How Do I Build a 3D Model Volcano That Can Erupt?

Written by kyle horner
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How Do I Build a 3D Model Volcano That Can Erupt?
Building a safe volcano at home is a great way to learn about natural science. (Volcano image by wojciechhajduk from

For centuries humans have been fascinated by the awesome power and spectacular size of volcanoes. Few of us will ever experience a real volcanic eruption, but there is a safe and easy way to simulate one in your own home. Instead of hot lava, this volcano uses common household products to create a chemical reaction that produces harmless foam and carbon dioxide (a gas also produced by real volcanoes). This method is inexpensive and can be repeated as many times as you like.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large baking pan
  • Large pop bottle
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cold tap water
  • 2 cups warm tap water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 5 to 6 drops dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Red food colouring

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  1. 1

    Put the flour, salt, vegetable oil and cold water into the large mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they form a dough, roughly the texture of modelling dough.

  2. 2

    Place the pop bottle in the centre of the baking pan. Ensure that the cap is removed.

  3. 3

    Using your hands, mould the dough around the pop bottle in the shape of a volcano. Remember that all volcanoes are different, so the final shape is up to you. Ensure that the dough reaches the edges of the pop bottle mouth without covering it.

  4. 4

    Decorate the volcano. You can use twigs and leaves to create miniature forests, or drag your fingers through the dough to make channels for the lava. Be creative.

  1. 1

    Add the warm water carefully to the pop bottle. Drop in the dish soap and a few drops of red food colouring.

  2. 2

    Add the 2 tbsp baking soda to the water mixture. You can use more baking soda to create a bigger eruption, but be sure you are prepared to clean up the mess.

  3. 3

    Add the vinegar using a slow and steady pour until the volcano erupts. You may wish to try a small amount of vinegar at first, and experiment with greater quantities later.

Tips and warnings

  • Building your own volcano can be very messy, so make sure it is all right with your parents or housemates.

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