Heat Considerations for Edison Bulb Projects

If you’re a DIY’er like us and making your own lights using Edison bulbs, don’t forget to take the heat output of the bulb into consideration.

When using fabric shades, or other flammable materials in your project then make sure there’s adequate space between the bulb and the material. And make sure the material is supported, not free to flap into the bulb and rest on it.

A popular project with Edison bulbs is a mason jar pendant light. This is a great project because it’s easy to do, shows off the bulb itself, and has an overall vintage-retro vibe to it. If you’re building a mason jar pendant light, then be sure to account for the heat produced by the bulb. There are a few variations we’ve seen on how people do this. One method is to drill holes into the lid of the jar around the rim which allows the heat to escape out the top of the jar. This is probably the simplest solution.

Another solution we’ve seen requires more technical acumen. You can leave the lid intact and cut the bottom off of the jar. Obviously be extremely careful when cutting the glass, and polish the edges of the cut with wet sandpaper so you don’t leave sharp edges on the bottom of the jar. If you have small enough hands, this design would allow you to change the light bulb in place without removing the lid. But again, beware the sharp edges.

This caution applies to enclosures of any type, not just mason jars. If you’re enclosing the light bulb, make sure there’s a path for heat to escape.