Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Trying to crack the original formula- why was kerosene used?

In my quest to figure out exactly what the original formula is, one thing I haven't figured out is why they used Kerosene in the mixture.  It seems like it was a very small part of the mixture, something like 7% by volume.

But what was the point?  Did it act as a preservative, or enhance the flow, or help to bind everything together?


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Yep., that's what we're doing with it now.  Did some errands and let it cool, and now we're gonna do a second run with more PG.

Started at 12:30

T+13, spiking has begun already.  This looks *very* 90's.  The warmup time is quite similar too, my 90s 40 watt lamps usually take around 12-15 minutes for this.  Promising!

Alright, it took about an hour to re-liquify. 

The balance still isn't right, but the fluid is nearly 40% PG at this point.  Some observations:

The initial warmup+spiking phase happens around the same time as a 90's lamp, and the behavior is very much the same.  Hollow Stlagmites that eventually soften and collapse.

However, the re-liquification takes a lot longer- almost 45 minutes. 

The wax is also very heavy, and it is now trading blobs up and down- but "fastball" style instead of the graceful, slow, even flow we are after.

So I think I can kill two birds with one stone by making the same formula, but adding a few more grams of kerosene to make it lighter AND easier to melt.  This is what I will do next.  I'm going to cool it off and watch it warm up again to see if it follows the same pattern (stabilized).


I was looking over your MSDS sheets you provided, and noticed that the date is 2006.  So I am assuming that these are the "new" formulas that we're not a huge fan of?  Even if that is the case, it's still useful as hell, because I am sure they used some variant of that in the original/90s.

What tipped me off is the 92% water content- made me say "wait that's WAY too light?"

In my post, there is no propylene glycol in the lava lamp I made. I did not use it. I use glycerin if necessary anyway.

Ant Bee said:


I was looking over your MSDS sheets you provided, and noticed that the date is 2006.  So I am assuming that these are the "new" formulas that we're not a huge fan of?  Even if that is the case, it's still useful as hell, because I am sure they used some variant of that in the original/90s.

What tipped me off is the 92% water content- made me say "wait that's WAY too light?"

That's fair, but we're trying to hone in on what the original/90's recipe was.  Do we know that glycerin was used, specifically?


yes it is I used distilled water in my grand and it works beautiful!

Alright, nearly a week since I have turned any of my test formulas on, and one thing that we need to keep in mind is longevity.  Original/90's formulas handle long term storage very well (granted they're kept at room temps).  So how are my test lamps doing with merely a week?

Family Portrait.  As you can see, the red has a "film" on the wax, and the liquid is distinctively cloudy. 

Closeup of red

Whereas the other formulas don't have cloudy liquid, but some of the waxes have a more mottled appearance.

Closeup of pink.  Much clearer.

This leads me to think that the red has a little too much petroleum jelly (10 grams), or perhaps the petroleum jelly I used has impurities, or maybe there's a missing ingredient that helps bind it together.  It does flow nicely when turned on, but if it clouds up after just a week of sitting, then something's definitely off.

I got some new ingredients in the mail that I'm eager to screw around with- styric acid and aniline dyes and bleached beeswax pellets (not that I think beeswax was OG formula, but Tev piqued my interest and I just wanna mess around with it.)

These are the jars I have on the stove now, will put them on the base tomorrow.

These are in essence just "leftovers" that I had in my jars, but with minor tweaks.  Yellow and purple has a bit more perc than their original mixes, and some powdered aniline dye.  I have no idea how much of that dye to use, so I just scooped some out on the end of a knife.  I'd wager its like a gram worth.

Blue has more kerosene.  I was pretty happy with this formula, except for the re-melting point.

We'll see what happens!

I follow with interest.
Ant Bee said:

Pekala, test formüllerimden herhangi birini açtığımdan beri neredeyse bir hafta oldu ve aklımızda tutmamız gereken bir şey uzun ömürlülük. Original / 90'ın formülleri uzun süreli depolamayı çok iyi idare eder (oda sıcaklığında tutuldukları kabul edilir). Peki test lambalarım sadece bir hafta içinde ne durumda?

Aile portresi. Gördüğünüz gibi, kırmızının balmumu üzerinde bir "filmi" vardır ve sıvı belirgin bir şekilde bulanıktır. 

Kırmızı yakın

çekim Diğer formüllerde bulanık sıvı yoktur, ancak bazı mumların daha alacalı bir görünümü vardır.

Pembe closeup. Çok daha net.

Bu beni, kırmızının biraz fazla petrol jeli (10 gram) içerdiğini veya belki de kullandığım vazelin safsızlıklara sahip olduğunu veya belki de onu birbirine bağlamasına yardımcı olan eksik bir bileşen olduğunu düşündürüyor. Açıldığında güzelce akıyor, ancak sadece bir hafta oturduktan sonra bulutlanırsa, o zaman kesinlikle bir şeyler yanlıştır.

Postada, sitrik asit ve anilin boyaları ve ağartılmış balmumu peletlerini vidalamak için istekli olduğum bazı yeni malzemeler var (balmumunun OG formülü olduğunu düşünmüyorum, ama Tev ilgimi çekti ve sadece onunla uğraşmak istiyorum .)

Bunlar şu anda ocakta bulunan kavanozlar, yarın üsse koyacağım.

Bunlar aslında kavanozlarımda sahip olduğum "artıklar", ancak küçük değişikliklerle. Sarı ve mor, orijinal karışımlarından biraz daha fazla yüzdeye ve biraz toz anilin boyasına sahiptir. O boyadan ne kadar kullanacağım hakkında hiçbir fikrim yok, bu yüzden biraz bıçağın ucunu çıkardım. Bir gram değerinde olduğuna bahse girerim.

Mavide daha çok gazyağı var. Yeniden erime noktası dışında bu formülden oldukça memnun kaldım.

Ne olacağını göreceğiz!

Alright, another day, another weird batch of lamps.

Red and blue up first.  Started 5:00

You'll notice that the water underneath the wax is colored- the aniline dye is *both* soluable in water and wax.  But, when I was cooking the jars, some of the dye fell out of solution.  When that excess dye hit the water... well...

Because I am lazy and sloppy, I use the same pipe for everything.  The yellow was the last pour, and as such has blue water from the previous pour.  Oh well.

I also did these the "mathmos" way, and just coated the inside with surf without heating the bottle first- and without the coil inside.  We will see how this goes, but because I'm so used to heating the bottle first, I think these will stick.  We'll see.

Anyway, off we go.

Alright, t+15, blue has lid flippage.  (5 minutes later the red did the same)

t+1:15, the red is nearly liquified and floated to the top.  The blue is semi-solid, and floated to the top.

A few observations. 

1) The excess dye *really* can't wait to escape into the water- and boy does it cloud up bad.

2) BUT- and the pic isn't doing a great job of capturing this- the wax itself looks *just* like my 90's red lamp.  It's opaque, with a sort of milky consistency.  Like its almost creepy how much it looks like 90's red.

3) I didn't mention this, but I left the jars on the stove a lot longer than I normally do before pouring, and this MAY have offgassed the perc, which explains why the red despite having more perc initially is still floating to the top.  I intend to test this theory later- I will make a couple jars with X amount of wax and Y amount of perc and leave them on the stove for different timeframes, and then weigh them to see if there's a difference.

4) No stickage, so I think my original method of heating the bottle before pouring was not needed at all.  Cool.

Super interesting stuff here.  I'm going to add some perc to both after they sit on the base a while, perhaps replace the water (I should mention that its pure distilled at first, per usual) and run again. 

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