Creating a volcano is great as a science experiment, especially for children. For example, you can make a volcano as an environmental homework. Make dough with whatever you have on hand and mold it into a volcano. After that, paint the volcano a more believable color and add the necessary ingredients to make it erupt!
Part 1 of 4: Knead the dough
Step 1. Mix 3 cups (400 grams) flour, 1 cup (300 grams) salt, 1 cup (250 milliliters) water, and 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil
Measure out each ingredient and place in a large bowl. Mix everything well with a fork or spoon.
After a few minutes, the dough will harden and stir poorly, so you may need the help of an adult - a parent, teacher, older brother or sister
Step 2. Knead the dough by hand and round it
When the dough becomes difficult to stir with a fork or spoon, knead by hand. Flatten and squeeze the dough to make it smooth. Shape the dough into a large ball.
- Knead the dough on a hard, stable surface, such as a kitchen counter.
- For convenience, you can roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
Step 3. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water if the dough is falling apart
If the dough crumbles during kneading, it is too dry. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water and stir the dough by hand to evenly wet the dough.
- If the dough remains dry, add another tablespoon (15 ml) of water. Continue adding water until the dough is soft and sticky enough.
- Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will become sticky!
Step 4. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of flour
If the dough sticks to your hands, it is too sticky. If this is the case, sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of flour. After that, knead the dough with your hands so that the flour is evenly distributed over it.
- If the dough still sticks to your hands, add 1 more tablespoon (15 grams) flour and stir in the dough. Add flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.
- Don't add too much flour or the dough will start to crumble.
Part 2 of 4: Shape the Volcano
Step 1. Take a tray or lid from the box and press the dough into the center of the box
When a volcano erupts, it will become quite dirty around it. Place the dough on a raised-edge tray or box lid and press down on the dough to adhere to the bottom. This will leave dirt in the tray or lid.
- If you want to use the tray, please ask adults for permission beforehand. After experimenting with a volcano, the tray will become dirty and unusable.
- A cardboard box lid will also work, but ask an adult for permission first!
Step 2. Shape the dough into a mountain
Press the dough into a tray or lid with your hands and sculpt it into a mountain-like shape.
- If the dough is too hard, ask an adult or older brother (sister) for help.
- There are various types of volcanoes. Some have relatively steep slopes, while others have flat tops. You can give a volcano a shape that is characteristic of a certain type, but keep in mind that most real volcanoes do not have a perfectly regular shape and have uneven slopes and not quite flat summits.
Step 3. Press a small cup or glass into the center of the dough mountain
After shaping the dough into a mountain, center a small cylindrical glass or jar with a capacity of about 240-350 milliliters and press into the dough until the edges are flush with the top of the mountain. This will be the mouth of the volcano.
- This step can be tricky, so ask a parent or adult to help you if you are having trouble pressing a glass or jar into the dough.
- Do not forget to ask adults first if you can take a glass or a jar! They will become part of the volcano and you will not be able to use them for other purposes.
Step 4. Stick the dough over the glass to make the structure look more like a volcano
After squeezing the glass or jar, surround it with dough. Slide the dough over a glass or cup by hand to create a volcano-like shape.
- Please note that volcanoes do not have a perfectly flat surface! They are covered with rocks and stones, so it is normal for the dough to be slightly uneven and bumpy.
- If you want to be precise, shape the volcano into a certain type. You can also sculpt a standard volcano. Search the internet for pictures of volcanoes and find one that works for you.
Part 3 of 4: Paint the Volcano
Step 1. Wait for the dough to dry completely before painting the volcano
The dough should dry for at least 8 hours, so let it sit overnight. Place it out of the reach of pets to prevent them from ruining the volcano, such as on an overhead bookshelf or in a closed room.
- The dried dough will feel firm to the touch. After about 8 hours, press down on it to check if it's dry.
- If the dough is still soft after 8 hours, wait a few more hours.
Step 2. Apply brown or black paint to the outside of the volcano
Acrylic paint is best suited for this purpose. Choose a paint that makes the volcano look more believable. Try dyeing it brown, dark brown, or black. Take a large brush and paint the slopes of the volcano with a layer of paint.
- Be sure to place a few old newspapers or paper towels under the volcano to prevent paint on your work surface.
- You can also wear an old T-shirt.
Step 3. For additional effect paint the inner surface of the volcano orange or yellow
If you want the mouth of the volcano to look like it's filled with lava, you can paint the inside of the glass. Apply the paint with a medium brush.
- Choose a bright orange paint to contrast with the brown or black of the volcano's outer flanks.
- Orange can be obtained from red and yellow paints: just mix them in equal amounts.
Step 4. Before arranging a volcanic eruption, leave the paint overnight to dry
The paint on the inside and outside of the volcano needs to dry completely before you move on to the next step, so leave the volcano overnight to dry properly. Otherwise, the paint may drip along with the ingredients you add to erupt.
- Place the volcano in a place that pets cannot reach, such as on a high shelf or in a closed room.
- You can touch the paint to see if it's dry. If the paint hasn't dried yet, it will feel sticky to the touch.
Part 4 of 4: Volcanic Eruption
Step 1. Pour 2 tablespoons (40 grams) of baking soda into the volcano
Measure out 2 tablespoons (40 grams) of baking soda and pour it into a glass inside the volcano. Check beforehand that the glass is dry. On contact with moisture, baking soda can begin to foam ahead of time.
- Baking soda can be found in almost every home.
- Ask an adult for permission before using baking soda.
Step 2. Add about 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of liquid dish soap to the baking soda
As a result, more foam will be released during the eruption. 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap is enough.
- Any liquid dish soap will work. Use whatever product is available in your kitchen.
- Don't forget to ask adults for permission!
Step 3. Add a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to the mouth of the volcano
This will make the foam look more like lava. Add a few drops of red and yellow dyes to the glass to make the lava look brighter.
If you have orange food coloring, it can also be used on lava
Step 4. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar to the glass and the volcano will erupt
This is the last ingredient required to erupt. When ready, add vinegar to the glass.
- Don't add vinegar until you are ready to erupt! Other ingredients can remain in the volcano for as long as you like until everything is ready.
- If baking soda remains at the bottom of the glass or jar after the first eruption, you can add some more vinegar.
If you don't want to knead dough and sculpt a volcano, you can simply place all the eruption ingredients in an empty 2 liter mineral water bottle. In this case, you will be able to observe the eruption from the neck of the plastic bottle
- Don't look into the mouth of the volcano when it erupts!
- Step aside after adding the vinegar!
- Ask an adult if you can do this experiment. At some point, you may need their help.