A couple of weeks ago I made a paper mache volcano and erupted it during my book launch at the Paperchain Book Store in Manuka, Canberra. Why would I do this? Mr Haggardy's year 6 class all make their own volcanoes and attempt to erupt them in the first chapter of "Alien Shenanigans," The Bradberrie Brothers Alien Adventure, Book 2. I promised to perform the experiment while reading part of the first chapter at the launch. It was a lot of fun, although I do admit, owing to the nervousness of the manager of the bookstore, I kept the explosion somewhat more controlled than I (and my audience) would have preferred. Below are the instructions for how to make a paper mache volcano and how to consequently erupt it!
Beware! The more baking soda you use, the bigger the reaction!
The Making of a Paper Mache Volcano
- Find a suitable disposable plate to build your volcano on. (I used an aluminium pizza tray)
- Find a cylindrical tube you can use in the centre of your volcano to hold the liquids for your experiment. (For this I used an empty Berocca container)
- Gather strips of newspaper.
- Make glue from 1 cup flour, a little water and a pinch of salt to preserve volcano. Mix to a thick pancake like consistency.
- Place your cylinder in the middle of your plate start adding strips of newspaper dipped in paste. Continue to add layers until volcano takes shape. Sometimes I feel it is best to paint the strips of paper with the paste when on the volcano rather than dipping into the mixture. (This is less messy).
- Leave to dry. Depending on the weather this may take a few days. If it is cold, place in front of a fire to dry faster.
- Once fully dry and hardened, paint as desired.
Erupting A Paper Mache Volcano
You will need:
- Liquid Soap
- Food Colouring
- Baking Soda
- Fill centre of volcano halfway with water.
- Add a couple of drops of food colouring. (ie: red and yellow if you want orange lava)
- Add a few drops of liquid soap.
- Now fill the volcano almost to the top with vinegar.
- Add a heaped teaspoon of baking soda and stand back!