How to fill a BRÅN lamp from Ikea



I’m embarrassed at how much I love Ikea.  Yesterday, my mom helped me pick out a rug for our new apartment, since I am inept at choosing items larger than a lampshade.  We also bought a lamp, since San Jose apartments don’t believe in overhead lighting.  Ikea has a million lamps, so we got the BRÅN, a small lamp with a mouth-blown glass base.  We assumed it could be filled with stuff, but we were wrong!



The metal cap does NOT want to come off! You can see where I scraped it trying.

The BRÅN comes with the light housing very firmly attached, and was not meant to be filled. Whether or not this means it wasn’t meant for filling, I don’t know.  But I got it home and damnit, I was going to put stuff in it.  So, if you want something easy, I’d try to find a lamp specifically made for this project*.  But if you are in the same pickle as me, try this:

You’ll need: pins, hair dryer, gloves or non-stick pad, superglue

1. Find a good, strong pin (or an exacto) thin enough to wedge between the metal cap and the glass base.  Please, oh, please remember to be careful.  If you have some gloves, wear them, but make sure you are NEVER firmly grasping the glass base with your bare hand.

2. Wedge the pin or exacto blade in between the cap and base, pulling out and in all around the diameter of the top.  There’s glue keeping it together, so this will just try to break that seal as much as possible.  It’s not likely that this will completely do the trick, but try to give it a turn just in case.  I recommend using the non-slip pads that are used to open jars.

3.  Once you’ve done all the damage you can with the pin (or pins, since you’ll probably bend a few) turn your hair dryer onto the metal.  I slowly rotated the lamp to heat all the surface of the metal cap for about a minute.

4.  Use the non-slip bad to grasp the metal cap and firmly and slowly twist.   Make sure the hand holding the base is covered, in case of breakage.  If the cap does not twist off, try a little more heat.

Fill 'er up!

5.  Voila! Now you have an open lamp just waiting to be filled with marbles, bobbins, taxidermied mice, whatever.  I used little wads of colored tissue paper for now.  Once filled, dab a few dots of super glue on the inside rim of the metal cap and place it back on the glass base.  This should hold the light housing in place well enough to display, but weak enough to allow for changing out the filling.

*I did some internet sleuthing, and couldn’t find any affordable options for fillable bases. I’m sure they are out there, but maybe that is why these Ikea lamps were so cheap.  Well, one of the reasons.  It may just make a lot more sense to do this yourself.  As always!


16 Comments on “How to fill a BRÅN lamp from Ikea”

  1. Brandy says:

    I am so glad you posted this!!! I was in the same boat you were and your blog helped a great deal. Thank you

  2. birdjibble says:

    Glad I could be of help. I was getting mighty frustrated it didn’t come customizable. That reminds me that I should switch it up again!

  3. Candace says:

    I just bought this lamp and was just as excited to get home an full it. I lost my excitement after about 30 min of trying to open it and sat there another 5 min wondering why if the cap doesn’t come off who would just want a clear glass lamp. So I googled the lamp on a chance and I found this post. I am definitely trying this out tomorrow. THANKS!!!!

  4. […] for wasting $23 on a clear lamp. Then I turned to the google machine and voila, there it was. The solution? Using a hairdryer to heat the cap and loosen the glue. Genius. Bloggers amaze […]

  5. Kent Barnard says:

    Nice! My daughter got me one of these, and I wanted to put sand and shells in it for my b beachy nautical theme. I tried to twist off the top, because as you said – who wants a clear lamp!?!?!?! I will be doing this very soon – I think the hair dryer is the right choice – a heat gun would generate too much heat and take off the paint.

  6. Rebecca Buck says:

    Thanks for posting this – my son wanted these filled for his very first grown up apartment. Know I know how to do it. Thanks again.

  7. robinsclason says:

    Same problem- jazzed to try it!

  8. Lindsay says:

    Ah I was so disappointed when I got home and was so excited to fill my lamp base! Thank god you had the same problem (except wish it were a fill able lamp to begin with) and found a solution, now I’m going to try it!

  9. Mark says:

    Thanks for this – my wife and I bought these lamps from IKEA just for this purpose.
    Your suggestion to use a blow dryer was incredibly insightful. However I found an even easier method to remove the fixture: hot water! I just heated up the kettle, and carefully poured a little over the metal clasp. Honestly, after that, the fixture just slipped off with no effort! It seems the boiling water not only expands the metal joint, but also melts the glue. Give it a try!

  10. Tasha says:

    Thanks for the info 🙂 boyfriend managed to take it apart & I filled it… Picture on Instagram if you’d like to see 🙂


  11. Emma says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I was so excited to fill these lamps after I bought them…Imagine my disappointment–after making the three-hour round trip to Ikea and back–when I realized the cap didn’t come off. Internets = my hero.

  12. Katrina says:

    Did the same thing. It was in as-is section because it was a display. How can I pass up a $2 lamp that is small enough to sit on a side table for extra light. I mean $2! I had plans to fill it. Just like you found out that thing is glued tighter than…..
    Googled filling IKEA Bran lamp and yours is 1st one I found! WAHOOO
    Doing mine this weekend!!
    Thank you!
    Oh and doing marbles in mine.

  13. Jeff says:

    Thanks for posting! I picked up this lamp at a goodwill for 10 bucks and couldn’t wait to fill it, but could get the top off. I’m glad you shared your knowledge!

  14. Katie White says:

    I am still struggling to get the top off after an hour of trying! I’ve tried everything from heating it up with a hair dryer to putting it under hot running water. Any ideas would be great! Thanks!

  15. Joel says:

    When you say “pin” what do you mean? I can’t seem to find a tool to wedge underneath the cap!

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