I love ingenuity – how cool is this improvised tent lamp? Really cool, right? It reminded me of this video, Plastic Bottles Light Up Homes in Manilla Slums, which really moved me. I love invention. It’s so great when someone comes up with a money and resource-saving device.
I tried it myself, with variations:
- 16 oz plastic water bottle. I took the label off. It’s pretty directional and not much better than the headlamp on its own. Apart from the pretty effect of dappled light on the wall.
- 12 oz glass water bottle. Even more directional than the 16 oz plastic bottle.
- 2 liter plastic soda bottle (label off). Better than the 16 oz, but the spread of light was not as amazing as expected.
- Snapware 15.9 Cup Square Grip Airtight Storage Container. Works great! I was impressed with how much light this gave me. I could read a spray bottle about 9 feet away. I didn't even have to squint that much.
- Emergency Essentials Mixer Pitcher. (See picture below.) I think this was my fave. The opaque container diffuses the light nicely and leaves enough light for a decent reach.
If you don’t want to DIY, check out our emergency lighting options. (Our 100 Hour Candles are especially awesome.) But if you do want to build one on your own, all you need is a headlamp (or other light like a flashlight or glowstick) and a plastic water bottle or jug.
Step One: Fill a plastic bottle or jug with water.
Step Two: Pour in bleach (optional).
Step Three: Adjust headlamp to fit securely around container. Or if you’re using a flashlight, place it on the ground next to the container. I aimed the headlamp up, rather than down, because I figured I didn’t need light on the ground.
Step Four: Bring people over to admire your creation!
From what I can figure out, the water diffracts and diffuses the light (or spreads out the beam). These guys agree with me. I read that it works better if you add bleach (but I also read that the bleach is just there to kill bacteria).
My conclusion is, the more you can diffuse the light, the more of a “lamp” effect you get. A plastic milk jug works really well because it’s large, stable, and portable. Think of all the possible variations…
Quick, somebody try putting a flashlight in a SuperPail (without water) and see if that works. Is it too opaque?
Here’s to unique, innovative lighting solutions! You never know what you’ll be able to invent in a pinch. Go preppers!