Who doesn’t love a lava lamp? You know, that motionless blob of goo that sits in the bottom of the bottle and never moves, but has those mesmerizing blobs of color floating around it like some kind of psychedelic art project? It’s just so cool! Well, I tried to make one myself with baking soda – and it was actually really easy!
Lava lamps are a fun and easy way to add some flair to your home decor. They’re also a great project to do with kids since they’re fascinated by the bubbling lava.
You can buy a lava lamp kit at most craft stores, but it’s just as easy (and much cheaper) to make your own. All you need is a few common household ingredients and a little bit of time.
What You’ll Need
- Plastic or glass container
- Vegetable oil
- Food coloring
- Baking soda
- Funnel (optional)
- Pour vegetable oil into the soda bottle until it’s about ⅓ full.
- Add water to the bottle until it’s ⅔ full.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the water and oil mixture and swirl it around to mix well.
- Add baking soda to the bottle (about 1 tablespoon per cup of liquid).
- Pour vinegar into the bottle (about 1 tablespoon per cup of liquid).
- Screw the lid on tightly and shake the lava lamp well to mix everything together.
- Place your lava lamp in a dark room and watch as the “lava” rises and falls!
Step 1: Prepare the Container
Choose a plastic or glass container that you want to use for your lava lamp. Make sure it is clean and dry. You can also customize your container with stickers, paint, or other decorations.
Step 2: Add the Water and Vegetable Oil
Fill your container halfway with water. Pour vegetable oil into the container until it is nearly full, leaving about an inch of space at the top. The layer of oil will float on top of the layer of water.
Step 3: Add Food Coloring
Add a few drops of food coloring to the container. The more food coloring you add, the brighter your lava lamp will be! Swirl the water and oil gently with a toothpick or spoon to mix in the color.
Step 4: Add Baking Soda
Use a funnel (optional) to slowly pour baking soda into the container. The baking soda should sink to the bottom, and then float back up through the layers of oil and water.
Step 5: Add More Food Coloring
Add a few more drops of food coloring at this stage if you want your lava lamp to be brighter or a different color. Again, swirl gently with a toothpick or spoon to mix in the color.
Step 6: Enjoy Your DIY Lava Lamp
Turn out the lights and watch your lava lamp come to life! The baking soda’s reaction with the water and oil will cause it to slowly rise up through the layers of liquid. When it finally reaches the top, some of the food coloring is released and creates a beautiful lava lamp effect. Enjoy your homemade lava lamp!
Tips and Tricks
For best results, use an LED light to see the most vibrant colors in your lava lamp.
If you’re not getting the desired reaction from your baking soda, try adding more food coloring as it helps activate the reaction.
You can also experiment with different types of oil (e.g. baby oil, coconut oil) to get a different look and feel for your lava lamp.
For extra fun, try adding glitter or sequins to the water before adding baking soda! The glitter will react with the baking soda, giving your DIY lava lamp an even more magical effect.
Have an adult help if you’re using a glass container or a hot glue gun.
Related Topic: How To Make A Lava Lamp With Salt?
Making your own lava lamp is a great way to learn about chemistry and have lots of fun in the process! With just a few simple ingredients, you can create something that looks like it came from the store – but much cooler. So get creative, experiment with different colors, and enjoy your homemade lava lamp!
If you enjoyed this project, check out some of our other DIY activities – like making bouncy balls or slime. Have fun!
Q. Why do oil and baking soda not mix?
Oil and baking soda do not mix because oil is hydrophobic and baking soda is hydrophilic. Hydrophobic substances repel water, while hydrophilic substances attract water. When you mix oil and baking soda together, the two substances stay separate because they are attracted to different things.
Q. How do you make a lava lamp without vinegar?
You can make a lava lamp without vinegar by using baking soda, water, and a light bulb. First, you need to make a baking soda solution by mixing one part baking soda with two parts water. Next, you need to fill a glass jar with the baking soda solution. Then, you need to place the light bulb in the jar. Now You just need to turn on the light bulb and watch as the lava lamp comes to life.
Q. How do you make a lava lamp not toxic?
To make a lava lamp non-toxic you need to use food-grade ingredients, such as baking soda, salt, and water.
Q. Can I use a different type of oil instead of vegetable oil?
Yes, you can try using different types of oil (e.g. baby oil, coconut oil) to get a different look and feel for your lava lamp. However, it is important to note that not all types of oil will work the same way as vegetable oil does. Experiment and have fun!
Q. How long does it take for the lava lamp reaction to happen?
It usually takes a few minutes for the reaction to start taking place. Be sure to watch the lava lamp closely as it will begin bubbling and moving around in no time!