Dry ice can be difficult and dangerous to work with, but if you understand the mechanics of how it works and safety precautions, you can make small amounts at home to decorate for a party or to keep things cold. If you need large amounts, it is best to purchase it from a store. Dry ice is created from compressed and frozen carbon dioxide, so although supplies are minimal, they can be difficult to obtain.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Protective gloves
- Protective eyewear
- Carbon dioxide extinguisher
- Cloth bag
- Duct tape
Make sure you wear your protective eyewear and gloves at all times. Dry ice is very dangerous if touched by bare skin. Set up your work area in a safe, covered place. Lay the cloth bag on a flat workspace.
Use the duct tape to firmly secure the opening of the bag to the nozzle of the carbon dioxide extinguisher. Set the bottom of the cloth bag back on the workspace.
Press down on the extinguisher level to release the carbon dioxide. Let it spray into the bag for about 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the tape from the bag and nozzle. This lets the carbon dioxide expand, then solidify, which is the reaction that creates dry ice. There should be a mound of snowlike substance in the bottom of the bag, misting. This is the dry ice.
Flip the bag upside down and let the dry ice slide out of the bag into a heavy duty container. If you put water on it, it will start to mist and hiss. You can place this under bowls of punch to keep cold and create an interesting effect for decoration.
Make sure to dispose of the dry ice outside whenever you are done. Remember, it is not safe to create large amounts of dry ice this way.
Tips and warnings
- Be extremely careful working around these substances and conditions.