How to Make a Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano at Home

diy volcano science experiment

Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images

  • Working Time: 11 - 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes - 2 hours
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly
  • Estimated Cost: $3-5

Building a baking soda volcano in your kitchen is a fun science project that has the added "wow" factor of an explosion (without really having anything explode).

It's great for a rainy day, a summer day, or any day you're trying to show your kids just how cool science can be. Here's how it's done:

What You'll Need


  • 3 to 7 cups warm water
  • Red food coloring
  • 5 drops dishwashing detergent
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups white vinegar


  • Empty soda bottle (2-liter or 20-ounce depending on how big you want your volcano)
  • Baking pan or large tray
  • Funnel


  1. Create Your Volcano Structure

    Place the plastic bottle in a baking pan or large tray and mold your volcano around it.

    For a quick and easy alternative, reach for the play dough and let the kids use their creativity to mold the volcano. If you have a bit more time—or would like to keep the kids entertained longer—use paper-mache or clay (try making these fun materials yourself using dryer lint), or make your own play dough with a few simple ingredients.

    Simple DIY Play Dough Recipe


    • 6 cups of flour
    • 2 cups of salt
    • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 cups lukewarm water

    Mix all ingredients together until you get a moldable consistency—smooth and firm.

    Keep in mind that clay and paper-mache will need time to dry, but they should create a sturdy structure that will also be fun to paint.

    Whichever technique you choose to create your volcanic cone, be sure to keep the bottle opening free of material. Use the bottle cap or cover the opening with tape to prevent any material from getting in the bottle.

  2. Load Your Volcano

    science fair project
    Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images

    Using the funnel, fill the bottle two-thirds full with warm water and a few drops of food coloring.

    Add the dishwashing detergent and baking soda to the liquid in the bottle and give it a gentle stir.

  3. Prepare for the Explosion

    Before adding the final ingredient, make sure that you're wearing some sort of protection over your eyes. Keep your face away from the volcano as the mixture may shoot up quite a bit, especially if you used a smaller bottle.

    As precisely as possible (without using the funnel), pour the vinegar into the bottle and get ready for your miniature-sized volcanic eruption.

    Fun Fact

    Baking soda and vinegar mixed together produce carbon dioxide gas, which bubbles up (with the help of detergent) and forces the "lava" to erupt.


The same ingredients can be used for a few different versions of this volcanic experiment.

In this simple variation, you'll mix the baking soda with water to make a slurry which will be added at the end (you'll need a clean plastic cup and a spoon to mix it).

You'll also be using a smaller bottle, so the explosion will seem bigger. Be sure to place your volcano in a large tray to contain the mess or make this an outdoor activity. Eye protection is especially important.


  1. Mold your volcano around a 20-ounce soda bottle. (Follow step 1 above to create your volcano structure.)
  2. Mix 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of warm water, a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, and a few drops of food coloring. Add this mixture to the bottle in your volcano.
  3. 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.
  4. 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! And to turn this experience into a complete science lesson, check out Why Do Volcanoes Erupt?