Instructables
Picture of 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!
 
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Step 1: Supplies You'll Need

Picture of Supplies You'll Need
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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

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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

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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.
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MarcelBabo2 months ago
do you know why my clouds are moving for 20 seconds and after that i need to sgake it again? Thanks
Geremy Mama3 months ago

is the heat nesecary?

exabopper1 year ago
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.

seansippo5 years ago
this is interesting, but im interested in the bubble effect of a lava lamp. i have been reading around about using a mixture of mineral oil and rubbing alcohol, not sure if it works yet. any idea what should be used for the more BUBBLE effect? thank you
According to wikipedia the original lava lamps were filled with wax and carbon tetrachloride.
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.
I tried getting my hands on some a few years back and couldn't manage it.
food dye and vegetable oil works for a while! (with a yellow tint!)
ThingArthur2 years ago
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...

pics! plus instructable! now!
If you have a blacklight, fill the bottle with tonic water instead of regular water, makes it glow in the blacklight, sooooooooooo cool!!
ashbegash2 years ago
Awesome!! Love it!
STi 33W6 years ago
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 ;)
Love Light 001.jpgLove Light 002.jpg
well, did she like it?
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 ;)
berky93 STi 33W6 years ago
strange, she gave me the exact same present that night! lol just kidding. the lamp looks awesome btw
tstan13 berky933 years ago
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.
STi 33W berky936 years ago
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.
Cyrus STi 33W5 years ago
Did you replace the heart that was in it with a broken one? That would be so emo.
STi 33W Cyrus5 years ago
Actually, I have already given it to another girl.
you are my hero haha
and got another present i presume ;-)
Cyrus STi 33W5 years ago
:) That works too :)
berky93 STi 33W6 years ago
well at least you got to keep the lamp.
o.O
lol
frikkie STi 33W6 years ago
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
iok3 years ago
haha, that so awesome bro
when u put that eyes..cool
nice job
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
nmvb3 years ago
lots of shampoos have glycol stearate or distearate in them.
shortblock6 years ago
Hey what brand of soap did you use.
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
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....
fidgety24 years ago
how would glycerol work as a substitute for the soap just asking
pigsrock4 years ago
can you see the clouds with out the light?
this is really awesome especially because im using this in a old coke bottle and putting a nuka cola clear lablel on it. : )
andyellison7 years ago
So whats the effect of adding more soap? or what about colored soap (ie soap with food coloring in it)?
babblin5 (author)  andyellison7 years ago
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(
I NEED THE SOAP, NAME AND WERE I CAN BUY IT. THANKS
babblin5 (author)  babblin57 years ago
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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