Science Fair Project: Homemade Lava Lamp

The basic knowledge of water and oil is that they just do not mix. This is due to their vastly different molecular structure. Oil is made up of non-polar molecules while water is pure polar molecules. No matter how hard you might shake them in a bottle together, they will never mix - the oil just breaks up into smaller pieces. When put in a container, the water will sink to the bottom while the oil rises to the top. This is because water is more dense than oil.

Homemade Lava Lamp - Hiccup's Science Workshop

Make your own Lava Lamp

A science project that can also beautify your home - what more do you need? Not only do lava lamps contain a lot of different science properties, but they are really fun to have around the house also! By taking polarized and depolarized molecular structures, it creates that separated effect you see in oil and water. But adding an Alka–Seltzer tablet or fizzy tablets can help the process of movement speed up, creating an erupting effect.

  • Will the amount of Alka-Seltzer affect the mixture with oil and water?
  • Large Plastic Soda Bottle
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer tablet
  • Water

Homemade Lava Lamp - Science Project


  1. First, make sure your large plastic bottle has been cleaned so that there is no contamination.
  2. Next, fill that plastic bottle with your vegetable oil until it is filled up ¾ of the way.
  3. Then, fill the rest of the bottle with water until it reaches the top. But leave a little room, due to the fact there will be some fizzing and you do not want it to overflow.
  4. Grab your favorite food coloring and pour about 10 drops into the solution. The goal is to make sure the water is fairly dark, to observe the oil. Notice how the oil does not absorb the food coloring.
  5. You are going to want to divide the Alka-Seltzer tablet into at least 6 parts. Weigh how much each piece of the tablet weighs. Drop one piece into the mixture and observe what happens.
  6. Record your results. How much interaction occurred?

Smart Tip: Record a video of the different levels of Alka-Seltzer that were placed and explain the findings. Why was the increased amount of the tablet giving a stronger reaction?