Original Lava Lamp Instructions

Updated February 21, 2017

Lava lamps are decorative items coveted for the melodic rising and falling of wax blobs that resemble hot lava. They come in a multitude of colours and are operable by plugging them into a power outlet. Inside of the lamp, an incandescent bulb heats the water inside the glass case. Inside of the water, wax blobs heat up and move through the water as a viscous substance. The original lava lamp was created in 1963 by Edward Craven Walker and was coined "Astro Lamp."

Set your lava lamp on a flat surface, such as your bedside table. Your lava lamp will become quite warm while operating, so keep flammable materials such as clothes or towels away from the lamp.

Plug the extension cord attached to the lamp into a polarised power outlet. Original Astro Lamp lava lamps have plugs that fit into an outlet only one way as a safety feature. Do not attempt to jam the plug into the outlet if it does not fit. Do not use with an extension cord unless the plug fits in all the way.

Wait for your lava lamp to warm up. The wax inside of the lamp will not move until it has reached the proper temperature. The coil on the inside may stand up while the lamp is heating, but it will sink down to its natural position when the lamp has reached its proper temperature.


If the lamp is not working in four hours, unplug it and return it to the manufacturer for a replacement. Your lamp may malfunction by failing to become warm enough or becoming too hot for safe operation. When the lamp is too cold, the wax will sit flat on the bottom. When the lamp is too warm, the wax will spread around in small chunks or thicken at the bottom of the lamp. If this happens, return the lamp to the manufacturer for a replacement.

Things You'll Need

  • Polarised plug outlet
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About the Author

Michael Monet has been writing professionally since 2006. At the San Francisco School of the Arts, he studied under writers Octavio Solis and Michelle Tea, performed his work in Bay Area theaters and was published in literary journals such as "Paradox," "Umlaut" and "Transfer." Monet also studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York and Mills College in Oakland.