Introduction: Cool Cloud Lamp!

Make a very neat lava-like lamp for less than $10 in parts. Uses only soap and water. No chemicals, easy, fun, and the results are incredibly neat!



I added some cheap plastic eyeballs and suspended them from the lid with thread to make an Eerie Halloween Display!

Step 1: Supplies You'll Need

The main things you'll need are a 6" piece of THICK PVC pipe, a 15-25 watt bulb (you can go as high as 40, but the base can get pretty hot at 40), and "pearlized" liquid handsoap that contains glycol stearate or glycol distearate (should be listed on the ingredients of the bottle). Avoid anything that has moisturizers or additives like aloe, etc. Click on the pictures for a full list of the supplies I used.

Step 2: Build the Base

Sand off and trim any plastic leavings on the top and bottom of the PVC pipe. Notch the bottom of the pipe for the cord. You can glue the bottle to the base, but I recommend using an old mouse pad and fashioning a rubber seat you can place the bottle on and glue the ring to the top of the PVC pipe. See pics for illustration.

Step 3: Prepping the Bottle

Soak off any labels in soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Fill the bottle about 3/4 full with warm water. Add 7-10 squirts of the handsoap, screw on the lid and shake well until the soap is mixed. Then "top off" the bottle by adding water to about 1" from the top. (This allows for air expansion as the bottle heats up). I recommend creating a rubber seal for the lid by cutting another piece of the mousepad you used for the base. Cut to fit inside the lid. This helps insure that no water leaks out of the top.

Step 4: Get Ready to Rock!

You can leave the bottom of the bottle clear, but adding some color with magic markers can give it a nice dramatic effect. Place the bottle on the base, plug in the cord, and watch as clouds form and swirl around in the jar. Pictures really don't do it justice. If you'd like, you can view my video on this project below. Expect to have your friends ask you to make these for them! 8)


Step 5: Halloween Mod!

Here's a Halloween Mod I came up with. I used a red permanent marker to draw the dripping blood on the base and the bottom of the jar for the color. I then used some cheap plastic eyeball favors and drilled holes in the backs to fill them with water. I then used sewing pins to suspend the eyeballs from the lid with white thread, and the Eyes of Doom Lamp was born! The coolest part is that the eyes sway with the water currents while mystical swirling red clouds float around them... AHHHHHHH!!!!! 8D

Comments

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TheRealDutchOwner made it! (author)2015-10-19

Carbon tetrachloride isn't used anymore. For DIY lava lamps, tetrachloroethylene is a better option. It is also known as Perc, and is used by dry cleaners. Still, it is a possible carcinogen and extreme care (masks and goggles) must be taken when it is still in liquid form. As soon as it is mixed with the wax, it shouldn't give off fumes anymore. A full guide on that is found here. I am planning on trying it as I can get the required chemicals, and I have an empty lava lamp.

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Geremy Mama made it! (author)2014-07-25

is the heat nesecary?

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exabopper made it! (author)2013-03-18

I've completed a couple of these, and this is a great idea!  I have put up a video of my build, since it looks like the one in the Instructable isn't there anymore, you can see it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEN-UU8NwCs

I used "Softsoap with rich moisturizing Shea Butter Beads" for my lamps.

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Kill_Roy made it! (author)2009-05-24

carbon tetrachloride can cause many health issues when concentrated so thats probably why they stopped using it. I would be suprised if you could buy it.

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Erfunden made it! (author)Erfunden2009-08-27

I tried getting my hands on some a few years back and couldn't manage it.

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kelvinmead made it! (author)kelvinmead2012-12-18

food dye and vegetable oil works for a while! (with a yellow tint!)

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ThingArthur made it! (author)2012-03-28

I once mixed some bronze powder with white spirit and got good 'clouds',
put between 2 sheets of glass, I could leave a 'hand print' in the cloud,
was going to add a lamp to warm up one end to make a 'hurricane'...
and hang it on the wall
might try again with some thrown out double glazing...

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antioch made it! (author)antioch2012-08-07

pics! plus instructable! now!

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alloneword19 made it! (author)2012-07-26

If you have a blacklight, fill the bottle with tonic water instead of regular water, makes it glow in the blacklight, sooooooooooo cool!!

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ashbegash made it! (author)2012-03-24

Awesome!! Love it!

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STi 33W made it! (author)2007-12-24

Here is mine. I made it as a present for my gf. I used an actual lamp as my base (with some modification) and a 25W bulb. I painted the base of the jar blue with a sharpie. The heart in the middle is just a blue coat hanger. I'm not sure if I have the mixture right, or if I have a strong enough bulb. I've had it on for almost 8 hours and no problems. I think 25W is as high as I will go. Mostly because the base has rice paper windows. Excellent Instructable. I will let you know if my gf likes it ;)

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well, did she like it?

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STi 33W made it! (author)STi 33W2008-04-07

Yes, she loved it. She thought it was very romantic and she couldn't believe that I had made it myself out such random things. I also received a present that night ;)

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berky93 made it! (author)berky932008-11-01

strange, she gave me the exact same present that night! lol just kidding. the lamp looks awesome btw

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tstan13 made it! (author)tstan132011-09-07

O MG berky 93 that is the funniest thing I have seen on here. cute. any way I think I remember something about denatured acohol and glycerine? is that maybe possible? Or is that light an explosion and fire waiting to happen like it sounds. I don't know I just remember a friend making these Slow Motion Ocean things back in the 70s and he put a light on some of them.

