How to create fake smoke or steam

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to create fake smoke or steam
Dry ice bubbles and smokes as it dissolves in water. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide gas. Instead of melting, the ice turns back into a gas. The gas resembles smoke or steam as it dissipates into the air. Dry ice allows you to create smoke effects for plays or holidays. The smoke-like fog is especially suitable for Halloween haunted houses or parties. Dry ice is colder than ordinary ice made from water, so care is required when handling it to prevent injuries.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Heavy gloves
  • Goggles
  • Handsaw
  • Tongs
  • Bowl

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  1. 1

    Put on a pair of heavy work gloves and wear eye protection.

  2. 2

    Cut the dry ice into 0.907kg. chunks, using a handsaw. Pick up the chunks with a pair of tongs and separate them as you cut, otherwise they freeze back together.

  3. 3

    Set the dry ice inside a large plastic or metal container. Add 1 gallon of water to the container for every 0.907kg. of dry ice. The dry ice immediately produces a smoke or steam effect.

  4. 4

    Drain the water and replenish it with fresh hot water once the ice stops smoking. Continue to replace the water until the dry ice has completely dissolved.

Tips and warnings

  • Use dry ice to make a steaming punch bowl. Place a small bowl of dry ice and water into a large punch bowl. Pour the punch into the space between the punch bowl and the dry ice bowl. Do not allow the punch to mix with the dry ice in the centre.
  • Cover bowls of dry ice with chicken wire. The wire prevents anyone from accidentally reaching in and touching the dry ice but doesn't prevent the smoke from billowing out of the bowl.
  • Dry ice causes instant frostbite if it comes into contact with your skin.

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