Give new light to your old fluorescent tube bulbs

Give new light to your old fluorescent tube bulbs

Here’s a pretty cool design that makes use of old fluorescent tube bulbs that are found in most commercial stores, schools, and other public buildings. The “Recycled Tube Light” wraps the dead bulbs around a pair of incandescent bulbs, which creates a surprisingly nice glow from within the light fixture.

[via], Castor Design Studio

28 thoughts on “Give new light to your old fluorescent tube bulbs

  1. Dave says:

    I wonder what would happen if you stuck a UV emitting bulb in the middle of that collection of fluorescent tubes? Would the tubes convert the UV to visible light and glow? Might be fun to try.


  2. jkiniston says:

    This is a real cool idea.

  3. Bandman says:


    No no no, you’re doing it all wrong. You’ve got to wrap the lights around a magnetron. ;-)

  4. macegr says:

    It’s nice art, but hardly practical. You’re combining the efficiency of incandescent light bulbs with the chemical hazard of fluorescent.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lame and ugly combo.

  6. DirkusMaximus says:

    I think it looks pretty cool, in an industrial, geeky kinda way.

    I do agree on the point of using incandescents. I’d go for CFL’s myself. As far as the thing about the chemical hazards of fluorescent bulbs, would you rather have these rotting in a landfill somewhere, depositing their trace amounts of mercury into the soil? FYI, this falls under the “reuse” part of that whole “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” thing.

    I’d be interested to see what would happen with the UV light idea too, might be kinda neat to see.

  7. Blanka says:

    Jelle de Bruijn from the Netherlands made exactly this lamp a few years ago. Fun to see a exact copy now in Canada.

  8. Bob Darlington says:

    UV bulbs use quarts glass envelopes, but are otherwise identical in construction to regular fluorescent bulbs. Regular ones obviously have a phosphor coat inside.

    The reason UV bulbs use quartz glass is so that the UV can get through. Hardly any gets through the regular bulbs that are used for lighting up rooms, so hardly any will be able to get back inside to excite the phosphor if you used a UV bulb externally.

  9. gnomic says:

    Basically, you are using the fluorescent lights as a diffuser, reducing the amount of light from the original source. You are not gaining any light from the fluorescent bulbs, in fact, you are using more energy to overcome the absorption from the tubes.

    About the only good thing is that you have kept the tubes out of the waste stream for a while – until they break and create a hazard.

  10. thesamurai1200 says:

    didn’t you know? incandescents are the devil. you have to use CFLs or you go to hell…

  11. winkosmosis says:

    Not worth having all that mercury around. Seems like you’d be pretty likely to break one of the fluorescents while doing the arts and crafts stuff.

  12. MÃ¥rten says:

    To those of you who don’t get it: no one claimed that it was environmentally friendly.

    Although, as DirkusMaximus pointed out, (and depending on other materials used) if you do use CFL’s instead of incandescents it is environmentally friendly because you reuse old light bulbs instead of throwing them out.

    Interesting point about the UV light, probably right about it being blocked!

    Gnomic, if you think its prettier to have bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, go ahead. Considering that the tubes are designed to transmit and diffuse visible light my guess is they absorb far less than most “normal” diffusers used on most lamps. (which is why this is such a neat idea in my opinion).

    Concerning the mercury:
    1. you’re reusing old tubes so you’re not adding to the environment.
    2. when you grow tired of the lamp turn it in for recycling. problem solved.
    3. Even if it should break, the amount of mercury is ridiculously small, it wont have an impact on you. (the worry is about the huge volumes of lamps produced = mercury released into the environment, not about the amount in each lamp.)

    And last, I think it’s pretty, but thats individual after all.

    Thanks for posting it! :)

  13. UV Bulbs says:

    Here is a list of reasons people do this:

    1.So do people that look at it think you are cutting electrical costs? No, their are 14 fluorescent bulbs in that fixture.

    2. Does it look good? Not to me

    3. Is it efficient? No, the incadesent bulbs behind it are dimmed significantly by the fixture.

    4. What purpose does it serve? Art only…..

  14. karen says:

    I think if they were standing upright, they’d make a very interesting floor lamp. I lust bought a house where I found a bunch of these. I think I’ll try this. These are 8 ft’ tubes and I have 9′ ceilings.

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