30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators

Vintage Glass insulators were first produced in the 1850s for telegraph lines, then for telephone and power transmission lines. They insulated and protected the wooden poles from the electricity coursing through the wires. They are made from glass, porcelain, or composite polymer materials (non-conductive materials). That was the insulator’s primary purpose. Hemingray, Brookfield, and Whitall Tatum are some of the companies that made them. Glass insulators are perfect for upcycling projects. They are an excellent material for lights, candle holders, planters, or other decorations with their industrial style. Their gorgeous colors and decorative edging and the manufacturer’s markings were works of art when aesthetics were necessary along with functionality. Here are some of the 30 best ideas we’ve found and that are made from old glass insulators.

Glass Insulator Candleholder & Tea Light

Upcycle a glass insulator as well as an old mattress spring. The spring fits quite nicely around the tapered top edge and creates a broad, stable base. Add some decorative ribbon or thread, and you’ve got a gorgeous upcycled candle holder. A rusty bed spring and a vintage aqua glass insulator make a cute little votive holder.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 1 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Can you picture these adorable lanterns lighting up your next outdoor party? Just add long twists of wire to create handles and hang them from the nearest nail or branch!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 3 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Who would’ve thought an industrial product that isn’t needed anymore could become an elegant centerpiece or mantlepiece?

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 5 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Combine two upcycled items to create a shabby-chic candleholder!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 7 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Old wood, including driftwood, vintage barn wood, and other wood with many characters like old beetle holes, termite tunnels, etc., can add a LOT of interest to these rustic candle holders. If you’re worried about live critters, you can heat-treat the wood in the oven – find YouTube videos on how to remove pine beetles from wood in the oven.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 9 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Turn upcycled old horseshoes and vintage insulators into this unique, stable, and stylish centerpiece for your table or to adorn a mantle. Beautifully rustic!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 11 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Make Vintage Glass Insulators into various Pendant Lamps and Chandeliers!

Who would’ve thought that thick, sturdy glass insulators could become part of this delicate, airy chandelier that could be used indoors or outdoors! It is a beautiful way to create unique artwork for your home.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 13 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Upcycle an old skeleton key and scrap wire into this curly-footed little candle holder that would add a touch of rustic elegance to any room!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 15 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas
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Glass Insulator Light

Industrial, steampunk, or just flat cool! That’s what this pipe-fitting and insulator lamp is. Wouldn’t this be gorgeous as a set for your pallet headboard?

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 18 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Add Edison-style bulbs or the latest LED bulbs to create really beautiful pendant Glass Insulator lamps!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 20 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Make a strong statement with this industrial bedside lamp made from pipes and a vintage glass insulator.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 22 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

A dual-lamp bedside or desk lamp from insulators and pipes. Industrial strength and vintage beauty combined to make eye-catching lighting!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 24 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

The best of upcycling! Use an old lamp base and add a glass insulator as the lampshade for a unique little lamp. This would even make a great nightlight for a kid’s room without looking like a “baby’s room” nightlight, so your kids feel grown up!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 26 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Here’s a clever way to use a glass insulator: turn it into the lamp BASE! Add a copper lampshade, and you’ve got something unique for any room of the house. Could you see these hanging over a pool table?

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 28 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Old-school or modern industrial style – it’s up to you when you use Vintage Glass Insulators in your lamps!

A modern industrial lamp – again using the insulator as the base, but a shiny lampshade makes it look very modern.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 30 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

A back-to-back Hemingway Glass lamp could rival any beautiful Victorian-style lamp!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 32 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

A cute idea for a winter centerpiece. You could add battery-powered led lamps underneath or use a string of holiday lights. Use twinkling ones of multi-colored lights for more fun.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 34 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

A wicked-cool steampunk-style bicycle parts lamp! This uses a bicycle rack, a metal shoe-tree, an old glass insulator, and other fun upcycled parts to create this beautiful Glass Insulator Desk Lamp.

A pretty pair of lamps suitable for your desk, bedside table, or a living area made from high power insulators & railway screws.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 42 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Solar lights using an antique glass insulator, a recycled electrical conduit, and recycled machine shop drop. Or the leftovers for these, I use what is left after they stamp out golf divot tools. The pieces are welded into a leaf that is then welded onto the conduit. Rebar is added to the bottom and a treated rod to the top. I drill out the insulator using a drill press and a diamond-tipped a bit. The glass insulators I use fit the solar light top you can get at Wal-Mart.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 45 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas
For more solar light ideas, you can check this article: Solar Soda Lights.

Glass Insulator Planter & Vase

You don’t always have to make lamps. How about this delicate-looking little vintage glass vase made from an upside-down insulator and an old bed spring or twisted wire? Too cute!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 47 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Wouldn’t this be an amazing wedding decoration? They’re too pretty to give as party favors, though. :)

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 49 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Another adorable little shabby-chic planter or vase using twine or sisal rope and an old insulator.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 51 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

This idea for cute little succulent planters would be great for indoor or outdoor living areas!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 53 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

More great succulent planters using insulators.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 55 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

More Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators!

