Baking a Volcano: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erupting Fun

Embark on a journey of scientific exploration and creative expression as you build and erupt your very own volcano! This guide will walk you through the steps of constructing a magnificent volcano model and unleashing a captivating eruption using the power of baking soda and vinegar.


  • Cardboard: Form the base and cone of your volcano.
  • Three 4-oz. plastic cups: One for the eruption chamber, one for the baking soda, and one for the vinegar mixture.
  • 1 teaspoon ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda: The key ingredient for the eruption.
  • Plaster of Paris: Forms the sturdy structure of your volcano.
  • ¼ cup vinegar: Reacts with baking soda to create the eruption.
  • Liquid dish soap: Enhances the eruption’s bubbly effect.
  • Water: Dilutes the vinegar and adds volume to the eruption.
  • Red food coloring: Creates a vibrant lava-like appearance.


  1. Constructing the Volcano:

    • On a baking sheet, shape the cardboard into a broad cone, using a cup to form the crater at the top.
    • Apply Plaster of Paris over the cone, ensuring it doesn’t enter the crater. Allow it to dry completely.
    • Decorate your volcano with paint or other embellishments to bring it to life.
  2. Preparing the Eruption:

    • Mix vinegar, dish soap, a few drops of water, and red food coloring in a plastic cup. This will be your “lava” mixture.
    • Place 1 teaspoon of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda into a small, empty plastic cup. Position this cup inside the volcano’s crater.
  3. Erupting the Volcano:

    • Carefully pour the vinegar mixture into the baking soda cup in the crater.
    • Witness the spectacular eruption as the “lava” bubbles and flows down the sides of your volcano!


  • Adult supervision is recommended, especially during the eruption stage.
  • Experiment with different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to observe variations in the eruption’s intensity.
  • Capture the excitement on video and share it with friends and family.

Building and erupting a volcano is an engaging and educational activity that combines science, creativity, and fun. By following these steps and using the provided materials, you can create a memorable experience that sparks curiosity and a love for learning.

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Meta Description:

Learn how to build and erupt a volcano using baking soda and vinegar. This fun and educational science experiment is perfect for kids and adults alike.

How to make an erupting volcano model

  • Two A3 sheets of card
  • 200 ml plastic bottle
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Small bowl
  • Cup
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tbsp washing up liquid
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring

1. Draw a tiny circle around the neck of the bottle by placing it upside down in the center of a piece of cardstock.

2. Draw a line through the card that is straight to the center of the circle, then cut it out.

Draw a circle around the bottleneck in the center of the card, then cut it out.

3. Fold the card in half lengthwise to create a cone. After cutting out the circle, leave a hole and tape this in place. Make sure the cone is still taller than your bottle by cutting around its base so it sits flat.

4. Place the cone over the bottle. To keep the paper cone in place, tape its top to the bottle’s neck. Secure the cone’s base with tape to the additional card sheet.

5. Apply paint to the cone to create the illusion of a volcano. Allow your model to fully dry. Â.

To make the cone sit flat, cut away the card at its base.

6. Mix the dishwashing liquid and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the water and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into your volcano.

7. In a cup, mix together the vinegar and food colouring.

8. When you’re ready, combine the vinegar and bicarbonate in the bottle. When it erupts, observe the flow of lava.

9. Try varying the quantities of vinegar and bicarbonate to observe how the eruption of the volcano changes.

Stand back and watch your volcano erupt

To avoid getting any in your eyes, use caution when handling the eruption’s component parts and keep a safe distance when witnessing it. Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

It’s best to place your model on a wipe-clean surface to make cleanup simpler.

What is a volcano?

The Earth’s crust and the uppermost portions of the mantle, collectively referred to as the lithosphere, are divided into multiple tectonic plates that float over the asthenosphere rather than being one solid surface. This is a solid, deeper layer of rock that moves very slowly.

The slow process causes the plates to slide past one another (transform boundary), move farther apart (divergent boundary), or move closer together (convergent boundary).

Volcanoes can also form in hot spots in the middle of tectonic plates, although they usually form at divergent and convergent boundaries. Â.

Mount Fuji is one of the worlds most famous active volcanoes. It last erupted in the early 1700s and is located about 100 kilometres from Japans capital city, Tokyo, although some smaller cities sit much closer. © Marion & Christoph Aistleitner via Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

Volcanoes are rifts in the Earth’s crust that allow ash, gases, and molten rock to escape. When this mixture of materials is subterranean, it is known as magma; when it erupts, it is known as lava; and when it cools and solidifies on the surface, it is known as igneous rock.

Usually high ground or mountains, volcanoes can occasionally have extremely steep sides formed by erupted magma.

The various forms of magma, as well as the location and behavior of individual volcanoes, are the main causes of the wide range of shapes and sizes seen in volcanoes.

The most prevalent and possibly most recognizable kind of volcanoes are stratovolcanoes. Stratovolcanoes are steep-sloped and cone-shaped. They are also known as composite volcanoes.

They are mostly connected to convergent plate boundaries and typically cause explosive eruptions. Because of the sticky (viscous) nature of their lava, the volcano typically has a tall, cone-shaped profile before cooling down below the surface.

Mount St Helens, a stratovolcano in the United States, famously erupted in May 1980. An explosive lateral blast occurred when a strong earthquake caused a massive landslide that collapsed the northern face of the mountain. This reduced pressure and allowing the volcano to explode from its side. © Harry Glicken, USGS/CVO via Wikimedia Commons

The most catastrophic eruption in European history is thought to have occurred in 79 AD when the still-active stratovolcano Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted violently. It may have killed more than 16,000 people in total.

