Lava lamps are the groovy colorful lamps you remember seeing as a kid and there’s a super easy way to replicate the look at home that makes them fun for kids and a cool STEM science experiment to boot.
See how to make these easy DIY Mason jar glitter lava lamps with some common kitchen ingredients and glitter for some extra sparkly fun!
Watch the video below to see how cool they are in action and read more below for the specific instructions on how to make them and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
First published 2015 updated in 2018 and now updated with additional photos 2022! Scroll down below to see!
DIY Mason Jar Glitter Lava Lamps – Materials:
– Mason jars
– Vegetable oil
– Food coloring
– Antacid tablets (the ones that bubble when in contact with liquids, like Alka-Seltzer tablets. Tums will not work)
– Glitter (optional)
Step 1. Fill about 1/3 of your jars with water. Add vegetable oil leaving some room at the top to make sure the mixture doesn’t bubble over.
Step 2. Add your food coloring, as much as you want (feel free to mix up the colors).
Step 3. Add glitter. This is optional, but adds an extra visual and sparkly element kids love.
Step 4. Add your antacid tablets. Go slow at first, one by one to watch the bubbles appear. Then you can add a couple at a time and watch the bubbles go fast and furious. My kids couldn’t get enough of this!
You can turn off the lights and have your kids shine a flashlight into the jar to watch the cool effects in the dark. This was fascinating for my kids.
So what’s the science behind it? Oil and water don’t mix so when the antacid tablets reach the water, they release carbon dioxide bubbles which rise up through the oil creating cool colored bubbles in the process.
These DIY lava lamps were so easy to set up and make such an interesting and visual experiment for kids. My kids had a blast making them!
Watch the video below to see how to make these cool glitter lava lamps.
*Note: please make sure to not keep the lid on while the antacids are bubbling inside. Make sure to supervise your kids when doing this craft, which is what we did. When not in use, you can place the lids back on and keep the jars for quite a while and re-use again. Also according to our readers, Tums will not work. It needs to be an antacid that will dissolve and create bubbles like Alka-Seltzer.
We’re still having fun with lava lamps! The photos above were of my 4 year old who is now 11 and the photos below are of my second who’s currently 4 now.
The look of wonder and joy in his eyes still shows the amazing reaction lava lamps evoke in young children.
We kept it simple with no glitter in these but used a wine glass to make it more eye-level and fun to watch! We’ve made lava lamps in mason jars, Voss water bottles and many other containers so wanted to try something different Don’t worry I used clear packing tape to tape the bottom of the glass so it wouldn’t tip over!!
Hope you try this amazing experiment!