How to make a lava lamp

The surface tension is one of the most interesting effects we can observe in a mixture of liquids of different densities. A fun and decorative way to see this effect is with the famous psychedelic or lava lamps, which were invented by Edward Craven Walker in the 1960s. Next, we will see how to build an attractive lava lamp in just a few steps and with easy-to-find materials.

Lava lamp


- Distilled water.

- Baby oil (Transparent).

- Vegetable (oil) colouring.

- Colourless paraffin.

- A heat-resistant glass bottle (Pyrex or Kimix)

- A spring that covers the entire bottom of the bottle.

- A metal can with the same width as the bottle.

- A light bulb of about 40 watts.

- Metal cover.

- Gypsum.

Coloured lava lamp

Assembling the base

To make the base of our lava lamp, we make a hole in the base of the can through which we are going to pass the wires of the socket of our lava lamp. lamp. Then, we fix the socket to the base with glue and make a plaster preparation, which we pour into the tin so that the lamp is fixed and at the same time a counterweight is created, so that the base can support the lamp. Let the plaster dry for at least a couple of hours (make sure that the plaster does not go over the socket). After the plaster has dried, place the bulb inside the socket.

Lava lamp containers

Bottle preparation

The first step is to clean the bottle thoroughly with water and dishwasher, to prevent lava from sticking to it. Let the bottle dry and when it is completely dry, insert the spring which should be at the bottom of the bottle as a ring that covers the entire surface of the bottom. This spring will act as a promoter in the heat exchange and will promote the breaking of the surface tension.

Scheme for the lava lamp

Lava preparation

Melt the paraffin using a water bath. Once melted, add two tablespoons of the baby oil to the liquid paraffin and mix the components together. Then, add a little baby oil into the bottle (about 2 cm) and shake the bottle so that the oil remains all over the inside surface.

Take the mixture of paraffin and oil and add vegetable colouring and mix. Pour the mixture into the bottle with the help of a funnel, taking care that it does not spill over the walls of the bottle. bottle. The amount of mixture to be added will be approximately 4 cm, then let the mixture solidify inside the bottle.

The next step is to add distilled water about halfway up the bottle. Next, add a little baby oil and then more distilled water until you reach about 4 cm from the top of the bottle. bottle. Cover the bottle with the metal cap and let the paraffin mixture harden completely, at least 12 hours.

After the 12 hours, we put the bottle in the refrigerator for at least an hour (to dissipate any traces of air in the paraffin) and our lava is ready. We place the bottle on the base and light the lamp. As this is the first time, it may take a couple of hours to see the effect.

Homemade lava lamp

How it works

When the aqueous medium of the lava lampThe surface tension between the fluids inside, creating bubbles that float on the aqueous medium, offering a very attractive optical effect.

13 thoughts on “Cómo hacer una lámpara de lava”

  1. Well, it doesn't add up at all. As they say, paraffin floats on water. If you dissolve it in oil it floats even more. What they used from the beginning to densify the paraffin is carbon tetrachloride, which has been banned for years.... Someone please explain to me why the children's oil or paraffin is going to go to the bottom without using something else like the one I am talking about, there is no basis or argumentation for it.

  2. Well. i apologise for speaking without knowledge. i did my research, and i found that, paraffin is different from candles made with paraffin. here is my mistake.

    1. Could you please specify. I have just bought some candles made of paraffin, is it not going to help me to add the baby oil as it is said, in a bain-marie?

      1. Sorry, I meant to specify, if you can correct it before posting, and delete this comment.

  3. How is that possible? If paraffin floats in water and oil floats in water. I just got something misshapen floating in water with oil in a bottle. You didn't give the proportions of paraffin and oil or mention any other ingredients. Please comment.

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