How to Make Smoke With Mineral Oil

Written by michael davidson
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How to Make Smoke With Mineral Oil
Mineral oil can be used to create smoke, but should be done with caution. (smoke image by Oleg Tarasov from

Smoke has many different uses. It is frequently used for special effects purposes in film and live shows. It can also be used to flag down an aircraft if someone is lost in a secluded place. Many different substances can be used to create smoke, and one such substance is mineral oil. While mineral oil smoke should not be inhaled since it can cause respiratory problems, it can create a thick smoke when needed and it is easy to create.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Heating element
  • Mineral oil
  • Ear dropper
  • Wick

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  1. 1

    Heat up your heating element. There are many different options for this. A flame held under a metal spoon can work for a small amount of smoke, but you need to be careful not to burn the hand holding the spoon since heat will travel down the entire object. A frying pan on a stove is usable for a larger amount, however mineral oil is not recommended for indoor smoke due to poor ventilation.

  2. 2

    Fill a dropper with mineral oil as the element is heating.

  3. 3

    Squeeze drops of mineral oil out of the dropper and onto the metal plate of the heating element. The drops should quickly start to smoke; add more as needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Mineral oil can be used in many smoke machines temporarily to create smoke, but it may damage the machine in the long run by clogging it.
  • You can also soak a wick in mineral oil and light the wick to get a smoke effect.
  • Only burn mineral oil for smoke in very well-ventilated areas.

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