Step By Step: Building a Volcano

We are learning all about PreHistory and I’ve decided to include as many activities as possible because I love arts and crafts. The Tornado was very interested in how volcanoes formed land, so after watching a short movie about volcanoes on BrainPop, I thought it would be a great idea to build a working volcano. It was a great experience so I thought I would share this How To for when others wanted to build on as well.

What You Need:

For the Volcano Mountain

  • Patience
  • Empty paper towel tube
  • One 1 gallon Ziploc Bag or an Empty Bottle
  • Strong tape (We used Painter’s Tape because it’s meant to get wet and sill be sturdy)
  • Six strips of cardboard
  • Newspaper or Butcher paper or Paper Towels
  • One cardboard box or disposable tray
  • Plaster of Paris and Water (or Papier-mâché mixture)
  • Paint

For the Lava

  • Two packets of red Crystal Light, Jello, or Kool-Aid
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • 2 drops of dish soap
  • Patience

Building the Structure

  1. Place the Ziploc bag in the paper towel tube, folding the top of the bag over the tube so that the bag is open. Tape the top of bag to the tube. This is for the lava solution. If you are using a soda bottle, you do not need the bag.
  2. Stand the tube up in the tray or cardboard box and tape it to the bottom so that it is standing. It’s a little tough, but use as much tape as you need.
  3. Use your cardboard strips to add support to the tube by taping them to the tube and the box as if you were making a teepee. You should have something that looks like a triangle. Again, use as much tape as needed.
  4. Stuff crumpled up newspaper around the tube filling the space between the tube and the cardboard strip legs. Use a lot of newspaper. You want the structure to be somewhat solid and sturdy.
  5. Wrap the entire thing with painter’s tape link in the photo above. If you need too, go all the way to the bottom. The goal is to make the base firm.
  6. Have your child tear strips of newspaper. You want different widths and lengths and you want a lot. It is better to have more than you need. While he/she is doing that, spread newspaper on the floor or work surface. The floor worked best for us because we were able to get around the volcano easier.
  7. Place volcano on the newspaper you laid out in previous step. Mix the Plaster of Paris according to directions. Make sure that you make more than you need. We used 2 cups of Plaster of Paris but next time I may do a third because we could have used a little more. Remember that this stuff dries fast so work the next step quickly.
  8. Working quickly, dip the strips of paper in the plaster mix, in the same way as you would with Papier-mâché.
  9. Wrap the structure in a circular motion starting from the base and working your way up. Have fun with this. Go in different directions if you want and be generous with the plaster, as you want to cover the volcano to well. Don’t worry about smoothing the paper.
  10. Use strips to cover the bottom inside of the box. Go over the edged or the box too. You want to create a shell that will catch your lava later on. If you have plaster left and it has not dried, pour it into the box and spread it around.
  11. Let it dry. It should only need an hour but you may want to wait over night depending on how much plaster you used.
  12. When volcano has dried, it will be completely white. This is when you get to paint and have more fun. We used a combination red, browns, blues, orange, purple, and green to make ours look more realistic.
  13. You may want to paint a few coats but I suggest that you let it dry for 48 hours before doing anything.

Making the Lava

I’m probably a little nuts, but I just let my daughter have at it when it came to this part. I put two drops of dish soap and the two packs of Crystal Light in the bag (remember, the ziploc bag from step one?). Then I allowed her to experiment with different ratios of baking powder to vinegar. She had so much fun with this part. I suggest that you put newspaper down to catch any spills.

 

 

 

We are learning all about PreHistory and I’ve decided to include as many activities as possible because I love arts and crafts. The Tornado was very interested in how volcanoes formed land, so after watching a short movie about volcanoes on BrainPop, I thought it would be a great idea to build a working volcano. It was a great experience so I thought I would share this How To for when others wanted to build on as well.

What You Need:

For the Volcano Mountain

  • Patience
  • Empty paper towel tube
  • One 1 gallon Ziploc Bag or an Empty Bottle
  • Strong tape (We used Painter’s Tape because it’s meant to get wet and sill be sturdy)
  • Six strips of cardboard
  • Newspaper or Butcher paper or Paper Towels
  • One cardboard box or disposable tray
  • Plaster of Paris and Water (or Papier-mâché mixture)
  • Paint

For the Lava

  • Two packets of red Crystal Light, Jello, or Kool-Aid
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • 2 drops of dish soap
  • Patience

Building the Structure

  1. Place the Ziploc bag in the paper towel tube, folding the top of the bag over the tube so that the bag is open. Tape the top of bag to the tube. This is for the lava solution. If you are using a soda bottle, you do not need the bag.
  2. Stand the tube up in the tray or cardboard box and tape it to the bottom so that it is standing. It’s a little tough, but use as much tape as you need.
  3. Use your cardboard strips to add support to the tube by taping them to the tube and the box as if you were making a teepee. You should have something that looks like a triangle. Again, use as much tape as needed.
  4. Stuff crumpled up newspaper around the tube filling the space between the tube and the cardboard strip legs. Use a lot of newspaper. You want the structure to be somewhat solid and sturdy.
  5. Wrap the entire thing with painter’s tape link in the photo above. If you need too, go all the way to the bottom. The goal is to make the base firm.
  6. Have your child tear strips of newspaper. You want different widths and lengths and you want a lot. It is better to have more than you need. While he/she is doing that, spread newspaper on the floor or work surface. The floor worked best for us because we were able to get around the volcano easier.
  7. Place volcano on the newspaper you laid out in previous step. Mix the Plaster of Paris according to directions. Make sure that you make more than you need. We used 2 cups of Plaster of Paris but next time I may do a third because we could have used a little more. Remember that this stuff dries fast so work the next step quickly.
  8. Working quickly, dip the strips of paper in the plaster mix, in the same way as you would with Papier-mâché.
  9. Wrap the structure in a circular motion starting from the base and working your way up. Have fun with this. Go in different directions if you want and be generous with the plaster, as you want to cover the volcano to well. Don’t worry about smoothing the paper.
  10. Use strips to cover the bottom inside of the box. Go over the edged or the box too. You want to create a shell that will catch your lava later on. If you have plaster left and it has not dried, pour it into the box and spread it around.
  11. Let it dry. It should only need an hour but you may want to wait over night depending on how much plaster you used.
  12. When volcano has dried, it will be completely white. This is when you get to paint and have more fun. We used a combination red, browns, blues, orange, purple, and green to make ours look more realistic.
  13. You may want to paint a few coats but I suggest that you let it dry for 48 hours before doing anything.

Making the Lava

I’m probably a little nuts, but I just let my daughter have at it when it came to this part. I put two drops of dish soap and the two packs of Crystal Light in the bag (remember, the ziploc bag from step one?). Then I allowed her to experiment with different ratios of baking powder to vinegar. She had so much fun with this part. I suggest that you put newspaper down to catch any spills.