How to Make a DNA Model at Home

There is no better way to make biology interesting for kids than bringing it home in their lives. Instead of treating it like a task, we shall look at a fun way of making your own DNA model at home. This will make the subject much more approachable to kids and will help remove their apprehensions.


  • licorice sticks – (½ – ¾) package
  • small gum drops, colored – 1 pack
  • toothpicks – 10-20


  • What we are going to do is make the twisting ladder which resembles DNA in microscopic level. For this we start with few toothpicks and at least 4 different colored gum drops.
  • We will use the licorice sticks to show the bond between the 2 strands that is made up of sugar and phosphate whereas the gum drops on the rungs of the ladder will represent the nitrogen that is contained in the bases.
  • DNA contains 4 bases. We have Adenine, Guanine, Thymine and Cytosine. The pairing that is present in DNA is as follows – Cytosine pairs with Guanine and Thymine pairs with Adenine. We should assign particular colors to each of the bases and note down the color key on paper somewhere.
  • Using the toothpick, we can place the gum drop on the ends of the licorice sticks.
  • Now, we place very close to the licorice gum the gum drops leaving enough room for another licorice stick which represents another DNA strand. To the ends of each licorice stick, we are going to attach the toothpicks.
  • Now alternate the pairing and build the second DNA strand. For this, you simply have to refer the color key and use the pair that was not used for the previous strand.
  • Doing this continually builds a double helix ladder. Now, we start getting something representing a DNA model.
  • Once you have sufficient number of base pairs, you can stop.
  • Now, you simply have to twist the ladder in the counter clockwise direction till you get the desired shape.

Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Daniel Sherwin holds a degree in Chemistry and plans to be a scientist sometime soon. He finds himself very close to the nature. Currently, he is living in New York, USA.

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