Its pyroclastic flow destroyed a number of settlements, the most well-known of which was the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. A highly heated mixture of ash, gases, and other volcanic materials known as pyroclastic flow travels quickly down the volcano’s flank. Â.

This eruption was Plinian in nature, with fast-moving magma and gas jets erupting from the volcano. These eruptions have the potential to last for several days and produce a 55-kilometer-tall plume of superheated gas and ash.

Another active stratovolcano in Italy is Stromboli, although it behaves differently from Vesuvius. For two millennia, this island volcano has been displaying an eruption pattern. Fire fountains are regular, mildly explosive magma eruptions that happen anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours apart. Known as strombolian eruptions, these kinds of eruptions are produced by other volcanoes worldwide, including Mount Erebus in Antarctica.

A gouache painting by Mauton of Mount Vesuvius erupting in 1836. courtesy of Wellcome Collection, Public Domain

Although they can still reach very high altitudes, shield volcanoes are typically not as tall as stratovolcanoes. Olympus Mons is a shield volcano on the planet Mars. The largest volcano in the solar system, standing at a height of approximately 25 kilometers and a diameter of 624 meters,

Instead of being known for their explosive eruptions, shield volcanoes are typically known for their lava flows and fountains. Runny (low viscosity) lava from shield volcanoes travels farther than stickier lava from stratovolcanoes. These volcanoes’ expansive, gently sloping sides are the result of the flowing lava.

Mauna Kea is a dormant shield volcano in Hawaii. Its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii, at 4,207 metres above sea level © Nula666 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Shield volcanoes are found at the boundaries of tectonic plates, usually on hot spots that cross them. The most well-known are the volcanoes in Hawaii, including Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and KŬ«auea.

Other volcanoes around the world also exhibit gentle Hawaiian eruptions. Lava fountains from this kind of eruption can reach heights of hundreds of meters and move at up to 100 meters per second.

Tiny volcanoes formed of loose volcanic material are called cinder cones. The majority can grow on the flanks of larger volcanoes and have a brief life. Usually, a single vent’s violent eruption or lava fountain forms them.

Among the most well-known is Parícutin, a volcano that emerged out of nowhere in 1943 in Michoacán, Mexico, a cornfield. The volcano continued to grow as a result of its strombolian eruptions, which stopped in 1952. It had reached 300 metres tall.

For the first time, volcanologists were able to record a volcano’s entire life cycle at Parícutin. Â.

The cinder cone volcano, Parícutin, erupting in 1943 © Bodil Christensen via Wikimedia Commons

Supervolcanoes are the largest and most explosive volcanoes on Earth, though this term isn’t officially recognized by science. These massive volcanoes create enormous calderas, which are volcanic craters created when the volcano collapses due to an eruption that emptied the magma chamber below.

Among the most well-known is Yellowstone in the United States, a caldera spanning roughly 72 by 55 kilometers. The Yellowstone supervolcano last erupted around 630,000 years ago. Â.

Geothermal activity on the Yellowstone supervolcano is well known, and it takes the form of hot springs, fumaroles, and geysers.

There are around 20 known supervolcano sites around the world. About 26,500 years ago, the Taupo volcano in New Zealand experienced its most recent supereruption.

It is also believed that a two to three degree global temperature drop brought on by the eruption of the Indonesian supervolcano Toba some 73,000 years ago resulted in a five to seven year volcanic winter. The evolution of the human species may have been significantly impacted by this eruption.

Fill out the form below if you have any urgent questions you’d like answered about science or nature, and we’ll work with our scientists to provide answers, some of which you can find in our online magazine Discover or on our YouTube channel.

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How to make a Volcano DIY Science Experiment!!!


What is the best way to make a baking soda volcano?

Mix vinegar, dish soap, a few drops of water, and a few drops of red food coloring in a plastic cup. Add 1 teaspoon ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda into a small, empty plastic cup. Place this cup into the volcano crater. Quickly pour vinegar mixture into the ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda cup in the crater.

Is baking soda volcano safe?

The chemical reaction between baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) produces carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles in dishwashing detergent. The chemicals are non-toxic (though not tasty), making this project a good choice for scientists of all ages.

How to do a baking soda and vinegar volcano scientific method?

Adding lemon juice and vinegar to baking soda can result in a chemical reaction known as an acid-base reaction. In this reaction, the acid (lemon juice or vinegar) reacts with the base (baking soda) to produce carbon dioxide gas, which can cause a “volcano” to erupt.

How do you make a baking soda volcano?

As the carbon dioxide gas is produced, pressure builds up inside the plastic bottle, until—thanks to the detergent—the gas bubbles out of the mouth of the volcano. Start by making the cone of your baking soda volcano by mixing 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil, and 2 cups of water.

How do you make a homemade volcano?

In a clean plastic cup, combine 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of water. Use a spoon to mix the slurry thoroughly. As quickly as possible, add your baking soda slurry to the bottle and watch your volcano explode. Give these two homemade volcano experiments a try and see which one creates a cooler explosion!

How do you make a volcano dough?

Start by making the dough: Mix together 3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Either work the dough with your hands or stir it with a spoon until the mixture is smooth. If you like, you can add a few drops of food coloring to the dough to make it volcano-colored.

How do you make a volcano with ketchup?

The acidity of the vinegar and tomatoes in the ketchup reacts with the baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas, which gets trapped as bubbles by the detergent. Mix together ketchup, warm water, and a squirt of detergent to make lava. Pour the mixture into the volcano so it is nearly full. When you are ready for the eruption, add baking soda.

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