How to Change the Color of Lava Lamp Wax


Just as delightfully tacky today as they were in the '70s, the hypnotic dance of a lava lamp is complemented by the colors of its water solution and thick, bubbling wax. Changing the color of the wax inside a lava lamp is a complex matter due to the challenges of disassembling and changing the color of an oil-based substance. With the right collection of supplies and materials, however, this process can be easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle opener
  • Silicone pot holder mittens
  • Microwaveable ceramic mixing bowl
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Microwaveable measuring cup
  • Oil-based food dye
  • Funnel
  • Mounted bottle cap crimper
  • Uncrimped metal bottle cap
  • Call your lava lamp's manufacturer, or consult the packaging it came in to make sure the ingredients in your lamp are nontoxic. If you can't be sure, don't open your bottle.

  • Leave the lamp on for a while to heat the wax to its liquid state. Wait until the wax is fully liquefied and moving fluidly through the lamp. Turn off the lamp.

  • Put on the silicone pot holder mittens. Keep them on while handling the hot lamp bottle. Remove the lid from the lamp's bottle using the bottle opener. Uncap it just as you would a beverage.

  • Pour out the contents of the bottle into the ceramic mixing bowl. Pour slowly, and keep your face away from the liquid. Place the bowl in the fridge, and let it cool for about an hour or until it's cool enough to touch and the wax is hard.

  • Fish the wax out of the bowl using a slotted spoon. Collect it all, and place it in the microwaveable measuring cup. Microwave the wax on "high" heat for 30 seconds at a time. Stir with the craft stick. Repeat until the wax is fully melted.

  • Mix about a quarter teaspoon of oil-based dye into the melted wax using the craft stick. Stir thoroughly. Add more dye as needed if you don't think the color is intense enough.

  • Pour the melted wax back into the lava lamp bottle, followed by the lamp's water, using the funnel.

  • Cap the bottle using the bottle capper and uncrimped cap.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase a bottle capper and uncrimped lid where beer brewing supplies are sold.
  • Use a mounted cap crimper rather than a simple, handheld unit since the handheld units don't work with the shape of the lava lamp bottle.


  • "The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor: More Than 100 Inventive Projects for Cool Homes like Yours"; Mark Montano, et al.; 2010
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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