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How To Make A Water Tornado In A Bottle


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Adora Carrick



Welcome to the fascinating world of creating a water tornado in a bottle! This simple and exhilarating experiment is a great way to explore the wonders of fluid dynamics and learn about the principles of vortex formation. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or just looking for a fun activity to do at home, making a water tornado in a bottle is sure to captivate your imagination.


In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating a water tornado in a bottle. We’ll provide a list of materials you’ll need, along with detailed instructions on how to set up and perform the experiment. Get ready to witness the swirling motion of water, the mesmerizing formation of a vortex, and the sheer beauty of this captivating phenomenon.


Not only is this experiment entertaining, but it also offers a valuable educational experience. You’ll gain insights into the physics behind fluid dynamics, as well as the concept of kinetic energy and angular momentum. Plus, it’s a fantastic hands-on activity for kids, teaching them about science concepts in a fun and engaging way.


So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of water tornadoes in a bottle. Get ready for a whirlwind of excitement and discovery!


Materials Needed

Before we begin, let’s gather all the materials required to create a water tornado in a bottle. Make sure you have the following items:

  1. A clear plastic bottle with a tight-fitting cap – Choose a bottle with a capacity of at least 16 ounces (473 ml) to allow enough space for the vortex formation.
  2. Water – Fill the bottle with water, preferably using tap water.
  3. Dish soap – Choose a liquid dish soap that is clear and free of any added colors or fragrances.
  4. Glitter or food coloring (optional) – Adding some glitter or a few drops of food coloring can enhance the visual effect of the water tornado.

That’s it! With these simple materials, you’ll be ready to create your very own water tornado in a bottle. Now, let’s move on to the step-by-step instructions.


Step 1: Filling the Bottle

The first step in creating a water tornado in a bottle is to fill the bottle with water. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Remove the cap from the plastic bottle.
  2. Place the bottle under a running tap or use a funnel to pour water into the bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle about three-quarters full with water. Leaving some empty space at the top is crucial for the vortex formation.
  4. Carefully screw the cap back onto the bottle, ensuring it is tightly sealed.

It’s important to note that the amount of water needed may vary depending on the size of the bottle. The key is to leave some empty space at the top to allow for the swirling motion of the water.


Once you have successfully filled the bottle with water, you’re ready to move on to the next step: adding soap and glitter. So let’s continue our journey to create a captivating water tornado!


Step 2: Adding Soap and Glitter

In this step, we will add soap and glitter to the bottle to enhance the visual effect of the water tornado. Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Remove the cap from the bottle to reveal the opening.
  2. Squeeze a small amount of clear liquid dish soap into the bottle. A tablespoon or two should be sufficient. The soap will help create bubbles and increase the visibility of the swirling water.
  3. If desired, you can add a pinch of glitter or a few drops of food coloring to the bottle. This will add a touch of sparkle and create a mesmerizing effect as the water spins.
  4. Once you have added the soap and glitter, securely screw the cap back onto the bottle.

Make sure the cap is tightly sealed to prevent any water from leaking out during the experiment. The soap and glitter will mix with the water when the bottle is shaken, enhancing the visual impact of the vortex formation.


With the soap and glitter added, your bottle is now prepared for the exciting part: creating the water tornado! Let’s move on to the next step and witness the swirling motion unfold before our eyes.


Step 3: Creating the Tornado

Now that the bottle is filled and prepared with soap and glitter, it’s time to create a mesmerizing water tornado. Follow these steps to bring the tornado to life:

  1. Hold the bottle firmly with one hand, ensuring that the cap is tightly sealed.
  2. With the bottle in an upright position, begin swirling the water in a circular motion. Start off slowly and gradually increase the speed of your movements.
  3. As you swirl the bottle, you will notice a vortex forming in the water. This is the water tornado taking shape!
  4. Continue swirling the bottle for a few moments, allowing the tornado to gain strength and momentum.
  5. Observe the swirling motion of the water and the mesmerizing effect of the soap and glitter. You have now successfully created a water tornado in a bottle!

It’s important to note that the speed and direction of your swirling motion will affect the size and stability of the tornado. Experiment with different techniques to discover the most impressive results.


Now that you have created the water tornado, it’s time to take a moment to observe and experiment with your creation. Let’s dive into the next step to unleash the full potential of this captivating phenomenon!


Step 4: Observing and Experimenting

Now that you have successfully created a water tornado in a bottle, it’s time to observe its fascinating properties and conduct your own experiments. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Observe the Temperature Effect: Try using cold water versus warm water to determine if the temperature has an impact on the tornado’s stability and formation. Take note of any differences you observe.
  2. Experiment with Bottle Size: Use bottles of different sizes and shapes to see if it affects the size and strength of the water tornado. Compare results and note any variations.
  3. Vary the Speed: Explore how the speed of your swirling motion affects the tornado’s appearance. Does a faster or slower swirling motion produce a stronger and more defined tornado?
  4. Add Different Liquids: Instead of plain water, mix in other liquids such as colored water, oil, or even soda. Observe how these different substances affect the tornado’s behavior.
  5. Try Different Soap Types: Experiment with different types of liquid soap or dishwashing detergent to observe their impact on the formation and stability of the tornado.

Keep in mind that safety is crucial during experimentation. Ensure proper adult supervision, especially when handling materials or conducting experiments involving heat or chemicals.


By observing and experimenting with your water tornado, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of fluid dynamics, the principles of vortex formation, and the impact of various factors on the behavior of the tornado.


Remember, the joy of science lies in exploring and discovering. So, unleash your curiosity and have fun with your water tornado experiments!



Creating a water tornado in a bottle is not only a thrilling and visually captivating experience but also a fantastic way to learn about fluid dynamics and scientific principles. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ve successfully embarked on a journey to explore the wonders of the natural world from the comfort of your own home.


Throughout this experiment, you’ve observed the formation of a vortex, learned about the impact of different variables such as temperature, bottle size, and swirling speed on the tornado’s behavior, and even experimented with various liquids and soap types. By engaging in these activities, you’ve gained an understanding of fluid dynamics, kinetics, and the relationship between motion and energy.


Remember, the joy of science lies not only in the final result but also in the process of exploration and discovery. As you continue to experiment with your water tornado, feel free to unleash your creativity and develop new ideas for observation and experimentation.


Creating a water tornado in a bottle is just the beginning of your scientific journey. As you expand your knowledge and curiosity, you can explore other exciting experiments and delve deeper into the world of science.


So, gather your materials, follow the steps, and let the water tornado in a bottle mesmerize and inspire you. Enjoy the wonders of fluid dynamics and continue your scientific exploration with enthusiasm and curiosity!