Exploding Volcano

What could be more exciting than creating and exploding your own volcano? A craft and a science project combined!

Exploding Volcano Exploding Volcano

Project Info

Difficulty Slightly challenging
Duration Multiple days
Age 5+
Submitted by


  • 1 cup Vinegar (+ extra for multiple explosions)
  • 1 cup of Flour
  • 1-2 Paper Bags torn into several pieces
  • 2 tbs Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Baking Soda (+ extra for multiple explosions)
  • Empty, Clean Drinks Bottle (e.g. a 20oz soda bottle)
  • Funnel
  • Large piece of card approx 20x20" (e.g. cut from a cardboard box)
  • Newspaper
  • Optional - Plastic figures
  • Poster or Acrylic Paint
  • Red Food Coloring
  • Tape


  • Step 1

  • Step 2

  • Step 3

  • Step 12

  1. Tape the base of the plastic bottle to the card
  2. Screw up the paper bag pieces and arrange them around the bottle in a rough volcano shape - tape into position
  3. Tear your newspaper into strips approximately 1/2" wide
  4. Make the paper mache paste: Mix the four and salt with 1.5 cups of water until smooth and lump free.
  5. Dip a newspaper strip into the paste. Run your fingers along the length of the strip to remove excess paste and place over the volcano shape. Continue in this way, haphazardly placing the strips until the entire structure is covered to a depth of 2-3 strips. (Make sure to leave the opening of the bottle clear).
  6. Leave to dry completely in a warm place. This may take 24 hours or longer
  7. Once dry, paint your volcano. You can also, optionally, add small plastic shapes to enhance the volcano - e.g. dinosaurs for a prehistoric volcano, or farm animals for a rural scene.
  8. Once again, leave the volcano to dry.
  9. You are now ready to explode your volcano. Find an appropriate position to place the volcano (this could get messy)
  10. Using a funnel, add the 4tbs of baking powder into the bottle.
  11. Mix the 1 cup vinegar in a jug with several drops of red food coloring.
  12. Add the vinegar to the bottle using the funnel - quickly remove the funnel and stand back - the lava will quickly come bubbling out of the volcano with a fizzing noise.
  13. If you want to do it again (who wouldn't?), simply add more baking powder and repeat.


  1. Did you know: The eruption of the volcano is actually caused by CO2 being created by a rapid chemical reaction resulting from the mixing of the baking powder and vinegar. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate - NaHCO3) is slightly alkaline, whilst Vinegar (C2H4O2) is an acid. When these are mixed, they combine to form carbonic acid and sodium acetate. The carbonic acid rapidly turns into water and carbon dioxide - which bubbles out of the bottle causing the eruption!
  2. Adding glitter to the vinegar adds to the sparkle effect.
  3. This project will make a mess - best to do it outside - and you definitely need to cover your work surfaces to prevent staining by the food coloring.
  4. Safety: the solutions used in this experiment are safe to touch, and the volcano should not erupt violently. But, be careful to ensure that the opening of the bottle is not blocked after adding the vinegar (to prevent a build up of pressure that can't easily escape), and that you stand back after adding the vinegar so that none of the solution splashes into your eyes.
  5. When doing paper mache, it is usually recommended that you do one layer of newspaper, leave that layer to dry, and then add another then let dry and finally another. This is to ensure that the paper mache dries completely and does not go moldy over time. However, usually you will find that 3 layers of paper will dry thoroughly. In addition, once you have exploded your volcano it will be all mushy from the explosion and will have to be disposed of anyway.
  6. If you are impatient you can speed the drying of your volcano by placing it in the sun, blowing it with a hairdryer or placing it by a fan.
  7. There's all sorts of different variations that you can explore with this project. A good source of ideas is: link


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Useful supplies

- our picks from Amazon for this project:
Food Coloring AmeriColor Student - Kit 12 .75 Ounce Bottles Soft Gel Paste Colors
Food Coloring AmeriColor Student
3M 3051/WI07536 Scotch 3051 Low Tack Paper Tape: 3/4" x 36 yd., White
3M 3051/WI07536 Scotch 3051 Low Tack Paper Tape: 3/4" x 36 yd.
Art Advantage 2-1/2-Ounce Tube Acrylic Paint Set, 12 Colors
Art Advantage 2-1/2-Ounce Tube Acrylic Paint Set

Related Books

- our picks from Amazon for this project:
Volcanoes & Earthquakes (DK Eyewitness Books)
Volcanoes & Earthquakes
Volcanoes! (National Geographic Readers)
Volcanoes (Rise and Shine) (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

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