Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Make a Safe Glitter Lava Lamp Share Flipboard Email Print Alex Cao / Getty Images Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 03, 2019 While real lava lamps and lava lights rely on trade secrets, you can get a similar effect with simple household ingredients. Try this easy activity and create your own safe glitter lava lamp! Ingredients The simplest version of this project is mixing glitter with vegetable oil, but you can make an interesting and safe lava effect if you add water and food coloring. Vegetable Oil or Baby OilWaterFood ColoringGlitter or Small BeadsGlass Jar with Lid Instructions This version of a lava lamp (unlike the real thing) is great for young kids! First, fill the jar about a third full of oil.Next, sprinkle on glitter, sequins, small beads, or any tiny sparkles that catch your eye.Add water to nearly fill the jar.Add a drop or so of food coloring.Finish filling the jar with water, then screw the lid on tightly.Flip the jar over. Flip it back. Shake it up. Have fun! Useful Tips Let the liquid settle, then open the jar and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on top. What happens? Why?Water is a polar molecule, while oil is nonpolar. Polar molecules stick to each other, but not to nonpolar molecules. Oil and water don't mix!The oil is less dense than water, so it floats on top.Is the food coloring in the oil or the water? How can you tell? Is food coloring polar or nonpolar?