DIY Lava Lamp

Good evening scientists!  My little scientist and I just made our own version of a lava lamp. We had a great time, you should help your little one make one too! 🙂


DIY Lava Lamp (4)

Clean, Empty Jar with Lid (We used a peanut butter jar)

Vegetable Oil (Any brand)

Alka-Seltzer Tablet(s)

Food Coloring (Any color, gloves if worried about staining)



**Do not Eat or drink in a lab setting, Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water**

  1. Fill the empty jar about halfway up with vegetable oil.DIY Lava Lamp (7)
  2. Pour in water until the jar is about 3/4 of the way filled.DIY Lava Lamp (8)
  3. Add 10-15 drops of food dye.DIY Lava Lamp (11)
  4. Add one Alka-Seltzer Tablet, cap the jar and watch what happens.DIY Lava Lamp (36)
  5. Repeat as many times as you’d like or until you are out of Alka-Seltzer Tablets.

Talking Points

In this investigation you created your own version of a lava lamp. A real lava lamp requires wax, a heat source to melt the wax (light bulb), and water for the heated wax to float around in. Our lava lamp looked similar but worked because water and oil do not mix.  Water and vegetable oil have different densities. Density is how compact something is, the more compact the molecules (parts that make of the object) the denser the object. Water is more dense than oil. When we tried to mix the two liquids together we were creating a heterogeneous mixture. Heterogeneous mixtures do not mix up in an even way.

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