Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Your Challenge: Get your groove on and create a psychedelic lamp! Lava Lamp


Clear Jar with Lid


Vegetable Oil

Food Coloring



Here’s How:

  1. Fill the jar three-quarters full of water
  2. Add food coloring as you like. (Sprinkle in glitter for extra sparkle!)
  3. Fill the jar almost all the way to the top with vegetable oil. Allow mixture to separate.
  4. Pour salt into the jar until you see the lava effect.
  5. When the bubbles stop, add salt to see it again.
  6. Shine a flashlight behind the jar to really see it glow!


How It Works:

The secret behind the “lava” is science. Oil is less dense than water, so it rises to the surface. Salt is more dense, so it travels to the bottom. Therefore, blobs of oil attach to the salt and travel down, creating bubbles. Then, as the salt dissolves, the bubbles travel back up to the top.

Fun Facts:

  • The largest lava lamp in the world is 4 feet tall and holds over 10 gallons of “lava”.
  • The most expensive lava lamp was sold for $15,000!
  • The lava lamp was invented in the 1960s and went by the name “Astro Lamp”.
  • There is no lava in a lava lamp. It got its name from the company that bought its rights, Lava Lite.
  • Lava Lamps can be dangerous. If a heat source is placed beneath the lamp, the internal pressure increases, eventually causing the lamp to explode.
  • Most lamps are shaped like a vertical rocket ship with a metal base and top.


Related Careers:

ChemistElectrical EngineerHydrologist

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