How to Make Non-toxic Dry Ice Smoke or Fog

When you drop dry ice in water, it sublimates to form carbon dioxide gas. Place a colored light under the fog to produce a colored glow.
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All you need is dry ice and water to make cool, spooky fog or smoke. It's easy and happens instantaneously. Here's how to make dry ice fog and how to color it.

What You Need for Dry Ice Smoke

Look for dry ice in grocery stores (you may need to ask for it) or specialty gas stores. It's also possible to make homemade dry ice. The materials needed for this project are:

How to Make Fog

  1. This is so easy! Add chunks of dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) to hot water in a styrofoam or other insulated container.
  2. The fog will sink to the ground. You may use a fan on a low setting to move your "smoke."
  3. The water will cool, so you will need to refresh the hot water to maintain the effect.
  4. Room temperature matters. You will get the most fog in a cool room. Have fun!

How to Make Colored Smoke

The vapor that comes off of dry ice is white. Eventually, carbon dioxide gas mixes into the air and disappears. While you can't dye the smoke to produce colors, it's really easy to make it appear colored. Just add a colored light below the fog. It will illuminate it and make it appear to glow.

Useful Tips

  1. Dry ice is cold enough to give frostbite. Wear protective gloves when handling it.
  2. Larger chunks of dry ice will last longer than smaller ones. This is because the smaller pieces have more surface area, so they vaporize more readily.
  3. Be aware that extra carbon dioxide is being added to the air. Under some circumstances, this can present an asphyxiation hazard. Cool carbon dioxide vapor sinks before mixing with air, so the highest concentration will be near the floor.
  4. Sometimes inexpensive dry ice machines are available. Otherwise, check party supply stores and shipping companies for availability.
  5. Keep dry ice away from children, pets, and fools! Adult supervision is required.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Non-toxic Dry Ice Smoke or Fog." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). How to Make Non-toxic Dry Ice Smoke or Fog. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Non-toxic Dry Ice Smoke or Fog." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).