Paper Plate Volcano

As I was walking home from school drop-off, an idea for a paper plate volcano popped into my head. I have no idea why, as it's not like there's a volcano between our house and the middle school. When I got home, I whipped up my volcano. It came out exactly how I'd hoped and it was ridiculously fun to do the lava. I love my job. 

Paper Plate Volcano


  • paper plate
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • paint (grey, black, red, orange)
  • paintbrush
  • sponge
  • cotton ball


Use the scissors to cut a straight line to the center of the plate, then cut out a hole a little smaller than a dime. It does not need to be neat or exact. 

Overlap the cut ends of the plate to form a cone. Staple it to hold the shape.

Paint the volcano grey. 

Squirt some grey paint and black paint onto a surface. (I'd normally use my Frisbee, but I needed a second paper plate for another project, so I just used that.) Dip a dry sponge into the paint and pounce it all over the volcano. Repeat until the whole thing has a mottled look. 

There's no precision necessary. You're just trying to break up the grey and add the appearance of dimension.

Now comes the fun! Mix orange and red paint together to make lava. Dip the back of a paintbrush into the paint and drip it onto the top of the volcano. The paint should be thin enough to drip, but not so thin that it runs right down. I used Folk Art paint and the consistency was perfect right out of the bottle. You might need to adjust the consistency if your paint is too thick (add a tiny bit of water) or too thin (add a tiny bit of cornstarch slurry). 

Now walk away from your volcano. The paint will continue to run down and then will dry. You can always add more lava if there's not enough. 

When the volcano is completely dry, pull apart a bit of a cotton ball to make steam. Push it up from the inside of the volcano, then gently pull it out the top. It should be wedged in pretty well and will stay in place. If not, make your steam a little thicker or glue it in place. 

Anyone else in the mood for a Hawaiian vacation, or is it just me?


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