Bubble Lamp




i made this lamp in my first year of highs school, i wanted a lava lamp but without the color so it would be easier to read under its light. i reconstructed the lamp earlier this year since the first base for it wasn't i deal because when i built the lamp i didn't have the ability to weld.

i call it a bubble lamp and not a lava lamp because in its off state the "lava" sits at the top of the bottle, but as it is turned on and heated the wax sinks according to the room temperature and remains a static bubble.

you will need:
+ power plug
+ switch
+ glass bottle
+ metallic bottle holder (angle iron)
+ rubbing alcohol
+ paraffin wax
+ 30 watt globe

Step 1: Base & Switch

you could go with the easier option of using a cable mounted switch. but i enjoy making mechanisms and creating more work for myself. so i went for creating a rotary switch using a brass knob from a drawer. i threaded a bolt into it and welded a washer off center to touch the switch, the video should explain.

invalid movie: http://www.vimeo.com/5487773

the base can be made out of whatever you want i used wood because it has a nice finish and made it much easier for me to router the shapes to create my switch.

Step 2: Bottle Holder

i made the bottle holder before i was able to weld, so i simply used 3 pieces of angle iorn and some bolts to hold it all together. there are a series of bolts the arround the base of the bottle to stop it falling through the holder.

when designing the bottle holder you should consider where and how you are going to place the light bulb holder. the light bulb should be about 5mm to right against the glass of the bottle, it needs to be close to conduct heat. if you plan on using a cylindrical bottle you may be lucky enough to find a section of steel pipe or something..

Step 3: Liquids

go to your local chemist and ask for some rubbing alcohol and paraffin wax.
the paraffin wax makes up the bubble the rest of the liquid is rubbing alcohol, or you could use any kind of pure alcohol here. the alcohol is potentially flammable so try not to spill it on live wires ect.

there is no right or wrong mixture, so long as the bottle is mostly alcohol you lamp should work fine.

Step 4: Bubbly Reading

enjoy your new clear bubble lamp.



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    38 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 3

    The paraffin wax I'm familiar with is a white, waxy solid. Could you elaborate on what you mean/describe what you're using?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Gulf wax in the US used for canning at times.

    Omni DIY

    8 years ago on Introduction

    wait wait wait... paraffin wax AND alcohol?! Around a BULB. It's cool looking don't get me wrong, but it seems like a big liability. Is there a sub for the alcohol at least?

    3 replies
    Omni DIYlime3D

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Clearly that is how they work... the question is whether there is something less... explody.

    DRAGUA1979Omni DIY

    Reply 3 years ago

    You could always try nitroglycerin, it's sure to be a bang to touch it.


    6 years ago

    Love the instructions, thank you


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Looks cool! Lol, the book next to the lamp: Death By Black Hole Lol!!! ROFL!


    10 years ago on Step 4

    yeah I can't find it, could u maybe, post some how on wiring this thing up. I was wondering if u could use a "stick light" like the ones u find in a fish tank

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Step 4

    nice job, I like the wooden base, and your switch, but you left out the wiring and placement for the bulb. Unless I browsed past it.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    He mentioned the placement of the bulb in Step 2. I think this is a grand idea, largely because I wanted one of these beasts, but either they were too expensive, or (when I could afford it) the color scheme was completely garish. :\ This way, at least, I get to make it what I want! :D


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5487773&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5487773&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/5487773">switch</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user643523">michael candy</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>