Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi all :
Thank you every one for all the Ideas and youre experiences after many readings and as many trials I have perfected my liquid and goo and I would like to share with you my tips and recipie.
While I dont agree with some directions on some of the sites I am not saying they are wrong they just didnt work for me I will start with the Safety issue. On one site they tell you to mix your melted wax and PERK in a closed container and shake it up DO NOT DO THIS The The perk will quickly expand and could EASILY blow the lid off and you will have wax and perk everywhere PERK is QUICKLY absorbed through the skin and is very bad for you!!! WHEN working with your PERK do it outside or in A VERY WELL VENTILATED AREA.
To get your PERK out of the spray can Get a plastic water bottle with a cap with a flip top and a tiny openining that you can "SQUIRT" water out of. When you buy your can of BRAKE CLEANER make sure it comes with a long skinny hard straw that you push onto the spray button Take your can of PERK OUTSIDE with your water bottle with lid Put the hard straw onto the push button spray tip on the can of perk, put the straw into the little hole in the water bottle hold the can of PERK straight up and down and press the button to spray ALL the PERK into the water bottle. Dispose of can and seal water bottle containing perk well. Next make a "Saturated Solution" all that means is dislove as much epsom salts as you can in HOT WATER make up at least 2 Litres of this soloution its cheap, if you have a gallon container make a gallon get it as strong a solution as possible if there is a little left undisolved in the bottom thats okay it means it has disolved all it can. Next is to make the GOO for this you need Paraffin Wax, Mineral Oil, and Perk. The mineral oil is very important. It does 2 things it gives the Paraffin wax a smoother flow and it lowers the melting point of the wax. To make the wax you need equal amonts of each. Perk, WAX, Mineral Oil. for example 1 cup of each. melt the1 cup of wax in a container large enough to hold 3 cups of GOO add the 1 cup of mineral oil it will cool the wax and thicken it so rewarm to a liquid but dont get it very hot just enough to completly remelt you dont want this any hotter than necessary when you add the PERK stir well, then gently add the 1 cup of perk stir gently but well this is your goo. When not working with it and when cooled store in a sealed labeled container with a poison sign on it . Next, to check your goo we need to check it for floating and sinking although with this recipie it always worked for me. I dont see any sense in making antifreeze and water to check your goo in as it will not be in either of these soloutions I check it in the fluids it is going to be in. Pure water in 1 container and your super saturated solution in another, Your GOO will SINK in PURE WATER and FLOAT in super saturated epsom salt water solution. Next you need a spotlessly clean globe a funnel and a FAT drinking straw tape the straw to the bottom of the funnel you may have to slit the starw a little to fit over funnel tip , cut the straw to length so that when the funnel rests on the top of the globe the straw ALMOST touches the bottom now with THE SPRING IN THE GLOBE and the funnel and globe positioned, slowly pour the goo into the globe. TOO MUCH GOO IS BAD TO MUCH GOO WILL RESULT IN A COLUM OF GOO FROM TOP TO BOTTOM RISING AND FALLING WITHIN ITSELF do not let it splash up the sides, when removing the funnel and straw do net let it hit the sides of the globe. let the wax solidify before HALF FILLING THE GLOBE WITH PURE WATER. Tuning the liquid TO THE WAX'S specific gravity is next and the most important. In this next step nothing good happens QUICKLY, patience and observation will pay dividends. So to start. With your globe with goo and spring in it HALF FULL OF PURE WATER let it warm up on its stand till the goo is just a puddle of COMPLETLY MELTED WAX on the bottom. So now you get your epsom salt saturated soloution, your PURE WATER container and a small bottle of glycerin start by putting 1 ounce of glycerin in the globe. I use a turkey baster for these next steps I gently squirt about 1 ounce of the supersaturated epsom salt soloution into the globe the goo will move around but still stay on the bottom add 1 more ounce of the epsom lquid the goo should be still on the bottom allow it to rewarm for a few minutes. The idea is to add just enough epsom liquid to get the goo to start to dome then add an ounce of THE PURE WATER this will make the goo settle down again you have to keep this balance untill you have a nearly full globe that the goo hasnt EVER REACHED THE TOP OF THE LIQUID YET. Let the lamp rewarm. when you get your goo to hover in the middle or top third of the globe you are ready to add the surfactant this is also important 1DROP OF DISHWASHING LIQUID IN 1 CUP OF WATER, If your globe is full by now. remove 1 ounce of liquid and add 1 ounce of the dish soap diluted soloution. repeat this step till the goo starts to narrow at the bottom into a teardrop shape you are getting close. YOU DONT WANT YOUR GO TO REACH THE TOP OF THE LIQUID TOO SOON. Because if there is goo floating at the top you cant take liquid out with youre turkey baster and also because in normal operation it will get 2 hot too soon so all of youre fine adjustments should be done after the lamp has been running for at least 2 hours. ALL GOO FLOATING TO THE TOP PROBLEMS MEAN THE WATER IS TOO HEAVY REMOVE SOLUTION IN GLOBE AND REPLACE WITH PURE WATER. ALSO for fine tuning, your lamp has to be in an under pressure state what I Mean by that is THAT WHEN THE GLOBE IS SEALED AND WARM THERE IS A SMALL air pressure inside which acts to compress the goo changing its density so the lamp operates differantly with the same liquid and goo under pressure than it does in an unsealed globe. Also the globe HAS to be SEALED or the PERK will entually evaporate out of the goo and the lamp will cease to function it will also poison you as it is relaesed into the air this fine tuning part really takes time but when done right allows your lamp to run longer without all the goo going to the top like when overheated at this point your adjustments should only be taking out the liquid and replacing with PURE WATER and maybe a little more soap soloution AS LITTLE SOAP SOLOUTION AS POSSIBLE SHOULD BE USED NEVER ADD UNDILUTED SOAP TO THE GLOBE
Materials used and what they do
WATER I use Reverse Osmosis purified water cheap $1.50 gallon
Paraffin wax used for goo but melting point too high
Mineral OIL used to lower melting point of parrafin wax it is actually a more refined parrafin wax and as such melds well with the parrafin wax
PERK used to make wax HEAVIER THAN WATER so it sinks
EPSOM SALTS used to make water heavier to balance the goo so it floats
Glycerin heavier than water but I use it to MAYBE ACT AS A SURFACTANT I have no basis for this except that it is really slippery and is used in bubble blowing to allow bigger bubbles .
I use a tall wide mouthed thermos {The Kind For Soup} to make hot or cold water baths to speed up the warming and cooling stages of wax when in the globe. cooling is done in the sink with the globe in the thermos and the cold water tap running into the thermos surrounding the globe in running cold water the same for hot or you could for melting wax to get it out of the globe is put the globe with the wax inside into a pot of pre heated water with a water level slightly higher than the level of wax in the globe till all the wax is liquified

