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How to Make a Charismatic Lava Lamp

How to Make a Charismatic Lava Lamp
Want to try making your own groovy lava lamp? If yes, then find the instructions on how to make a charismatic lava lamp by going through the following interesting article.
CraftCue Staff
One of the most essential parts of the Retro era was a colorful lava lamp. A bachelor's pad is said to be incomplete, if it lacks the groovy lava lamp. Are you looking out for a cool science experiment to showcase at school, that does not terrorize your parents? You should try your hand in making a lava lamp. Yes, I have gone on and on about a lava lamp, but why? 'Cause it is one of the easiest stuff to make on your own. If you do not have extra cash to spend on buying expensive lava lamps sold in stores, then you can make them at home.

What is a Lava Lamp?

Lava lamps, also called Astro lamps, are a decorative novelty item. They are made of a glass vessel that contains a clear liquid filled with wax. When the incandescent lamp bulb beneath it is heated, the wax starts rising and falling due to change in density. It has an appearance of a Pāhoehoe lava, that is smooth, unbroken lava. Thus, the lamp is called lava lamp. You too can try making these interesting lamps at home. All you need to do is follow the instructions given below.

How to Make a Lava Lamp Using Alka Seltzer?

In order to make a charismatic lava lamp, you need a few safe ingredients right from your kitchen. These lamps are non-toxic and can be safely made by kids as well. You will also be free from problems if you've made it yourself, compared to the problems you may encounter with those bought from the market.

Ingredients
  • 1 liter plastic bottle or a clear jar with lid
  • Food coloring agents
  • Alka seltzer tablet
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
Instructions to Make a Lava Lamp

Fill about 3/4th of the bottle or jar with vegetable oil. Fill rest of the bottle with water and drop a few drops of food coloring agent. You will find that the food coloring agents just adds color to the water droplets. Now, take the alka seltzer tablet and break it into pieces. The minute you drop in the piece of the alka seltzer tablet, bubbles begin to appear. After you see the alka seltzer reaction in the bottle complete, add another tablet to the bottle for more bubbles. Place a torch behind the bottle or jar. This will help add the light factor to your homemade lava lamp. Place a cap or lid to the bottle or jar you are using. Then, you can even move the bottle back and forth in your hand. Observe the tiny droplets of water join and make a bigger lava-like blob.

How Does a Lava Lamp Work?

A lava lamp works on the basic chemistry fact, that is, emulsion. We all know oil and water don't mix. They form an emulsion as the molecules of water do not mix with the molecules of oil. So, when you add the food coloring agent it mixes only with water and not oil. When water is poured into the bottle of oil, it will sink to the bottom. This is because, oil is heavier than water. Thus, it is bound to float over water. The alka seltzer tablets added to this emulsion, start reacting with water. This leads to formation of carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide forms bubbles that attach itself to the water. Thus, you see the colored water float to the surface. When the bubble pops, the colors float back to the bottom, giving you an impression of traditional lava lamp.

Isn't this an interesting experiment to try? Placing a lamp or torch behind the bottle gives it an impression of light seen in a traditional lamp. Add a splash of food coloring agent to the oil and water emulsion with a dash of alka seltzer tablets. And make your own groovy, bubbly, crazy, charismatic lava lamp at home.
Lava Lamp
Water Bottle