Introduction: Tornado in a Bottle

Picture of Tornado in a Bottle

Do you remember your 6th or 7th grade Science Class? yeah, me neither, but after some research in my "Old School Papers" I found out that we studied natural disasters, and one of them was tornadoes. First, a little information on a tornado:

"A tornado is a natural storm disaster created when a front of hot, humid air and a front of cool, dry air collide in the atmosphere. The warm air is pushed upward, which causes winds carrying water droplets to rotate into a vortex, speeding at up to 300 mph in the center. This spinning column of air and water droplets then begins to stretch between the earth and a convection cloud (made up of water droplets) to create a tornado. The water droplets form from the condensation of water vapor in the area within the funnel where there is low temperature and pressure. This makes the funnel visible to our eyes, because the large number of water droplets block out the sun's light, just like a thunder cloud." (

This little experiment shows the physical properties of a tornado on a small scale.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

To make a Bottled Tornado, you will need the following:

- two empty 2 or 3 litre bottles (cleaned)
- water


- a tornado tube
- ducktape
- washer
- lamp oil

Step 2: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Take your clean empty bottles, and fill one 2/3 full of water. Place the other bottle (empty) on to the coupler, or use duct-tape to connect the bottles together. Your done! Its a rather brain-dead process which anyone can do, but there is some technique to it as well.

To Make the Tornado:

- Quickly invert the lower bottle (full) to the top, and with a smooth circular motion, rotate the top bottle (full) to make the tornado.

Step 3: Optional Science Part

Picture of Optional Science Part

Okay, hopefully you plan on reading this the whole way through. This is where the optional-ness comes into play. Before pouring your water into the one bottle, pour some coloured lamp oil into it, and then add the water. The oil is more dense than the water, so they separate from each other instead of combining. Thus, when the tornado commences the oil will make up most of the tornado, b/c it is more dense than the water, and will be pulled down first.

You can also change how big the hole is in between the two bottles by swapping out washers. Experiment between large holes, small holes, even squares.

Step 4: Quick Video

Heres the video:


AbigailR17 (author)2017-05-23

I get the this video is privet

3103960 (author)2015-04-27

Where do i buy "tornado tubes"?

megb2786 (author)31039602017-04-13

at the bx

megb2786 made it! (author)2017-04-13

isnt it awesome

Wyle_E (author)2013-12-17

I get a "This video is private" message.

surfreak (author)2008-08-04

Oil is more dense than water?

bumpus (author)surfreak2008-08-05

Yes, Therefor the oil would be layered beneath the layer of water.

surfreak (author)bumpus2008-08-06

...I don't know what kind of oil you're using, but no true oil is more dense than water. Maybe it's not actually lamp oil, but some other compound?

guy198 (author)surfreak2011-02-10

yea i think you got things backwards oil is less dence thts why it floats

TragicSnowfall (author)bumpus2010-08-26

I've never seen oil that didn't rise to the surface, despite what the media might say.

wupme (author)bumpus2008-09-04

Sorry but thats wrong. The oil is less dense, and the oil layer is on top of the Water. You can even see that in your own picture....

white dough (author)2010-08-27

It's very beautiful :D

ren7624 (author)2009-11-18

haha ew.. its like a smaller version of a toilet..! haha

eonrobby (author)2009-09-10

how much lamp oil to water? can cooking oil work too?

Foehammer358 (author)eonrobby2009-10-20

yes,any oil will do.

it doesn't matter how much oil

2cool4u (author)2008-09-25

what's a tornado tube?

munchman (author)2cool4u2009-01-13

Essentialy a double ended cap with a hole in the middle. You can make your own (The traditional way to do this) By taking 2 bottle caps, punching a hole through the centre of each using a nail, then glue the caps back to back , secure them together with duct tape or similar.

2cool4u (author)munchman2009-06-14

thanks, but how does this work?

munchman (author)2cool4u2009-06-15

Not a clue, but it does.

cheska.che (author)2008-08-16

hmm... nice. it was just so easy.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-07-19

Haha, I see your Instructables Robot paper model.

blugyblug (author)2008-07-05

hmm.. i wanna make a REAL Tornado (small scale) with two fans and stuff.

firefighter1333 (author)2008-06-30

they're really cool until it started leaking...

Keith-Kid (author)2008-06-28

Great! I love making these! Nice picture in the intro! You should add it to step 4, so it looks better......That's just my opinion.......

bumpus (author)Keith-Kid2008-06-29

I'll do it later keith

GorillazMiko (author)2008-06-21

LOL at: Do you remember your 6th or 7th grade Science Class? yeah, me neither, but.....

Nice Instructable, I want to try this out.

Haha I just realized that bumpus made this because you replied to Killerj's comment.

+5/5 stars.
(added to favorites)

Also, can you add a video? That would be cool.

bumpus (author)GorillazMiko2008-06-21

Sure, no problem

GorillazMiko (author)bumpus2008-06-21

WELL, I'M WAITING!!!! Just kidding.

bumpus (author)GorillazMiko2008-06-21

well, my camera is charging, hold your horses

codongolev (author)2008-06-20

ahem, *duct* tape.

Labot2001 (author)codongolev2008-06-20

Duck brand duct tape.

codongolev (author)Labot20012008-06-20

do you specifically need duck brand?

Labot2001 (author)codongolev2008-06-20

No, I just think that was what he was referring too.

codongolev (author)Labot20012008-06-21

well, I think some people think it's actually pronounced "duck" tape, and they always say it that way.

killerjackalope (author)2008-06-21

Could you send me a few detailed pics of that tornado tube, they don't look too complicated... Also any luck finishing the logo thingy, I'm pretty intrigued by now...

bumpus (author)killerjackalope2008-06-21

Sure killer j, what for pics do you want? and its getting there (lack of photoshop)

killerjackalope (author)bumpus2008-06-21

I just want all round closeups of the tornado tube, to try and see if I can make my own...

=SMART= (author)2008-06-21

i have a mug with a little fan at the bottom to stir the drink, i upped the speed and now it makes one of these tornados when i use it :P

Kiteman (author)2008-06-20

I do these occasionally with my Science clubs, but we don't use tornado tubes.

We use a hot nail to melt holes in the caps of two bottles, then hot-glue them top-to-top, sometimes with duct-tape reinforcement.

They're not as pretty as the manufactured tube, but it means I can make twenty bottled tornadoes for almost nothing.

We also occasionally add a little glitter to the water, and one child once added a small picture of a cow, as a tribute to the film Twister.

bumpus (author)Kiteman2008-06-20

hahah, i was thinking about adding little train-set figurines...

Labot2001 (author)Kiteman2008-06-20

How old are your clubbers?

chooseausername (author)2008-06-20

I added your instructable into the Class-Room group =o)

bumpus (author)chooseausername2008-06-20


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