How to Make a Tornado Tube

Updated April 17, 2017

Many kids choose to create a tornado vortex tube for a science fair project or simply just for fun to play with at home. Tornado tubes demonstrate the whirlwind effect created when tornadoes spin, as well as showing how whirlpools can occur in water. If you or your child wishes to make one, it is a fairly simple project to work on together and can teach quite a bit about the nature of tornadoes.

Remove the labels from your two 2-liter bottles completely. You can carefully scrape any excess pieces of labels or glue from the bottle with the scissors. You will need to have a clear view of the vortex created.

Cut a 3-inch piece off of the duct tape roll. Create a hole in the centre of the tape using the ink pen. For a vortex with a more narrow tail end, make the hole smaller. For wider tail ends, make a bigger hole. Be careful not to make the hole too big, however, as you may not get the right results. Alternately, instead of using duct tape, you can drill a ¾-inch hole in the two bottle caps, then use super glue to connect the caps together by the flat side.

Take one of your empty 2-liter bottles and fill it three-fourths of the way full with water. Make sure the bottle doesn't have any holes or other leaks in it. ß

Attach the duct tape with the hole cut or the bottle cap creation, to the bottle with the water in it. Once in place, affix the empty bottle spout-down to the duct tape, or screw it into the bottle cap end. Cover the two bottle spouts with duct tape so that the area that joins them is completely secure. Test for leaks by tilting the tornado tube.

Turn the tornado tube upside down so that the bottle with the water is now on top. Spin the tube some to create the tornado effect.


You can add food colouring to the water for special effects. Try making the water blue or green. You can also add glitter to the water to watch how the spinning affects the pieces of glitter. If you want to simplify the creation process, you can purchase a tornado tube connector device. With this, you simply screw it on to the bottle with water in it, then attach the empty bottle. It eliminates the need for the duct tape.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 empty 2-liter drink bottles
  • Duct tape
  • Ink pen
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Super glue
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About the Author

Ticara Gailliard is a college graduate with a degree in communications/film and video production from the University of Memphis. She has been a writer for over 15 years and has been published in local writing magazines such as "Grandmother Earth." She also edited two books for her high school.