How to Build a Dam With Flour & Water for a Science Project

Updated February 21, 2017

You can build a sturdy dam for a science project that is held together with flour and water. When flour and water are combined and allowed to dry, they form a bond similar to glue. The flour paste is strong and capable of holding back the weight of a small waterway in a science project display. Construct a dam model for your next science project to explore the positive and negative effects it has on the environment that surrounds it.

Draw out plans for geographic features including a waterway directly on the flat wood square using a permanent marker. Draw the parallel outlines of the river banks at least 6 inches apart.

Tear 10 to 15 pages of black and white newsprint paper into approximately 6-inch long strips.

Mix the flour and water together in a shallow dish.

Dredge the newspaper strips through the flour paste mixture and use your thumb and index finger to squeeze the excess liquid back into the dish.

Pile up the wet newspaper strips to form 3-inch high banks all along the waterway. Make mounds of soaked newspaper to form hills and mountains.

Choose a location for the dam and stack the flour paste soaked strips to form a wall. The height of the dam should be as tall or taller than the banks of the waterway. Use smoothed-out flat strips of newsprint to give the dam a flat surface on all sides.

Allow the flour paste to dry overnight or even for a couple days so it sets completely.

Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of acrylic paints to the model. Paint the mountains brown and green, and give the floor of the waterway a solid coat of blue. Let the paint dry for at least an hour.

Take the model outside and spray the entire surface with a coat of waterproof sealer spray. After an hour of drying, apply a second coat.


Run your tests with colored water so that it is easier to tell where the excess liquids go. Color plain water by adding a few drops of food coloring and stirring it in with a spoon. Try damaging or weakening your dam with a drill and running test to make it fail. These are the sort of contingency tests that are run during the planning process of a real dam.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-foot by 3-foot flat wood board
  • Permanent marker
  • Newspapers
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Shallow tub
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Waterproof sealer spray
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About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.