How to Make Artificial Smoke Without Fire

Updated February 21, 2017

Artificial smoke can be an addition to a child's volcano science project or as a special effects for a party. Dry ice and water is a common combination for making artificial smoke. The dry ice reacts with the water to create waves of smoke. There are safety precautions to keep in mind while handling dry ice. Using dry ice carefully can limit injuries to allow more time to focus on creating artificial smoke for a project.

Fill the bowl with water. The container should be no more than half full.

Put on the leather gloves. Leather is ideal, but insulated gloves can also protect hands. You could also use tongs when handling dry ice so you will not have to touch it with your hands. Dry ice can burn skin. Never allow skin or clothing to come in contact with the dry ice.

Add a couple of pieces of dry ice to the water. Check on the container every five or 10 minutes to check the smoke. Add more pieces of dry ice as needed. Plug in a fan and use it to move the smoke in the desired direction.

Practice making the smoke until you have perfected the correct ratio of water to dry ice to make the smoke effect you need.

Position the container where you want the smoke to flow from when you are ready to create smoke.


Use an orange light bulb in a small desk lamp to create the appearance of flames. Position the lamp behind the smoke.


Only use dry ice in a well-ventilated area. The carbon dioxide released by dry ice moves out any air in the room, which can make breathing difficult or even impossible. Store dry ice in a well-insulated container. The lid should be placed on, but not too tight. The carbon dioxide produced by dry ice can build up inside a well-sealed container and cause it to explode.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Leather or insulated gloves
  • Tongs (optional)
  • Dry Ice
  • Small fan (optional)
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About the Author

Meredith Burgio began writing professionally in 2010. She has written for "VOX" magazine, "RELEVANT Magazine" and "Jefferson City Magazine." Burgio has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.