How to Make a Homemade Fog Machine with Dry Ice

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Whether you're putting on a theater production, a Halloween show or making a low-budget movie, dry ice lets you make a non-toxic fog machine at home. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It's much colder than normal ice made of frozen water, and when placed in hot water it produces a lot of smoke that then sinks to the ground and can be blown in whatever direction you like.

How to Make a Homemade Fog Machine with Dry Ice
(Betty Hsu/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Dry ice
  • Gloves or tongs
  • Goggles
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Hot water
  • Fan
Step 1

Fill your bucket or any other waterproof container almost full of hot water. Don't fill it all the way, because you don't want it to overflow when you add the dry ice.

Betty Hsu/Demand Media
Step 2

Place a piece of dry ice in the hot water. Handle it with gloves, tongs or both, and make sure that you put it in the water carefully as opposed to dropping it. You don't want it to splash.

Betty Hsu/Demand Media
Step 3

Arrange the fan so that it blows the smoke created by the melting dry ice in the appropriate direction.

Betty Hsu/Demand Media
Step 4

Replenish the hot water as it cools and add more dry ice as it melts to keep the fog machine going. The larger the chunk of dry ice you put into the water, the longer it will last.

Betty Hsu/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear gloves and eye protection when working with dry ice.
  • Never handle dry ice with your bare hands. It can cause frostbite.
  • Melting dry ice releases carbon dioxide, which in some situations may pose an asphyxiation hazard. Always use a homemade fog machine with dry ice in a well-ventilated area.
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