need them.

I realized I never posted what I came up with. Basically just placed a thin puck light in the dimple on top of some floats and that's it! Worked great. Also lit some sweet ship's lanterns from eBay by placing a puck in the bottom, shining up.

And I swear, the room is not anywhere near as bright as the camera makes it look! Without the bistro lights you'd trip over a potted plant.


[ Edited by bamboo stu on 2023-11-13 17:06:09 ]

[ Edited by bamboo stu on 2023-11-13 17:08:55 ]

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