Homemade Lava Lamp

3.9 based on 217 ratings
Updated on Mar 12, 2014

A homemade lava lamp gives any room a retro flair! This educational science experiment teaches your child about the properties of water and oil through kitchen chemistry. Kids will learn something new, and get a mesmerizing, colorful homemade lava lamp in the process.

What You Need:

  • 16 oz. plastic bottle (emptied and cleaned out)
  • Soda bottle cap
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • A large, effervescent tablet
  • Water
  • Flashlight (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Fill the bottle ¾ full with vegetable oil. Add water to the remainder of the bottle, almost to the top but not overflowing. Add 10 drops of food coloring to make the solution appear fairly dark.
  2. Cut the effervescent tablet into 8 pieces. Drop one of the tiny pieces into the oil and water mixture. The mixture will start to bubble.
  3. Wait until the bubbling stops and add another piece of the tablet. Continue until no more pieces of the tablet remain, and the bubbling has completely stopped.
  4. Screw on the cap of the bottle. Tip the bottle back and forth and watch the wave of lava appear.

This homemade lava lamp works so well because the tiny droplets of liquid join together to make one big lava-like blob. Place a flashlight with a bright beam under the bottle to illuminate the bubbles for maximum visual effect.

Mike is a 20-year veteran science teacher, and runs an online business (www.scienceinabag.com). Over the years Mike has studied trends in science, education, and finance, conducting research, developing programs, and writing articles on these topics.