Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi everyone! :D

 

I've had one lava lamp as long as I can remember and bought two more this year, on clearance from the Lava Lamp website. They both make me happy, but I've always had ideas for lamps that I've never had an outlet for, and I'm thinking that now's a great time to start bringing them to life.

 

With that being said, I have some questions. :)

 

1. Is there a source for actual lava lamp bottles? I haven't found anyone who consistently sells empty ones (or full ones that don't work right), and since I don't have room to buy in bulk I need to buy a few here and there as I need them instead of buying them when I see them and saving them. Lava lamps in need of redoing are rather hard to find around here as the university kids are usually bringing brand new ones in with them, and I don't find the idea of emptying a perfectly good bottle all that appealing. Waste not want not. :)

 

2. What else works for an alternative globe besides an alcohol bottle? Are there any qualities in particular that I should look for in a glass container, or any I should try to avoid?

 

3. How can something other than a properly sized, official lava lamp bottle be made to fit into a base? I've seen lamps where the top of the base has been cut and bent into a shape that can support the globe, but I'd like some other ideas too.

 

4. Is there anything to a lava lamp base besides a basic lamp socket for the correct light bulb attached to a pretty support structure for the globe? I'd like to try making my own sometime and need to know if there's some sorcery I'm missing... :) Some tips and ideas for this would be appreciated too.

 

5. How do you choose the right light bulb for a custom lamp with a completely different globe? What about something that safely provides an appropriate amount of heat with no visible light?

 

6. Are the coils at the bottom of the globe necessary? How can they be recreated, and what can they be replaced with?

 

7. Do you all have any suggestions for a recipe/formula for a beginner to follow? This one seems doable, but opinions would be appreciated. 

 

8. Are GooKits still a thing? I can’t seem to find current information on them anywhere…

 

Thank you all for reading this and helping me out! I’m looking forward to (hopefully) being more active and (again, hopefully) sharing some success stories of lamps I make. :D

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5. Different bulb types and set-ups can be used.  The larger the globe the more focused you want the light to be, as in a regular sized lava lamp takes a 40 watt round bulb but a Grande takes a 100 watt flood bulb which directs more light/heat to the globe.  Another thing to consider is bulb distance from the globe.  You want about 1/4 of an inch separation between the two.  More distance and you may have problems getting the globe to flow, much less distance and you risk cracking the globe from heat.  You need at least 1/8 inch separation to help prevent this.

For heat with no light something like this is what you need, a ceramic heater for reptiles.  You will want a dimmer on this set-up to keep the heat in check

http://www.ebay.com/itm/272427335469?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&a...

6. You do need something to help with heat transfer to the wax, coils are the best.  Stainless steel springs have been used to good effect and are the most recommended.  Look for them in hardware stores.  Try to find a size comparable to lava lamp coils.  The springs ends can usually just be pressed together to form a circle and should stay in place.



Keith said:

5. Different bulb types and set-ups can be used.  The larger the globe the more focused you want the light to be, as in a regular sized lava lamp takes a 40 watt round bulb but a Grande takes a 100 watt flood bulb which directs more light/heat to the globe.  Another thing to consider is bulb distance from the globe.  You want about 1/4 of an inch separation between the two.  More distance and you may have problems getting the globe to flow, much less distance and you risk cracking the globe from heat.  You need at least 1/8 inch separation to help prevent this.

For heat with no light something like this is what you need, a ceramic heater for reptiles.  You will want a dimmer on this set-up to keep the heat in check

http://www.ebay.com/itm/272427335469?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&a...

6. You do need something to help with heat transfer to the wax, coils are the best.  Stainless steel springs have been used to good effect and are the most recommended.  Look for them in hardware stores.  Try to find a size comparable to lava lamp coils.  The springs ends can usually just be pressed together to form a circle and should stay in place.

Thank you! That heat bulb is the answer to a prayer. Are most lava lamp bases able to take a bulb like that, or do they need to be changed somehow? Distance from the globe is something I hadn't even thought of, but it makes total sense. With those guidelines in mind finding the right bulb is pretty much trial and error, I'd assume?

A spring was the idea I had in mind, though I didn't have a clue of what material to go with. I've never had much luck getting them to cooperate with me though, so it'll be interesting to see if the trend continues... LOL :)

That heat bulb has a standard base (also called a medium or edison base).  Some lamps, especially smaller ones, have an intermediate base which is smaller.  I don't know off hand is those ceramic heaters are available with that base or not.  

If you use a dimmer you can put a larger wattage bulb in and dial it down as needed.

Lava brand lamps smaller than 20 ounces use a 25 watt bulb, 20 to 52 ounces use 40 watt bulbs, Grandes use 100 watt flood bulbs (I have successfully used 75 watt floods, just takes longer to heat up).  Unless you go with a really big globe you might consider a 40 to 60 watt bulb with a dimmer.



Keith said:

That heat bulb has a standard base (also called a medium or edison base).  Some lamps, especially smaller ones, have an intermediate base which is smaller.  I don't know off hand is those ceramic heaters are available with that base or not.  

If you use a dimmer you can put a larger wattage bulb in and dial it down as needed.

Lava brand lamps smaller than 20 ounces use a 25 watt bulb, 20 to 52 ounces use 40 watt bulbs, Grandes use 100 watt flood bulbs (I have successfully used 75 watt floods, just takes longer to heat up).  Unless you go with a really big globe you might consider a 40 to 60 watt bulb with a dimmer.

Dimmers sound like a lava lamp maker's best friend! Do they usually work with most bulbs, or are there any restrictions I should know about? Thanks for listing which bulb goes with which Lava globe size, my Lava brand lamps take forever to warm up so I may experiment a bit, but this is definitely a great place to start.

Dimmers work great with incandescent bulbs, the kind used in lava lamps.  Maybe some halogen bulbs too.  No real restrictions but a suggestion:  try to get a bulb close to the wattage you will need.  You don't want to dim a 60 watt bulb down to 25, you will lose to much light!  

Case in point, I have a Century lava lamp (52 ounces) that should use a 40 watt bulb.  It doesn't flow right with one though so I use a 60 watt, however it sometimes gets too hot.  I can use a dimmer to reduce the wattage a small amount without sacrificing light output.

Kitty Capulet said:


Dimmers sound like a lava lamp maker's best friend! Do they usually work with most bulbs, or are there any restrictions I should know about? Thanks for listing which bulb goes with which Lava globe size, my Lava brand lamps take forever to warm up so I may experiment a bit, but this is definitely a great place to start.

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