I've been doing a little experimentation with making my own lava lamps.
For one go of it, I've been using some large glass jars that were given to me. I think they hold a little more than a half gallon total volume. I think they were pickle jars originally.
My "goo" is simply canning wax plus brake cleaner and some wax colorant I picked up from Hobby Lobby.
The water is distilled water with a few drops of regular Dawn dish soap.
For this go, to simplify things, I started with making the goo with a ratio where the brake cleaner is roughly 25% rather than 33%. At this ratio, when cold it will sink but when hot it will float.
When I got to the point where it was melted and floating, I started adding small amounts of brake cleaner over a while until I'd achieved the right balance where it would sink and float in the water properly, with no other adjuncts to the water beyond the Dawn dish soap.
The problem is that the wax always wants to climb the glass. Usually when everything is going, I'll have some blobs that are rising and falling normally, and also there will be one side of the glass where it is flowing up, and another where it is flowing down. It is still neat, but not what I'm looking for.
I've tried scrubbing the insides of the jar very well with dish soap as well as cleaning it, then spraying with something like carb cleaner in an attempt to strip any unseen wax, and then scrubbing again.
Just wondering if there is anything I can add to the water that will reduce the propensity of the wax sticking?
There is also a little cloudiness that develops in the water. I wonder if there is a better surf to use than the Dawn?
I'm curious to know how your brake cleaner isn't coming out of the wax without adding lamp oil.
The best method (and I've tried a bunch) to get it to not stick is:
While the wax is melting, take your clean bottle and put just alittle bit of surf in it, and a squirt of water. If your liquid level is above the coil, that's too much.
Heat up the bottle with the water and surf in it, in the same pot that you're melting your wax in. Then (and you need to act quickly so the bottle doesn't cool off) take the bottle out and GENTLY swirl the hot soapy water around the bottle. The key is to cover the whole surface of the bottle, but NOT make too many soap bubbles.
Grab your wax, funnel and pipe and pour the wax in the bottle. Make sure your pipe is like an inch off the bottom of the bottle.
That said, I have had one specific vodka bottle that no matter what I do, wax eventually clings. I think the surface must have some micro-abrasions on it or something. Some bottles are cursed maybe.