DIY Lava Lamp

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DIY Water Bottle Lava Lamp

This is a terrific way to make an easy, quick, and affordable lava lamp, without the use of electricity! Children love creating these at parties as an activity, then taking them home as a favor. It’s also a great visual aid for teaching force & motion and cause & effect (i.e.., noting how the chemical reaction between the Alka-Seltzer and water sends the water up through the oil), as well as viscosity and consistency of liquids (i.e.., noting how the oil and water don’t mix, yet the food coloring and water do). You can also add different food colorings drop by drop to demonstrate color blending.

Experimenting with a variety of oil and food coloring can make for some really cool color combinations. Corn oil is naturally yellow and goes well with red, blue, and green. Vegetable oil is practically clear and showcases any color, especially black, purple, and orange. Also, each kind of oil will have a slightly different effect on the size and rate of the bubbles, since the thicker it is, the slower the bubbles will rise.

Notes & warnings:

Never put the lid on the water bottle while the Alka-Seltzer is still bubbling; it could build up pressure, which could make the bottle explode.

Food coloring will stain, even more so when mixed with oil. Make sure kids are supervised whenever the bottles are open. This is a great project to do outside.

Use the cheapest bottles of water you can find, any size works, just make sure their labels can easily be removed.

If you make these at a party and send them home with children, make sure the parents are aware that they have food coloring and Alka-Seltzer. It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough Alka-Seltzer to send at least one extra tablet home with each person, since they’ll want to show their cool little lava lamp off to everyone!

DIY Lava Lamp
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DIY Lava Lamp

This fun and easy project is a great visual aid for teaching force & motion and cause & effect.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 lava lamp

Equipment

Bottle or jar

Ingredients  

  • water
  • vegetable oil any type
  • liquid food coloring any color
  • Alka-Seltzer anti-acid tablets

Instructions 

  • Drink or pour out most of the water, leaving approximately ¼ in each bottle. Remove the label.
  • Fill the bottle almost up to the top with vegetable oil, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
  • Add the food coloring, drop by drop, until the water reaches the desired hue.
  • Break the Alka-Seltzer tablets into small pieces, about half an inch in size. The pieces don't need to be even.
  • Drop the Alka-Seltzer pieces into the bottle. It'll drop to the bottom and immediately begin fizzing, sending the colored water up through the oil in a cool stream of bubbles. Add more as the bubbles slow down, or as desired.

Notes

  • DO NOT put the lid on the water bottle while the Alka-Seltzer is bubbling; it could build up pressure, which could make the bottle explode.
  • Food coloring will stain, even more so when mixed with oil. Make sure kids are supervised whenever the bottles are open. This is a great project to do outside.
  • Any size water bottle works, just make sure their labels can easily be removed.
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Hey Holly, I was curious to know if you had a printable recipe for this? I’d like to print it out to share with my class. Thank you so much!5 stars

    1. Hi Jasmine, we just added one for you. You should be able to print it out now. Hope you have fun with your class!

  2. Hi again! I guess your projects were right around mine at Tatertots and Jello!

    I had a watch just like this when I was a kid, and wondered how they made it look like a lava lamp. Thanks!