Instructions on Making a Model Volcano

Updated July 20, 2017

Constructing a model volcano that erupts is a staple of childhood. Whether made for a science project, or a rainy weekend activity, this volcano project is easy, safe, creative and fun for the whole family.

When planning your project, keep in mind that for best results, the modelling clay should dry overnight. Embellishments, such as small show houses, trees, etc., can be added to the base of the volcano for authentic details.

Select a work area that is easy to clean up and where your volcano can sit for a few days. Cover your work space with the newspaper.

Place the piece of cardboard inside the baking tray, trimming the sides to fit. This will serve as the base for your volcano.

Create a wide opening for the lava by cutting the neck off the soda bottle at a slight angle. Glue the bottle to the cardboard, and let dry for at least one hour. Once dry, add the vinegar, detergent and food colouring to the soda bottle.

While waiting for the base of the volcano to dry, you can prepare the modelling clay by mixing the flour and salt. Add water and knead until you have a thick, claylike consistency. Handle the clay as little as possible.

Construct the volcano with the clay, using the soda bottle to keep the volcano's form. The base should be the widest point, and the top of the volcano narrow. If you need to mix another batch of clay to finish the volcano, be sure the existing clay on the volcano has dried sufficiently. For durable results, let the clay dry overnight.

Once the volcano is completely dry, you can begin painting the clay. Use traditional colours like brown for the volcano and green for the trees at the base, or get creative and use any colour that comes to mind.

Once the volcano has dried, you can plan the eruption. Place the baking soda in the middle of the tissue, and twist the sides closed to create a ball. Dropping the baking soda into the volcano will begin the eruption. Stand back, and watch!


Store-bought modelling clay is an alternative to step four, and will considerably cut down the drying time.

Things You'll Need

  • Large piece of cardboard
  • Aluminium baking tray with sides
  • 454gr empty soda bottle
  • Old newspaper
  • One tissue
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • Few drops liquid dish detergent
  • Funnel
  • Red or orange food colouring
  • Paint for volcano (green, brown)
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About the Author

Wendy Biddlecombe has been a writer since 2006, with articles appearing in "SRQ magazine," "Walden Alumni Magazine" and "The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in writing from the New School University.