When we went to Globe Lighting in Beaverton to look at light fixtures for the kids (several months ago now), they were intrigued by the various Lava Lamps the store had for sale.  Trevor of course wanted a green one (which was $40 if I remember correctly) and of course the girls fell in love with the pink one’s (which were smaller, so they were more like $20).  We weren’t in the market for lamps- we were looking for central lighting fixtures so it was a no-go.

A couple weeks ago (when we were out garage sale-ing) all three kids found Lava Lamps for $1-$5 and in the exact colors they wanted.

We brought them home, replaced the light bulbs, and turned them on.

Bad news, the “Lava” didn’t seem to flow.  Plus Riley’s liquid was a little cloudy. So I googled Lava Lamps to figure out how to fix them.

Turns out….if the lava doesn’t rise, it’s because the water isn’t dense enough.  Add salt.  For Trevor’s lamp I dumped out 1/4 of the water (it was dirty) and refilled it with green dyed salt water.  The wax would only rise 1/2 way up, so I had to keep adding more salt (just a sprinkle at time) until it finally started rising past the 1/2 way mark.  Oopsie, it went too far and sat at the top!  Easy fix…theoretically.  Dump out a little of the “salt water” and replace it with fresh water.  It’s an exact science though so it took a long time of adding and subtracting to get it just right.

The next problem- the wax was staying together as a single blob.  Internet research said to add a drop or two of dish detergent (Joy works the best, by the way) to break up the wax.  Do this step carefully, though, because there’s not a way to remove the dish detergent if you add too much!!

So about 1.5 weeks later, after almost daily intervention, Trevor finally has a working lava lamp with his two favorite colors: green and yellow!

Riley’s was a little easier to fix- and Brooke’s worked from the get-go.  But there you have it….

How to salvage a Lava Lamp!