How Do You Make a Papier-Mache Volcano?


Making a papier-mâché volcano is a fun family activity that combines art and chemistry. Make your own erupting volcano with a plastic soda bottle, heavy cardboard, masking tape, papier-mâché paste, newspaper, non-toxic paint, a paper cup, baking soda, dish soap, food coloring, water and vinegar. This project requires overnight drying time.

  1. Cut the cardboard foundation

    Trim the cardboard until you have a square piece that measures 2 feet per side. Cut the scraps into strips and set them aside.

  2. Build the base

    Center an empty, uncapped soda bottle on the cardboard square and secure it with masking tape. Tape the cardboard strips to the neck of the bottle. Pull each strip out at an angle and tape the free end to the cardboard foundation..

  3. Apply the papier-mâché

    Cover the volcano with strips of newsprint dipped in papier-mâché paste. Allow the paste to dry overnight.

  4. Paint the volcano

    Paint the dry volcano with non-toxic paint. A mixture of brown, grey and black paint creates a natural look. Do not touch or move the volcano until the paint is dry.

  5. Pour the eruption ingredients into the volcano

    Carry the volcano outside and place it on a flat surface. Carefully load it with 1 tablespoon of warm water, 4 drops of liquid dish soap and 2 drops of red food coloring. Cover the liquid ingredients with 1 tablespoon of baking soda.

  6. Dump the vinegar on top of the other eruption ingredients

    Pour the vinegar into a small paper cup until it's at least half full, then dump it into the volcano and step away. In seconds, the chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar creates colorful foam "lava."