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04 March 2015

Fun Science: How to Make a Dough Volcano

Jamster had a natural disaster school project to complete over the half term break and after the initial tuts and sighs about homework in the holiday he was very keen to get stuck in. He actually enjoyed it far more than he expected and I know he felt proud once it was complete knowing that he had put time and effort in to create it himself.

I thought I'd share the details on how it was made so you can give it a go at home too! I feel by using dough instead of card or paper mache it looks quite textured and therefore more realistic.

What you will need

Corrugated cardboard (or another sturdy base like wood) approx 45cm x 45cm in size

A plastic bottle (approx 200ml in size)
Sellotape or a glue gun
Dough (3 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp oil)


Mix together the flour, water and oil in a bowl to create a dough - double the mixture if you want something super size. Add a little more flour if required, it shouldn't be sticky when it's handled. We opted for a salt free option but feel free to use an alternative recipe if you wish. This however is safe if little hands get a hold of it and want to explore with their mouths!

You may wish to pop down some newspaper at this point to protect surfaces but it isn't very messy. After removing the lid, attach the bottom of the bottle to your base by running sellotape down the sides and securing it, or by using a glue gun. We chose the latter to keep it really sturdy.

Pull off pieces of the dough and roll them out reasonably flat. Starting at the top of the bottle, wrap the dough around it, overlapping as you go, and widening out as you reach the base. Any extra pieces can be added over the top at the end to build it up. Make sure you press down on the pieces that run along the base to help them bind together. You can always use the glue gun again at this point if you would like to but it is quite heavy and stays in place well regardless.

Leave the volcano to dry out - this will take 12-48hrs depending upon how you have layered the dough and your environment.

For this part you may wish to lay down some newspaper again as the paints come out. At this point you will paint the volcano brown. Once dry add red/orange/yellow as you wish to represent the hot lava. If there is any base still exposed you can paint that green.

Allow the volcano to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

The Explosion!

Although this part was tested out fully at school, we decided to have a go at creating some volcano- like explosions of our own at home too. You can try the following for different reactions - it's best if an adult supervises and it is tested outside though.

  • Coke and Mentos (we used other mints but they didn't have the same effect). Simply undo the lid on a bottle of coke and slip some mints inside very quickly then stand far back to watch.
  • Half fill a bottle with warm water and then add a few drops of red food colouring and a few drops of detergent. Add in a few tablespoons of baking powder and then pour in some vinegar.

Have you made a volcano before?

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  1. That looks and sounds fab - we have all these sorts of projects to come as Monkey progresses in school #minicreations

  2. That looks great! We had to make a volcano for a school project a couple of years ago :) #minicreations

  3. A brilliant volcano! I can't wait for Potato to be old enough to try this sort of thing. I used to love science experiments like this at school

  4. This looks amazing! Going to try this at home with my daughter!

  5. lUCAS SAYS - AAWWEEEESSSOOOMMMMMEEEEE!! Dad is gonna love making this with me. What a great idea!! Better not do it in the kitchen though. The Mother's only just decorated!! he he Thanks for linking to #minicreations

  6. I must try this!! Looks like lots of fun xx


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