We’re Open Today
10:00am to 5:00pm

Model Viruses



What do I need?: 
  • Play-dough
  • q-tips
  • pipe cleaners
  • ziplock bag
  • scissors


What do I do?: 

We'll use the image below of a Corona virus as a template to create our model.


Spikes - help stick to surfaces.

Lipid Bilayer - act as the outer 'walls' of the virus.

Capsid - provides protection to the genetic material.

Genetic Material - the 'blueprint' of the virus.


  1. Use play-dough to make a hollowed ball about the size of a tennis ball. The play-dough will act as the body 'or lipid bilayer' of the virus.
  2. Cut the q-tips in half. Stick the q-tips on the outer surface of the play-dough ball. The q-tips will act as the Spikes of the virus.
  3. Place a pipe cleaner in a ziplock bag. Place the bag in the center of the play-dough ball. The pipe cleaner act as the genetic information or blueprints while the bag act as the capsid.


What's going on?: 

Many diseases such as the common cold or COVID-19 are caused by viruses - these are tiny almost imperceptible beings that infect living beings to make more copies of themselves.


There are predominantly two kinds of shapes found amongst viruses: rods, or filaments, and spheres. The rod shape is due to the linear array of the nucleic acid and the protein subunits making up the capsid. The sphere shape is a 20-sided polygon