“I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” - Tom Stoppard

Heineken Mini Keg Touch Lamp

So lets say you had an awesome party, tons of people great time. You even bought one of those Heineken Mini-Kegs. Their cool, and cheap, for under 20 bucks you get 5 liters of beer, and it's fresh. The only problem is how do you get rid of it the next morning? It's made from recyclable steel, so you don't want to just throw it out, but you can't just recycle it with your every day aluminum can. If you live by a transfer station then dropping it off is no problem. But when I went looking online to see how people got rid of theirs I noticed people would reuse it, instead of recycle it. That's exactly what I did. The idea wasn't mine originally, but I was successful in converting an empty mini-keg into a touch lamp.

What You'll Need

The equipment you'll need is only a drill, with two drill bit sizes, 3/8 of an inch, and one that's about the size of the wire you'll be using. You'll also need a dremel with a disk cutting tool, wire strippers, and a philips screw driver. The hardware needed is listed below.

- 1 Foot tall 3/8 inch think threaded rod (used in lamps)
- Lamp Kit
- Touch Dimmer (screw-in type)
- Light Bulb
- Empty Mini-Keg
- Optional 2 part epoxy
- Optional Lamp Shade
- Optional 3/8 Washers


The first step is to drink the beer (duh). Once the keg is empty and only spitting out foam, put it in the sink and hold the drain lever until no more air comes out. This will drain the CO2 and release the pressure.


Using the drill, and the smaller drill bit, make a hole on the back of the keg near the bottom. I used this hold to feed the electrical wire into.

I also created a second hold for the rod to go into, but looking back I should have used the same hold for both. In any case I drilled a second hold in the center of the bottom using the 3/8 bit.

With These two holes drilled I put a bunch of water in there, swashed it around a bit, and then drained it. I repeated this until the water that came out was clear, and that old beer smell was gone. An important part that I didn't realize until I tried to make a 2nd lamp is that you should not use warm water. It might loosen the carbenator from the bottom. If this happens you have two options, drill a big enough hole on the top to pull it out, or try to glue/epoxy the carbonator in place neither end well so just use cold water.

Opening the Top

I cut opened the top with a generic dremel tool, and a disk cutting tool. You may find it easier to just use a large drill bit (I know I would) but I thought the CO2 canister was in the center, so I wanted to make a hole large enough to pull it out. Turns out it is to the side. So if you use a smaller hole then you may not need the washers in the end to cover up the large hold.

Sizing the Rod (that's what she said)

With a hold cut in the top, and drilled in the bottom I placed the threaded rod in to see where to cut it. I knew it should be around 1 foot or so.

Then I cut it using the dremel again (but I think a coping saw could have would have been just as easy)

Feeding the Wire

Since I have two hold in the bottom (one for the rod one for the wire) I needed a way to feed the wire into the rod, so it comes out the top. I accomplished this by first running the wire up the keg. The wire was included in the light kit.

Then I took the 1 foot rod, and cut a slit into it (using the dremel again) near the bottom big enough for the wire to be fed into it.

Then I took the fed the wire though rod, and put the rod into the top of the keg. Since my hole in the top was so big I used two washers to make it look less ugly. Two because there wasn't a single washer in the size I needed.

Then I screwed on the cap (which came in the lamp kit) onto the top to hold the washers on there.

I then took a bolt (from the kit again) and screwed it onto the bottom of the rod (coming out the bottom of the keg).

Testing and Lamp Shade

With the basics of the lamp together I tested it. The kit came with a light socket, it has two screw terminals, one for each of the wires. Just plug it in, and turn the screw on the socket to test it out.

Woo Hoo it works...and I forgot the lamp shade holder...so I had to take it apart again. But after getting it together it still works. The touch lamp part is actually the easiest. Just screw on the touch adapter, and put the bulb in the adapter. The adapter is the white thing in the pictures.


Medium (I touched it)

Bright (I touched it again)

Finishing Touches

Since I punched a second hole for the wire I wanted to patch it up, so the wire would get cut on the sharp edges of the can. This is where I used the 2 part epoxy. I used the solid stuff that comes in a tube not the injection kind.

After it hardens it can be sanded and painted. Finally I put on a lamp shade. I wanted a green one but couldn't find one so I just grabbed one from another lamp until I get a green one for it.

Extra Pictures

Photo Albums

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This work by Brian Hoover is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.brian-hoover.com.