Why not make a classic paperweight, but add some personal touches with some simple wire twists and create a photo display as well?

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 57 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Turn glass insulators into a shabby chic glass insulator coat rack!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 59 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Look at this amazing holiday tree using glass insulators and a lamp pole! Brilliant and so unique! Plus, it is reusable and a heck of a lot easier to put up each year!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 61 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

Use glass insulators as bookends! <3 You could even use a pair of glass insulators as book holders, simple!

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 63 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas
Price Guide for Insulators: A History and Guide to North American Glass Pintype Insulators
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Price Guide for Insulators: A History and Guide to North American Glass Pintype Insulators
  • McDougald, John (Author)
  • 264 Pages - 08/01/2003 (Publication Date) - Tan Books (Publisher)

Here are a few extra ideas for using Vintage Glass Insulators.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 66 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas

And here is a tutorial on how to make your light from an old Vintage Glass insulator and most important how to drill a hole in the glass.

30+ Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators 68 • Do-It-Yourself Ideas
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Amanda Hammond

Tracy Hicks

Kelly Arthur Montgomery

Good, I need ideas, I have a ton of these things.

Diana
Diana

Using pipes that thread together and a lamp kit with cord and light bulb attachment you then drill a hole or have a hole drilled into the top of the insulators to use as an lamp shade…. It makes a great desk lamp or night light

You also could make a wood base install bulb and plug and place the insulator on top opening side down. No need for a hole to be drilled.

Or simply flip it upside down find a base to hold it and use it for a candle holder

Kathy
Kathy

I love these! Where in the heck can you find glass insulators?

Erica S.
Erica S.
Reply to  Kathy

You can find the upcycled insulator lights here:

We have lots of upcycled insulator products.

Cathy
Cathy
Reply to  Erica S.

I have MANY clear ones in perfect condition. Would like to sell them. Contact me.

Bill
Bill
Reply to  Kathy

Check antique stores. You should pay no more that $8.00 unless they are a very unusual color.

Robin Bridges
Robin Bridges

I love these!Fortunately, those of a green and creative mind have a wide range of options available to them when they begin to map their strategy to install recycled insulation materials or some other form of eco-friendly insulation.

Robin Bridges
Robin Bridges
Reply to  Robin Bridges

Probably the easiest way to recycle glass insulators is to simply place them on top of leaflets, magazines, or other documents that you keep on your desk, coffee table, or office cubicle. Not only do they do the job, but you may just get somebody to point at your glass paperweight and inquire, “What is that?” Needless to say, glass insulators can sometimes make interesting conversation pieces!

Kimberly( except on Mondays)
Kimberly( except on Mondays)

I have tons of creative ideas that I’d like to collaborate with someone else on. I’m in a new town & can’t find anyone to bounce this stuff off of much less, people who love to create. Feels like I stepped into the movie “Ground Hog Day”. Every day it’s the same old sh-t. This must be one of the most uninspired towns on the planet! Anyway, There is a flea market nearby where I can find these. It would be inspiring though to work with someone else who is like minded. Just putting it out there ;)

Vickie
Vickie

What town do you live in !? There must be someone that is interested in the same things as you !

Tina Robison
Tina Robison

do you have the link for the tutorial at the end? I’m not seeing it. Thanks.

Jay
Jay

What are you using to drill the insulators?

Carson Drayson
Carson Drayson

where is the link to drill the insulators pls???

joshua
joshua

How are attaching the insulator to the the pipe?

Susan Nolen
Susan Nolen

I have several old insulators, and have used some for candle holders, but these ideas are awesome.

Pat S.
Pat S.

Quite a few yrs back the trend with insulators was to place them in the oven until you had a crackle effect. I’ve often wondered how to do it especially after I acquired a couple of them. At this point I either have to find out how to do it or sell them. Anyone know how it’s done?

kathy barber
kathy barber
Reply to  Pat S.

I bake mine at 500 degree oven for an hour then put them in a ice water bath after

Neokentin
Reply to  kathy barber

Thanks Kathy, nice tip! :)

Kerry Bender
Kerry Bender

If anyone is looking to buy some insulators of all shapes, sized, and colors please email me at kbbd85@yahoo.com

Lewis Hizer
Lewis Hizer
Reply to  Kerry Bender

Do you have any that are NOT aqua or clear?

Autymn D. C.
Autymn D. C.

It doesn’t fit nesciently; you do.
thick -> coarse

Kimberly mitchell
Kimberly mitchell

Where can you find the purple ones ? I have never seen them or the dark blue

Robert Schreib
Robert Schreib

Could they be remade into decorative salt and pepper shakers?

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