A volcano is an original science project, especially for children. If you don't yet know what to present for a science experiment, you can easily create a volcano! Make dough using common household items and shape it any way you want. Then all you have to do is paint the volcano to make it more realistic and add the ingredients to trigger the eruption!
Part 1 of 4: prepare the dough
Step 1. Mix all the ingredients
In a large bowl, pour 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of oil then mix everything with a fork or a spoon.
The dough will become hard after a few minutes, and you will likely need the help of an adult, teacher, or older loved one to continue mixing it
Step 2. Knead the dough to form a ball
Use your hands to knead the dough when it gets too hard to mix with a fork or spoon. Crush and press it like clay to mix the ingredients well. Finally, knead the dough to form a large ball.
- Consider kneading the dough on a hard surface such as a table or counter.
- It may also be helpful to use a rolling pin to flatten and knead the dough.
Step 3. Add 1 tablespoon of water
If the dough crumbles during kneading, it means that it is too dry. In this case, add 1 tablespoon of water and then use your hands to knead it and make the water soak in.
- If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until all the ingredients combine perfectly.
- Be careful not to add too much water if you don't want the dough to get sticky!
Step 4. Add 2 tablespoons of flour
If the dough is too sticky and it sticks to your fingers, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of flour. Knead everything with your hands to penetrate the extra flour.
- If the dough still feels sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour and continue kneading until it feels smooth and stops sticking to your fingers.
- Do not add too much flour, as the ingredients may not clump together properly.
Part 2 of 4: shaping the volcano
Step 1. Place the dough in the center of a tray
Your volcano will launch its lava all over the place during the eruption. Place the dough on a tray or the lid of a box and press down to hold it in place. This will limit the mess the volcano will cause.
- If you are using a tray, consider asking permission from a parent or adult first. Take a tray that is no longer useful, because the volcano risks damaging it.
- The lid of a box will also do, but again, ask a parent or adult for permission first!
Step 2. Make the dough a mountain shape
Press your hands against the edges of the dough to shape it. Give it a mountain shape.
- If the dough is too hard to mold, get help from an adult or someone older!
- There are different types of volcanoes. Some have steeper slopes than others and some have a flattened crater. You can give the volcano a specific shape, but keep in mind that most have an irregular surface and are not completely flat.
Step 3. Push a small glass cup down the center of the mountain
Once you have given the dough a mountain shape, take a small cylindrical glass cup (a jar or glass) of 250-350 ml and press it into the center of the mound. Push until the edges of the cup are level with the top of the dough. You just created the opening of the volcano!
- This step is quite difficult. If you can't get the pot into the dough, get help from a parent or someone strong enough.
- Before using a drink for this experience, be sure to ask permission from a parent or adult. It will be an integral part of the volcano and you will not be able to reuse it afterwards.
Step 4. Pattern the dough around the pot
Once you have pressed the pot into the dough, continue modeling the volcano to finalize its appearance. Use your hands to press the dough against the edges of the container.
- Remember that volcanoes are not perfectly smooth! They are rocky and rough on the outside, which means it doesn't matter if the dough is slightly grainy.
- Know that you can make the dough look like a specific type of volcano if you want to be true to reality, but you can also make it any shape. Search the internet for pictures of a volcano to have a model you can use as inspiration.
Part 3 of 4: paint the volcano
Step 1. Wait until the dough has dried completely
You will have to wait at least 8 hours for the paste to dry before you can paint it. The ideal is to leave it to dry overnight in a place out of reach of pets so as not to damage it (for example a raised shelf or a room in which the animals will not be able to enter).
- When dry, the dough should be hard to the touch. Press it after 8 hours to make sure.
- If it is still soft after 8 hours, wait a few more hours for it to dry perfectly.
Step 2. Paint the exterior of the volcano
Apply a coat of brown paint (preferably acrylic paint) to the exterior of the volcano. Choose a color that will make it look more realistic, such as brown, dark brown, or black. Apply the paint with a large brush around the edges of the volcano and cover it completely.
- Before painting the volcano, consider protecting the work surface with old newspaper or paper towels.
- You may also need to put on an old t-shirt.
Step 3. Paint the inside of the volcano
To make it more realistic and give the impression that it contains lava, paint the inside of the volcano orange or yellow. Apply the paint with a medium brush.
- For a stark contrast to the brown or black paint on the exterior of the volcano, choose a bright orange color.
- You can get orange paint by mixing equal amounts of red paint and yellow paint.
Step 4. Let the paint dry overnight
Wait until the paint inside and outside the volcano is completely dry before triggering the eruption. Let it sit overnight to be safe. If the paint is still wet at the time of the eruption, it may leak and wash away with the lava.
- Place the volcano out of reach of pets, for example on a raised shelf or in a closed room.
- Touch the paint to make sure it is dry. It will be sticky if it is still wet and smooth when dry.
Part 4 of 4: trigger the rash
Step 1. Pour baking soda into the volcano
Take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and pour them into the cup that serves as the volcano's reservoir. Before you do anything, first make sure the inside of the volcano is completely dry. The slightest humidity may cause the baking soda to sparkle before its time.
- Baking soda is a common household ingredient and you are likely to have some in your home.
- Before using it, ask a parent or an adult for permission.
Step 2. Pour dish soap over the baking soda
The washing-up liquid will give the rash a frothy side, you only need a teaspoon to achieve the desired effect.
- Any type of dishwashing liquid can be used! Take the one you usually use in your kitchen.
- Remember to ask permission from a parent or an adult before taking any.
Step 3. Add red and yellow food coloring
Food coloring will make the mousse look more realistic. Add a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to make the lava shine.
If you have orange food coloring at home, you can also use it to color the lava
Step 4. Pour 30 ml of vinegar into the crater
Vinegar is the final ingredient you need to trigger the volcano eruption. Once you add it, all you have to do is enjoy the show. Pour 30 ml (about 2 tablespoons) of vinegar when you are ready to trigger the rash.
- Add the vinegar only when you are ready to trigger the rash. The other ingredients can stay in the crater for as long as needed.
- As long as there is baking soda in the bottom of the jar, you can continue to pour vinegar.
If you don't want to make your own dough and model a volcano, you can pour the ingredients into an empty 2 liter soda bottle. The ingredients will mimic the eruption of a volcano in the soda bottle
- Avoid looking inside the volcano during the eruption!
- Before attempting this experiment, ask permission from a parent or guardian. Some steps may require the help of an adult.
- Quickly move away after pouring the vinegar!