DIY

DIY Lava Lamp Sensory Jars

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

My momma has always loved lava lamps. One year my sister and I got them for Christmas and we’d watch them all of the time. But when we got tired of them my momma moved them into the kitchen so she could enjoy. Even recently I saw that thing on and it’s very, very old these days! 🙂

I’m all about sensory things for kids. Sensory play is great and visually stimulating things are a great way to keep the kids busy and their minds going. Put one of these down in front of a kid and watch them be amazed for a good long while. Some of them will even find shapes and interesting things inside of the colored blobs and bubbles dancing around. And still others will turn into little scientists trying to determine what shaking and turning at different speeds and whatnot will do to the results of the colors settling.

And this project is super cheap and super inexpensive.

For this project you will need:

  • Bottles, glass or plastic
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

I found these sparkling water bottles and since I have a sparkling water drinker in the house it seemed like fate that they be my DIY lava lamps. Now, I got too impatient and didn’t actually let him drink the water but it sounded fizzy and fab 🙂

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Using a razor blade or other scraper remove the painted on lettering. Be very careful!

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Put a small amount of water in the bottom of your jar, less than an inch.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Add food coloring of your choice.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

And fill nearly to the top with vegetable oil.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

And the fun has already begun!

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Add on the lid and allow the bubbles to settle to the bottom.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Now as an experiment I added about an inch and a quarter of colored liquid and less vegetable oil to my second.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

It wound up being way too much going on to even see what was happening.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

And turned again when about half settled it was completely impossible to see much of anything really.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Adding more oil did help but it was still too busy.You need just a very tiny amount of water and food coloring to get the best impact. I wound up throwing the oil out and starting over which seemed such a shame to get the results you see above instead.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

Now after a good 2 weeks of being played with (for real) the oil started to get murky. The one on the left was played with a lot where it was turned and turned and turned without things settling in between. It seemed to get murky much quicker than the one on the right.

These lava lamp inspired sensory jars are amazing!

You can still see what’s going down but the cloudiness does have a definite effect on the visibility.

In the end, I used one 48 ounce bottle of vegetable for $2.32 for 2 lamps. These aren’t as pretty as they were but I bet they can get another week or two of use out of them. To empty them and make new would be very inexpensive so you could conceivably change them out often or turn them more gently for better, cleaner oil in the long run.