Introduction: DIY Lava Lamp Without Alka-seltzer

Picture of DIY Lava Lamp Without Alka-seltzer

in my school project I decided to make a lava lamp, becouse I wanted one.
I made a little research and almost all used alka-seltzer and could be only used one time, beiing necessary to put more alka-seltzer to make it run again.
all you need is:
a small alluminium can,
a piece of net,
a pice of MDF,
a glass bottle (colorless is the best)
a felter pen (to paint alcohol)
mineral oil (is the best becouse you can paint it, but you can use olive oil, cooking oil, or similar, but you won't be able to paint it)
a crayon (to paint oil)
a lamp (halogen is best, but you can use any other, but it has to heat a lot)
a switch
a plug

Step 1: Preparing the Bottle

Picture of Preparing the Bottle

preparing the alcohol
to paint the alcohol, disassemble the pen (mine was green to put the alcohol green), remove the charge and squeze the ink onto the alcohol. if necessary shake it.

preparing the lava
to paint the lava (oil) use a crayon and dissolve it onto the oil. this is a very difficult thing, becouse you have to wet your fingers in the oil, rub them in the crayon and clean the oil in your fingers in the remaining oil.

filling the bottle
put the oil in the bottle and almost fill the bottle using the alcohol, on the remaining space go adding water until the oil almost start going up. THIS IS A VERY HARD TASK, BUT IF NOT WELL DONE THE LAMP WON'T WORK! the alcohol wil get turbid, but after some time it wiil get the original colour. if the oil goes up, put some alcohol.

put the cap on the bottle

Step 2: Doing the Electrics

Picture of Doing the Electrics

wire the plu into the switch and the switch into the lamp socket and put the lamp on the lamp socket

Step 3: Preparing the Can

Picture of Preparing the Can

cut a hole in the top of the can smaller than the bottle,
cut the net and cover the hole,
cut a circle in MDF the size of the lid and glue the lamp socket on it
cut a small hole in the bottom of the can to pass the wire

Step 4: Assembling

Picture of Assembling

put the can on the MDF circle and the bottle on the can and if you've done it right it will work as a lava lamp


TennyAhu (author)2015-08-09


momoka.duw (author)2015-03-08

is there any other things that can use to coloring the alcohol beside felter pen?
and what percentage of alcohol did you use?
very great instruction anyway~ :))

dfogliatti (author)2014-05-21

how much alcohol and oil do you add?

tgferreira184 (author)dfogliatti2014-05-29

The oil is going to be the lava, so, add as much as you want, about 1/6 of the bottle was enough for me. The alcohol is to fill the rest of the bottle.

keyblade4321 (author)2012-07-08

Thank you tgferreira184, this was a very good instructable and i had no problem reading the directions. Does anyone have more information on exactly how much water i should put in and the ratio of oil to alcohol?

One more question. Does this lava lamp method work on a larger scale like a vodka bottle. like this

my friend made one like mine, but with a 750ml bottle and it works too, but takes more time heating up. link:

Thanks very much tgferreira184.

RoosterSocks (author)2012-06-24

Needs a Nuka-Cola Quantum sticker : )

nao ha ca disso

mdemaagd (author)2012-06-17

What kind of alcohol did you use? Isopropyl or Ethyl?

tgferreira184 (author)mdemaagd2012-06-18

Ethyl, but if Isopropyl has the same purity, it should work too, becouse we are going to dissolve some water in it.

Verga (author)2012-06-15

Very nice job, you should be proud of the instructable and the project.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-06-15

Awesome! I used to have a lava lamp. It would be fun to create my own :)

tgferreira184 (author)2012-06-15

I'm sorry if my English is bad, but I'm from Portugal nd I have to learn portuguese, english and french all at once, so, it's very difficult to learn english and french together, among the other subjects

Tuhua Tarakona (author)2012-06-14

tgferreira184 - ignore the rude comments....your instructable was awesome! :^D What I love most is that you researched this and wanted something 'different' - meaning without the use of alkaseltzer! Well done!!

As for the spelling/grammar/English -- I know many, many people -- of older generations that can't spell or write worth beans!

Again - as for the submission - WELL done! That's what it was for -- I'm sure you wanted us to learn how to create our own Lava Lamps -- not to discuss how well or not well you spell, right?

stickle1 (author)2012-06-14

To: Lithium Rain.

I only speak/read English and did not have any problem following this project. Better an interesting project with poorish english than none at all. I wonder if you can write as well as tgferreira in his language and at his age? (By the way 'apalled' is spelt 'appalled')

osoriocj (author)stickle12012-06-14

Ferreira is a common surname in Brazil or Portugal. Being a school project, his age is, at maximum, 16yo.
My native language is Portuguese and I made some mistakes in English, sometimes. I don´t know all the grammatical rules but I decided to learn English till I can get or pass a required information.
I´d like to suggest the people who are annoyed about this poor English, to waste some time "fixing" the text and send it back to the author in order he/she can publish it again.
Another option, everybody should write an Instructable in his current language. It would be a collection of photos for most of people who speaks only English.

tgferreira184 (author)stickle12012-06-14

thanks for comprehension

sallyab (author)stickle12012-06-14

I agree. Well said.

ironsmiter (author)2012-06-12

Step 1 Part 2 : preparing the lava

Instead of that slow, and difficult way... Try adding 1 part beeswax, 3 part crayon, and 3-5 part oil. Place them all in a heat proof bowl, and set in a pan. Fill pan with water about halfway up the side of the bowl(and keep the water topped off as you go). Now just apply heat, till everything begins melting together, and stir well.

Let it cool, and check for consistency. Should be something like marshmallow.
If it's too hard, add more oil, reheat, and remix.
Either pour into your lavalamp while still warm, or wait till it cools, and cut into pieces that will fit through the neck.

The ratio of the different types of oil and wax will GREATLY effect the action of the lava. Trial and error are the only way to get it "just right".
It will probably never be as smooth as the brand name lava. then again, there's no Carbon tetrachloride to toxify your liver either ;-)

tgferreira184 (author)ironsmiter2012-06-12

I have been 1 week trying to find instructions to this, but most of them used alka-seltzer, so, I didn't had many options to choose, becouse they were all like this or with alka-seltzer. anyway, this was a school project, o proof of concept. maybe, I do another and use your instructions. anyway, thanks for the comment, it will probably help other people.

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