How to Make a Lava Lamp Using Baking Soda

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Those groovy lava lamps of the 60s featured colored blobs that floated up and down in the lamp’s cylindrical base, forming and reforming in amoeba-like shapes. The effect was mesmerizing, at least until the globs became one big glob and stopped moving much when the lamp died. Today, you and your kids can make your own lava lamp from common household ingredients. This lava lamp relies on the creation of carbon dioxide bubbles formed from mixing vinegar and baking soda. The results are temporary, but they should last at least as long as your child’s attention span.

Things You'll Need

  • Any size clear plastic bottle
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • Food coloring

Fill the bottle ¾ full of water. Add vinegar to within two inches of the top of the bottle. You can use any size bottle, from a 12-ounce soda bottle to a gallon jug.

Sprinkle the baking soda into the bottle slowly, a teaspoon at a time. Don’t dump it in or the contents of the bottle will foam out like a science class volcano.

Add food coloring, a couple of drops at a time until the water is the shade you want.

Step back and watch the show. The baking soda and vinegar bubbles will propel the drops of coloring around in unpredictable patterns. Add more baking soda to continue the show.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can suspend small objects such as grains of rice or shiny sequins in the lava lamp.

References

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