Last words of warning as stated in other posts THE SOAP WILL RUIN YOUR GOO it is SUPER IMPORTANT you use as little as possible thats why the 1 drop in 1 cup water
Also I have used colored printer ink to tint my liquid when added when the lamp is in motion it provides a 1 time very cool visual display as it mixes with the solution do it 1 drop at a time and you get a few visual experiences

Well thats my tips. once again I would like to thank all that went before me and posted their experiences that led me along the way.In summation I would say adding
Mineral Oil to Goo and testing under warm pressure and patience patience patience
are the most important things in my post

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Sorry for sounding rude.. I just fixed my Grande - check it out on my discussions!
Thanks for all the advice. I too like to perfect my lamps and don't mine trial and error, but lately I have had some bad luck! I think this page is exactly what I was looking for!
I made a batch yesterday per your instructions. I haven't finished with putting it all together, but so far so good. I got it flowing but ended up with too much salt in the water and the water was a little cloudy. I started over with the liquid and haven't perfected it yet. I'm so excited. Not being able to make goo has always plagued me! The only problem was that I dyed the goo a dark green. Weirdly enough, it has a red shine to it when the lights on. I don't get it. Oh well, I really would like to make an opaque cream color. Any ideas? I could not find white candle dye, probably cause they don't make it. I'm guessing adding no color to the goo makes it clear. ??? What do you think about using a cream colored candle instead of parrafin wax? You have opened up a whole new lava world for me! I can't wait to get off work and continue to experiment! Thanks again!
Oh, btw-you seem to be up on safety with the ingredients- I am storing the extra goo I made in a plastic container. I'm wondering how I'm going to liquify it so I can use more for another project. Do you think it's safe to put that container in the microwave? Will the perk/mineral oi/parrifin explode or expand?
I am glad you are having fun and I was able to help you. I have 2 ideas for you.
I have read that candle wax dyes will cloud the water quite quickly, what you need is an OIL Based dye 1 suggestion has been oil based PAINT TINTS not just the paint but the tint itself I am suspect of this idea though as I know how paints are made and there is very fine particles in it but I dont know if the actual tint is the same. What I have been trying to find is what they tint "oil lamp" oil with it as it comes in many colors and is very clear it is also quite obviously soluble in oil which parrafin wax and mineral oil are closely related to. What I have used and it works quite well for me so far is used old REAL lava lamp wax and mixed differant colors or just lightly dyed the wax so it is a pale color you can also dye the "water" with food coloring. "Most" "Colored" candles will cloud your soloutins quite quickly because of the dyes the same for "Crayons" I have also read that mixing goos from differant globes can be problematic if their chemisty's are too differant so it is a lot of trial and error but that makes succes even sweeter.
Good luck
keep in touch I have been idle a while
I may start up again you have me thinking again thanks

