How to Make Stage Smoke

Written by robert taylor
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How to Make Stage Smoke
Stage smoke can be used for many types of shows. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Smoke can add a scary atmosphere to any scene in a stage production. While you often can find smoke generators for rent at costume supply companies and select party suppliers, the cost of renting and operating these machines may be prohibitive for your particular stage production. You can easily make non-toxic stage smoke with dry ice and a couple other items. This type of smoke is ideal for bubbling cauldrons and for spooky smoke billowing out of stage props such as skulls and doorways.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large plastic container
  • Dry Ice (at least 113gr.)
  • Water (at least 1/2 gal)
  • Small electric fan (optional)

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  1. 1

    Break dry ice into pieces. Pieces should weigh approximately 28.4gr.

  2. 2

    Pour water into large plastic container. Coolers make good containers, but any plastic container large enough to hold the water and dry ice will do.

  3. 3

    Add dry ice to water. The dry ice will start to bubble and produce smoke/fog immediately.

  4. 4

    Use a small fan to disperse smoke/fog. Experiment with placement of both the plastic container and fan to achieve desired results.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you have enough dry ice to last through the performance. You really can't have too much.
  • The more dry ice you use in your solution, the thicker the smoke/fog will be.
  • Keep enough water in the plastic container to cover the dry ice.
  • The water eventually will evaporate or freeze if you don't use enough.
  • Never touch dry ice with your bare hands!
  • Do not allow dry ice to came into contact with bare skin or a chemical burn will result.

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