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STi 33W made it! (author)STi 33W2008-11-01

I wonder if you can embed a rimshot to go along with that comment ;) Actually, as an update, that girl cheated on me and we are no longer together... The lamp still works though.

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Cyrus made it! (author)Cyrus2008-12-08

Did you replace the heart that was in it with a broken one? That would be so emo.

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STi 33W made it! (author)STi 33W2008-12-09

Actually, I have already given it to another girl.

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redstarsrbija made it! (author)redstarsrbija2009-06-25

you are my hero haha

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grimgroper made it! (author)grimgroper2009-05-20

and got another present i presume ;-)

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Cyrus made it! (author)Cyrus2008-12-23

:) That works too :)

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berky93 made it! (author)berky932008-11-01

well at least you got to keep the lamp.

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o.O

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madhops0620 made it! (author)madhops06202008-11-01

lol

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frikkie made it! (author)frikkie2008-11-05

What you guys can also try is to maybe use an element of some sort to heat the bottel.And maybe make like a top cover for the bottle in which you can put in leds of diffrent colours and a decade counter circuit to control them.Then you dont need to have just an blue or red colour lamp.I think a hairdryer like the one ladies use,should have an element that might work.The only thing is to mount it securely and to control the temprature. That one can maybe do by using an timer circuit or a thyristor circuit(light dimmer principal). Any ideas email me frikkiesmit@webmail.co.za

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iok made it! (author)2011-07-08

haha, that so awesome bro
when u put that eyes..cool
nice job

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Shadow Of Intent made it! (author)2011-06-18

I'd love to see something like this with toy arms and legs in as a replica of Sid's lava la mp in Toy Story XD

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nmvb made it! (author)2011-04-18

lots of shampoos have glycol stearate or distearate in them.

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shortblock made it! (author)2008-01-08

Hey what brand of soap did you use.

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TOMCRADICK made it! (author)TOMCRADICK2009-11-03

I CAN,T FIND LIQUID SOAP WITH GLYCOL STERATE OR GLYCOL WITH  DISTERATE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW BRAND AND WHERE TO BUY. EVERYTHING ELSE IS FINISHED. TOM

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knotherexx made it! (author)knotherexx2010-12-20

cvs brand handsoap, softsoap, mine is the "milk and honey" version. i'm about to make the lamp so i'll let you know if it doesnt work....

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fidgety2 made it! (author)2010-11-03

how would glycerol work as a substitute for the soap just asking

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pigsrock made it! (author)2010-06-26

can you see the clouds with out the light?

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tubanator-2.0 made it! (author)2009-11-14

this is really awesome especially because im using this in a old coke bottle and putting a nuka cola clear lablel on it. : )

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andyellison made it! (author)2007-10-04

So whats the effect of adding more soap? or what about colored soap (ie soap with food coloring in it)?

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babblin5 made it! (author)babblin52007-10-04

More soap = thicker clouds. Not sure about colored soap, but I think the ratio to make any difference would be at least 25% soap, which would ruin the effect 8(

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TOMCRADICK made it! (author)TOMCRADICK2009-11-03

I NEED THE SOAP, NAME AND WERE I CAN BUY IT. THANKS

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babblin5 made it! (author)babblin52007-10-05

But food coloring might work fine... haven't tried that as I usually just "paint" the bottoms of the jars with permanent markers of different colors. You can get a really nice sunset effect by coloring one half of the bottom yellow, and the other half red. =D

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spock155 made it! (author)2008-12-22

To tell you the truth, it took me forever to find soap with glycol distearate... lol...

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TOMCRADICK made it! (author)TOMCRADICK2009-11-03

WHERE DID YOU FIND IT AND WHAT BRAND

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DasBus made it! (author)2009-10-08

 This is way cool!  You should definitely enter it in the upcoming Halloween instructable contest!

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JORDAN180592 made it! (author)2009-02-24

I love it......i made more than $500 dollars !!!! thank you Jordan huges from mexico!!!

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babblin5 made it! (author)babblin52009-08-31

Excellent! =)

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corn fluffleberry made it! (author)2009-08-27

i dont know about youse guyses but i LOVE IT i am going to steampunk this

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egjr79119 made it! (author)2009-07-01

HEY GUYS I USED A GREEN PARTY BULB, THE ONLY THING IS A 40 WATT AND IT DOES LOOK COOL BUT IT DOESN'T SHOW THE EFFECT THAT IT SHOWS IN THE VIDEO.

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egjr79119 made it! (author)2009-07-01

THIS WAS A VERY COOL IDEA, THE ONLY THING I COULDN'T FIND 25 WATTS BULBS.

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jokerrabit made it! (author)2009-05-21

I seen a tut once (not sure ware) that said to mix a t-spoon of artist oil paint in a color of your choosing with 1/2 a cup of mineral oil put it in a jar about the size of a caning jar or bigger and fill the rest with distilled water. also most lava lamps I have see have a coil at the bottom that looks like it was made of aluminum wire probably to help heat the oil. BTW I did try this but I could never build a proper base to make it work though I didn't try pvc.

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blakeredfield made it! (author)2009-02-28

LOL, how cool. Nice nice.. +sub

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rippercito made it! (author)2009-01-11

the effect is amazing, and it is so-so simply! thanks for sharing m8!

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spock155 made it! (author)2008-12-21

Awesome.

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