Microwaving your goo is a Very Bad Idea it would just be like microvaving butter some parts would liquefy and convert the perc to a gas and your microvave fan would be blasting the fumes into your air while other parts of the goo would remain solid. The safest way to reheat goo is in a fairly hot water bath safety often depends on patience
First off, thanks for posting your work cpu2hot. I am going to giving it a go. Could you answer a couple of questions first?. After mixing the wax, perk and mineral oil and it has cooled down, what should the consistency be? Should it be firm (more like a wax) or more like a slushy? I realize it is called "goo" and this maybe answers my question, I just want to have an idea what consistency the goo will have at room temprature. Also what is the best method to color this goo. Oil based paint dye, maybe the ink from a perminant marker, candle dye or crayon????? I have read cons on all, just hoping you might have some insight. Again, thanks for your time. It might take a while but when I am done I'll post the outcome.
The goo should be in solid form but soft enough to leave marks in without pressing too hard and easy to "spoon" pieces off not hard enough to break.

I have no definitive answer for coloring wax but I really suggest not using crayons or candle wax for sure the colorant should NOT be water soluble sorry I cant be more helpfull in this aspect

Good Luck cpu2hot
I use this recipe and I use candle dye to color the wax. I got a blue, red and yellow, you can get so many colors if you just get the primaries. This recipe gives the goo a transparent look, the more color you use the less transparent it looks.
My consistency is really slushy, I like it cause I can make a batch and never have to heat it to get it in a globe. Once I get it in the globe and color it I put it in the fridge for a few hours to harden it before I put in the water.
Hi the candle dye supposedly works for a while and then it starts to sepperate and you get a very fine powder almost like talcum powder clouding the clear liquid. this change can be delayed by not running the lamp for very long so it doesnt get to hot but it will eventually cloud. This has been my experience and I have also read the same thing However your candle dye may be differant

Good Luck
and thanks for keeping me informed

Hi folks its been a while since i was here. I have noticed a few posts where people are commenting on cloudy water. The only way Epsom salts will cloud the water is if your liquid were above "Super Saturated" and then only while it was cooling and the salt was "Precipitating" out of it. If this was the case when it was COOL you would see GRANULES " or crystals under a microscope"  of salt on top of the wax and around it.and as the water got warmed again and started the convection currents flowing the salt would once again dissolve into solution. The most probable cause of clouding is the breakdown of wax caused by the surfactant which if you use soap is a phosphate. These broken down wax molecules "Settle Out" if the lamp is left off,  left still,  not moved at all for a couple of days. This residue is a very fine particulate evenly coated over the wax.

The secret is to use distilled water and use as little epsom salts as possible to get the wax to dome then as little soap as possible to get the wax to break into globs all of these chemical additions should be done when the lamp is hot. Dont forget when the lamp is sealed and hot it will act differently because  the pressure inside the lamp has changed so you may hve to fine tune it again. Once you have it perfect Dont let it run for a long time, The more time it spends hot the faster the water will cloud. It is inevitable it is science and phosphates break down wax.

I've found that using "miracle bubble" in place of the liquid detergent to be effective...it seems to be less "intense" and broadens the "just right" to "crap I added too much and screwed up my goo" gap.  Also, it doesn't cloud the water.  I adde so much that it made the water look like a bottle of softsoap, but it never clouded.  it probably comes with the glycerin already mixed in (your comment about bigger bubbles made me think that it might"..  oh and it smells like grape.

Another great tip was to get candle dye from the craft store ($5 for 4 different colors about the size of checkers...you barely use any of it).  It seems obvious and might be obvious, but I'd been trying all sorts of things like oil pastels (which only work for certain colors and even then don't work very well..they bleed into the water after a few "sessions" of heating and cooling)...and then I just figured I'd try the obvious.  VERY happy with the result.

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