How to Make a Soda Bottle Volcano

Three Methods:Using the Soda and Mentos MethodDesigning the VolcanoUsing the Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

Making a soda-bottle volcano is a classic science experiment that doubles as a great excuse to make an explosive mess. There are multiple combinations of materials that will lead to a fun explosion. Two of the classic soda-bottle volcanos are made with soda and Mentos (which can produce eruptions of up to 18 feet if done correctly) or baking soda and vinegar combo. Gathering a few household items can lead to a fun afternoon of volcanic explosions in the backyard.

Method 1
Using the Soda and Mentos Method

  1. 1
    Gather the necessary materials. To make this type of volcano, you will need a two-liter bottle of cola, a roll of Mentos brand candy mints, and a large open area. Diet cola appears to work better than regular soda (it’s also less sticky than regular soda). Sodas with caramel color look more like ‘lava’ when they erupt as compared to clear lemon-lime sodas.[1]
    • This experiment is best done outside, but if you must be inside, lay down a large plastic tarp first.
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    Position the volcano in a large, outdoor area and open the soda bottle. Avoid doing this experiment inside, as it will create a huge, sticky mess. Make sure your outdoor area is also uncovered since the soda can erupt quite high. Remove the cap from the soda bottle.
    • Warn any spectators to stand back.
  3. 3
    Prepare a whole roll of Mentos to drop into the bottle. When Mentos come in contact with the soda, a reaction occurs that causes the carbon dioxide gas in the soda to push the liquid out of the bottle. The more Mentos you drop in all at once, the greater the eruption; however, this can be difficult.[2] There are a couple of different ways to deliver the Mentos into the bottle.
    • Method 1: Make a paper tube the size of the bottle neck. Place an index card over the bottle mouth, place the tube over the hole, and fill it with Mentos. When you are ready to erupt, you will slide the card out, releasing the Mentos into the bottle.[3]
    • Method 2: Loosely scotch tape the entire roll of Mentos together. When it’s time, you will drop the taped chain directly into the open bottle.
    • Method 3: Insert into the bottle a funnel with a mouth that is wide enough to allow the Mentos to pass, but small enough to fit inside the neck of the bottle. You will drop the Mentos through the funnel and remove the funnel once the Mentos are in the bottle.
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    Release the Mentos into the bottle and run. Getting all the Mentos to fall in the bottle simultaneously is quite hard. If done incorrectly, the volcano will only rise a few inches or so. Practice getting the Mentos to drop simultaneously a few times before wasting your bottle of soda. Once the Mentos drop into the bottle, run a few feet away to observe the eruption!
    • If using the paper tube method, remove the card holding the Mentos in place and let them all slide into the bottle at one time.
    • If using the tape method, simply drop the piece of taped-together Mentos into the mouth of the bottle.
    • If using the funnel, drop all the Mentos into the funnel at the same time. Remove the funnel once they’re all in and run back.

Method 2
Designing the Volcano

  1. Image titled Make a Soda Bottle Volcano Step 9
    Find a base for your volcano. This can be a plastic cutting board, a piece of scrap wood, or any other sturdy, flat surface that can be spared for a while. Avoid cardboard, as it will likely be too flimsy to support your project.
    • If you’re working with scrap material, consider decorating the base to look like a flat landscape. You may want to paint it, cover it with moss, apply green felt to indicate grass, attach miniature trees, etc.
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    Attach a full, unopened, 2-liter soda bottle to the base. Since you will build the volcano around the bottle, be sure place it where in the center of the base. How you attach it will depend on what your base is. If it’s a kitchen cutting board, place a lump of clay or Play-Doh on the board and lightly crush the bottle into it for a loose hold. If you’re using scrap wood, use a plastic/wood adhesive.
    • A caramel-colored soda will probably look the most like lava when your volcano erupts, so avoid clear drinks. Both diet and regular soda work for this experiment, but diet soda erupts higher.
    • If gluing the bottle, let the bottle reach room temperature. A cold, sweating soda bottle will never glue properly. Avoid using hot glue, which might melt the bottle and make a mess.
    • If you’re doing a vinegar and baking soda volcano, you will attach an empty bottle to the board.
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    Build the volcano around the bottle. For a textured look, shape some chicken wire into a lumpy, mountainous cone around the bottle. Cover the chicken wire with papier mâché. An alternative to papier mâché is to sculpt some clay around the bottle. For a more solid look, shape appropriately-colored play-dough or clay around the bottle.
    • Avoid covering the cap of the bottle or you won’t be able to activate the volcano. Ensure you have access to the opening so you can add Mentos or baking soda for the eruption!
  4. 4
    Paint the volcano. After you have let the papier mâché dry, paint it with acrylic paint (which will also help form a moisture seal over the surface). Use shades of brown and orange around the top and add some green to look like grass.
    • You may even want to press pebbles, dirt, and moss into the surface to give it a more natural appearance.

Method 3
Using the Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

  1. 1
    Gather the necessary materials. For this volcano, you will need 400 mL of vinegar, 200 mL of water, a squirt of dishwashing liquid, a large spoonful of baking soda, an empty 2-liter soda bottle, and red food coloring.[4]
    • Do a little experimentation to find the proper amounts of each material to get the size of eruption you want.
    • You can use a smaller plastic bottle, but will have to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
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    Combine vinegar, water, and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Use red-wine vinegar for the best lava coloring. Alternatively, you can also add red or orange food coloring to white vinegar. The liquid soap breaks the surface tension of water, therefore creating a larger eruption.
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    Place the volcano on a plastic-covered table or over a linoleum floor. This method won’t make as big a mess as the Mentos method, but you definitely don’t want to have to scrub the results out of a carpet or rug.
    • If the weather is agreeable, place the volcano outside.
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    Add a spoonful of baking soda to the mixture. The baking soda will react with the vinegar mixture and cause your volcano to erupt! If you want a larger explosion increase the amount of vinegar and baking soda used.[5]


  • If you drink soda and then eat Mentos, do not worry at all; the acid in your mouth and stomach will stop it from reacting with the soda in your belly.
  • Don't use a 3- or 1-liter bottle, as the neck-to volume-ratio is too large. A 3-liter bottle results in about a 6-inch tall fountain and a 1-liter bottle it will just foam over the top.
  • Stay away from the immediate area after starting the volcano. It will get messy.

Things You'll Need

Volcano and Base

  • Scrap wood or cutting board for a base
  • Play dough or clay
  • Alternatively, papier mâché
    • Chicken wire
    • Strips of paper
    • White craft glue
    • Water
    • Acrylic paint

Soda and Mentos Method

  • 2-liter bottle of soda (diet is preferable)
  • Roll or box of Mentos (mint works best)
  • A funnel, two index cards, or scotch tape

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

  • Empty 2-liter bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Red-wine vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Food coloring

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