Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Volcanos: Part I

I mentioned last week the special project that Stonewall, Skywalker, and I have been working on. Well, here it is. Stonewall was asking about Volcanoes one day. We looked some information up on the Internet, saw video of eruptions, saw diagrams of the volcanic layers, and talked about lava and magma. Then, being a super-cool mom, I suggested that we MAKE a volcano. (I know, I know, what was I thinking!) Of course, once I'd said it, there was no going back. Stonewall and Skywalker were soooooooooooo excited.
We went to the corner gas station and bought about 10 old newspapers and went to work. Here's our materials list:
1 empty 2-Liter bottle
Old newspaper torn into long strips
old newspaper and old walmart bags balled up
4 cups flour
8 cups water
craft paint
Mod Podge or Spray Clear Gloss Sealant
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tbsp dish soap
red food coloring
1 cup vinegar

To start, I had an old 2 Liter bottle of Coke in the fridge. I gave up cokes about 2 1/2 months ago, but bought one when we were expecting visitors evacuating from hurricane Gustav. Our visitors never came, and I have been having great will power NOT to open it. (You have NO IDEA how hard it's been!) Anyway, pour out the coke, or wait until you'be finished it. Rinse it out, keep the cap on it, and place it int he center of a large piece of cardboard or plywood. Tape the bottle down so it won't move. (As you can see, I did not have any cardboard or plywood, so I used the lid of an old plastic storage bin that we weren't using anymore)
Tape balled up bags and newspaper around the bottle, resembling a cone shape. (You can also use metal screening or chicken wire for the form, but who has that kind of stuff just lying around?) Once you have a general shap, it's time to make the paper mache!
Mix flour and water, stirring until there are no lumps. Then, (this is best to do outside) dip the strips of paper into the flour paste, lift out, and using your fingers, remove excess paste from the paper strips, apply, overlapping onto structure, forming craggy rock shapes as you apply the strips around the volcano. Once you have the stucture fully covered, sit in sun and allow to dry (may require overnight drying). Apply a second and third layer, drying fully in between.
Now you are ready to paint! Give the kids paintbrushes, a couple of shades of brown paint, and let them have at it. You may need to fill in the gaps they leave. Once it's fully painted, allow to dry again. Then, give it a clear coat of glossy sealant spray paint, or a coat of Mod Podge to fully seal it. Allow clear coat to dry. (In case you are wondering about the blue, I asked Rev to go buy us the clear coat enamel spray paint for the volcano Monday while I was at work. When I went to spray the volcano, it came out blue ?! So, we gave the volcano a "stream" going down the side, and went to Walmart to get the right paint.)

Now, you're ready to erupt! Mix the baking soda, red food coloring, and dish soap into a paste, you may need to thin with a little water. Pour/spoon the paste into the empty bottle/volcano. Then, pour the vinegar in and stand back!

Now, I have to admit, we were a little disappointed with the eruption. I think it was because the bottle was so big. . .maybe if we had used a 20 oz bottle instead of a 2 Liter, it would have been more powerful. We really only saw alot of red bubbles coming out.
Later this week, we're going to retry with a different lava, so stay tuned, and I'll post those results when I can.

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