Volcano Virgin...dry Ice Question...does Size Matter :)

Decorating By drakegore Updated 23 Aug 2009 , 9:24pm by Doug

drakegore Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 4:04pm
post #1 of 9

thinking i would be making ben 10 or spiderman cake, i volunteered to make a birthday cake....what i got was a volcano. sheesh icon_eek.gif
not a hawaii volcano where i could make flowers and palm trees and get my cake thrills that way, but a "mad scientist" volcano....

what i need to know (and cannot find an answer to) is does the length and width of the container i put the water and dry ice in make a difference in the effect i get?

should i use a stubby cup or a long capped pvc pipe...or something altogether different? the cake itself is going to be about 14-16" high.

from looking at the gallery, i think i may be the only member who has not made one yet icon_biggrin.gif so i am hoping someone can help me.


8 replies
Brenda0217 Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 4:14pm
post #2 of 9

Sandra Lee from Semi Homemade made a volcano cake, and she used a tea light candle holder, and put the dry ice in and the water, just pushed it down in the top of the volcano a little bit so you could not see it and it looked wonderful. That might be an idea to help.

Brenda0217 Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 4:16pm
post #3 of 9

Was just here thinking the votive candle holders , the small glass ones that size is what she used.

Doug Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 7:24pm
post #4 of 9

PART I of the the effect depends upon...

amount of dry ice


amount of HOT water

a chuck of dry ice about the size of an ice cube put into 2 cups of boiling water will give a very big effect until the water cools (which happens faster than you think


PART II of the effect depends upon

the size and shape of the container

tall and narrow with a bit of empty space above the liquid forces smoke up higher.

wide and very little space and smoke just gently drifts off in all directions.

drakegore Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 8:06pm
post #5 of 9

hi doug,
that was just what i wanted to know!
i saw another email by you on dry ice when i searched the forum and hoped you would see this one, lol.
between this and my sugar lava, i am just going to have to put on "volcano by doug" sign on the cake icon_biggrin.gif
thank you again for all your help!

Doug Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 8:11pm
post #6 of 9

<------------ LOVES making things go boom, up in flames, etc.

now if you want a DOUG size effect.....

that can be accomplished too -- complete with oozing lava!....

of course -- it will be messy.

drakegore Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 8:32pm
post #7 of 9

i have a father and husband like that icon_lol.gif
more than once, my hubby has had no eyebrows...it's a look that has to grow on you...

the cake is for 6 year old boys...we are already doomed to be messy icon_rolleyes.gif
sooooo....how do you do "oozing" lava? the boys (including mine) would loooooooooooooooooooove it (the birthday boy's mom, maybe not so much).


addietx Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 8:35pm
post #8 of 9

My friend bought dry ice the day before her party and put it into her freezer as instructed by the business. The next day when she went to get it out of her freezer to put into her volcano, it had evaporated. I am not sure how much she bought but it was several pounds. I also heard that some freezers are damaged by dry ice.
So does anyone know how to store dry ice?

Doug Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 9:24pm
post #9 of 9

starting with the second question first...

booo --- on putting in freezer -- especially if it's frost free! -- that pretty much guarantees it will disappear (sublimate is the proper term) quickly.

rather -- leave in what ever packaging it came in. wrap in more layers of newspaper to insulate -- can even add a layer of aluminum foil first and then more paper.

put into a ice chest/cooler that is a "tight" fit -- very little extra space -- and then close and keep closed until needed -- no peeking! -- can even take extra precaution of putting in a foam cooler first and then into a plastic one. You'll be pleasantly surprised how long it will last this way -- no peeking!


as for oozing.... -- that requires some plumbing and if so inclined can be rigged to work of the dry ice.

really very simple -- get plastic tubing with an INSIDE diameter of at least 1/4" -- the thin wall clear works real well -- the kind that can be used with drinking water of course

you'll need a piece "long enough" -- this depends upon just how you rig the cake.
long enough to go from cake to the operator.

first - fill the last 12 inches or so of the tube with the "ooze" -- this is done by sucking on the opposite end of the tube just like it was a big straw and you trying to drink the world's thickest milk shake.

then cap the end you sucked on and push the tubing up into the cake --- can be through the back and up or cut a hole in the cake board and through that which makes it easier to hide "the workings"... be careful not to split cake -- stop tube just below surface of cake for best effect.

run tube to "the workings" which should be where the operator sits/stands/hides
if do through cake board and use a plastic table cloth and a table that has drop-in leafs, can pull table apart just enough to run tube through the plastic table cloth and the gap and have "the workings" hidden under the table. Operator can then be seated at table.

the workings can be:
> bicycle pump hooked to end of tube -- as you pump in air, the ooze oozes -- do this slowly

> any thing that can hold air and be forcibly compressed -- ear syringe, old-fashioned enema bag with tubing still attached -- key is forcibly (balloons won't work) and air tight so all the air goes into the tube -- and pressure can be applied slowly and evenly.

>somebody with strong lungs who just blows on the tube!

it's good old hydraulics in action -- air pressure forces the ooze out -- won't take much and at the end you'll get a nice satisfying spurt!

now -- if you want a tower of fog....

again a tube up through the cake -- this time go with at least a 1/2 (ok) to 1" (best) INSIDE diameter.

it goes down to a container you can seal air tight except for the hole the tube connects to.

container holds boiling water (if made of metal could be on a hot plate!) -- and has the dry ice suspended above the water in some type of porous container that is on a string so it can be lowered into the water (or raised out if needed too -- this can be fun -- first in -- big puff --out, it stops, get person to look right into the tube to see if can figure out why stopped and then drop the dry ice in again and puff then square in the kisser!) --

the key here -- can seal air tight -- and be able to control the lowering and raising of the dry ice.

if hubby is handy with metal working tools -- can adapt a pressure cooker to do this.
>get an old one with the nipple that had a solid weight that rested on it.
>drill out the nipple to accept a fitting that will hold the tubing securely -- I'd do this only with 1" inside diameter tubing.
>attach new fitting
>attach hose and clamp in place.
>fill about 1" to 2" deep with boiling water
>when ready for effect -- drop in dry ice, clamp on lid and wait just a few moments -- and there she blows. the pressure will not be great enough you have to worry about explosions. should last a good 30 sec to 1 min. (or more if you put a hot plate under the container.

(of course a doug size one would be straight from back stage -- 55 gal drum about 1/3 full of water on one of those big ol turkey fryer/clam steamer burners with the basket of clam steamer full of dry ice lowered in -- the hose for this size is your standard flexible dryer vent hose or similar)


and if want a real fire ball -- well that can be accomplished too and without using a firebreather like Buddy did.

that one is:

>a glass (MUST BE GLASS) funnel that has a top opening of about 2" and long glass stem (like in chem class)
>a long piece of plastic tubing that fits tightly on the stem
>about 1oz of Lycopodium powder (a HS chem teacher will have this)
>a flame source that can be positioned just above the funnel about 2" -- a big burning b-day candle should work nicely

simple to do --

funnel in and even with top of cake -- tube down through cake and out to "the blower"

light flame source.

blower BLOWS real hard and fast on tube


(the chem teachers -- chickens that they were -- always had me do the blowing -- I just love fireballs -- got one to roll across the ceiling of the classroom once! icon_lol.gif --- and then there was the chem teacher at my school who sounds like drakegore's husband and brunt his eyelashes, eyebrows and the front of his hair off!)

see these videos for the possibilities!!!

(and this kiddies is why grain elevators go BOOM!)

if replace funnel with tube with the powder in it get the flame thrower effect.

have fun!

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