Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

This lamp above was one of my first attempts for the metallic sharpie technique. Been almost a year since this was made and what I've noticed with the metallic wax technique is that it's not permanent. The base of the metallic ink seems to eventually separate a little and stay at the bottom. Now it's being run for 9 months at 8 hours a day 5 days a week may have a effect on the separation or it may not. So I decided to dye the wax red and in the pics below you can clearly see the separation but whats really cool, in a way, that it has a swirling of metallic ink! Reminds me of old school bowling balls lol. Even once in a while a bubble of nothing but ink will burst in the wax and it looks like a firework, its really bizarre but really cool as well.

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Great shade of blue....sort of a Periwinkle Blue......very nice!

Beautiful!  Does is generally stay in a column like this pic or does it break up more?  I really like the column look of this!

Thanks! After running the lamp all day I do see some of the MICA powder building up at the bottom around the coil.  I'll have to see how it does over the next few days.  The lava still has the metallic bits but it doesn't look as pronounced as it did earlier.  I'm guessing it's a combination of less MICA powder in the wax due to settling and the fact that it's night time and not as noticeable without day light. I am hoping that the movement in the lava keeps the MICA from settling.

As far as the powder, I didn't measure it  I just kept adding it until I had the look I wanted. I mixed everything in a breaker while heating it. 

For the lava, it is a combination of things. I mixed Magma tower lava with homemade lava (approximately a 50/50 mix). For the homemade lava I used paraffin wax, perchlorate (CRC Brakleen), petroleum Jelly, mineral oil and a small amount of glycerin.  For the wax dye I used blue liquid wax dye that I bought from Michael's, some solid blue wax dye I got from Amazon and the blue MICA powder (I also got that from Amazon). Making the wax wasn't an exact science and I had to keep tweaking the formula to get the consistency I needed.  I wish I could give you exact measurements but it got to be too difficult  to keep track of after all the different tweaks. I started with 70% paraffin wax and 30% perchlorate.  Then added small amounts of petroleum jelly (half tablespoon at a time) and poured in mineral oil (maybe 5-10 ml at a time).  I used the petroleum jelly and mineral oil to help with the consistency and flow of the lava.  Then I'd put the lava in a bottle (275 ml for a 52 Oz globe), let it cool in the fridge then add distilled water and mix in the magmatower surfactant (about 15 ml for the 52 Oz globe. Next I'd put it on a base and see how it flowed when heated. If the lava rose to the top without melting I'd add more perchlorate, if it became liquid and stayed at the bottom I'd add more paraffin.  Each time I'd tweak it I would remove the lava form the globe and put it in a beaker and heat it while I added ingredients to it. I used the mineral oil and petroleum jelly to help smooth the flow of the lava. 

Making homemade lava is a pain in the butt however  I wanted to use it because I noticed in the past that the lava seemed to move inside the blobs and I hoped this would keep the MICA from settling. 

I have a dimmer on this lamp and find the lava moves inside of the blobs best with medium heat. 

It's also worth mentioning that perchlorate is toxic. I would not use it if you don't have a good way to seal the bottle after you are done. I have a bottle capper and capped my bottle each time I filled it. I also made the lava in a well ventilated area. 

Dr. WHAT?! said:

That looks awesome! Reminds me of a Mathmos Glitterball.I'm curious on how much mica you put in and do you see the mica settling around the coil at all?  Would love to see your step by step on this.

Another option I wanted to try but haven't yet ( I did buy it) is aluminum powder, its used in makeup.


Thank you! I installed an inline dimmer on this lamp and use it to control the heat which affects the flow. I've found that the more heat (light) the more the lava breaks up into balls. Dimming the lamp helps keep it more column like but it seems to cycle between columns and blobs. 

Keith said:

Beautiful!  Does is generally stay in a column like this pic or does it break up more?  I really like the column look of this!


Critter said:

Great shade of blue....sort of a Periwinkle Blue......very nice!

Good morning everyone. I just wanted to give an update on the lamp.  All of the MICA has now settled at the bottom around the inside of the spring. The motion of the lava wasn't able to keep it suspended in the wax. If I find another way I'll let everyone know. 

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