How to Make Real Snow

Make Snow Yourself

Got a garden hose or pressure washer with a spray mister? If the temperature is cold enough, you can make snow yourself!
Got a garden hose or pressure washer with a spray mister? If the temperature is cold enough, you can make snow yourself. imagenavi / Getty Images

If you want snow, but Mother Nature won't cooperate, you can take matters into your own hands and make snow yourself! This is the homemade version of real water ice snow, just like the snow that falls from the sky except without the need for clouds.

What You Need to Make Snow

You need the same things found in nature: water and a cold temperature. You turn the water into snow by dispersing it into particles small enough to freeze in the cold air.

  • water
  • pressure nozzle

There is a handy snowmaking weather tool that will tell you whether you have the proper conditions for making snow. In some climates, the only way you'll be able to make snow is if you chill a room indoors (or you can make fake snow), but much of the world can make snow at least a few days out of the year.

About the Pressure Nozzle for Making Snow

You have several options here:

  • pressure washer (own or rent, use a fine mist nozzle or else use a nozzle specially designed for producing snow)
  • snow cannon (not affordable to buy, but can be rented)
  • garden hose with a snow attachment (make less snow per hour than the pressure washer or snow cannon, but still fun)

How to Make Snow

Basically, all you need to do is spray a fine mist of water into the air so that it cools down enough to freeze into water ice or snow. There's a technique to this.

  • You'll get much better results if you point your water spray upward at a 45° angle rather than straight up. The amount of air you get mixed in with the water makes a difference, so you want to maximize this.
  • You also want the water to be as cold as possible, so water from a cold stream will work better than, say, heated water from your home.
  • The water from a stream or river also has the advantage of containing impurities which can act as nucleation sites to provide a surface on which snow crystals can grow. It's also possible to add what is called a 'nucleating agent' to your water which will accomplish the same purpose, essentially allowing you to produce snow at slightly warmer temperatures. The nucleating agent typically is a non-toxic polymer.

    You only need a few hours of cold to make a lot of snow. The snow will last longer if the temperature stays cold, but it will take a while to melt even if it warms up. Have fun!