4 Ways to Make Smoke

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4 Ways to Make Smoke
4 Ways to Make Smoke

Smoke is created whenever rapid condensation occurs. It is possible to create small amounts of smoke in a jug by combining hot water and ice, but to create a large volume you will need a liquid glycerin solution. To make the smoke rise, try dry ice or create a cooling mechanism for a smoke machine.


Method 1 of 4: Making Smoke in a Jug

Make Fog Step 1

Step 1. Heat water on the stove or in the microwave to a very hot point, but not boiling

Depending on the temperature of the water coming out of the tap, you may not even need to heat it.

  • The temperature should be warm to the touch, but the water cannot reach the boiling point. The ideal is to maintain a temperature between 49 °C and 82 °C.
  • Check the temperature with a kitchen thermometer or, failing that, with your finger. The water should be practically scalding hot.
Make Fog Step 2

Step 2. Pour the water into a pitcher or other glass container

Start by pouring a small amount, circling the base of the jar. Then finish filling the jug and let the water settle for a minute.

  • You should start with a little water to prevent the glass from cracking. Look for a glass canning container, as they are more resistant and made for use with hot water.
  • Count the minute exactly with a stopwatch or clock. Use the time to get a metal strainer.
Make Fog Step 3

Step 3. Pour out most of the water

Leave about two fingers of water inside the jug; the idea is to heat the jug well and leave just a little water.

  • If you end up spilling everything, use hot tap water to fill the base of the jug, after all, it will be hot enough.
  • If you've heated the water to a boil, let it cool a little. Don't forget to protect your hands when pouring water, as you could get burned.
Make Fog Step 4

Step 4. Place the metal strainer over the pot

Support it in the opening so that the basket is inside the jar.

  • Do not let the strainer come into contact with water.
  • The strainer should be in the hot air in the jug, but not in the hot water.
Make Fog Step 5

Step 5. Fill the strainer with ice

Quickly place three or four ice cubes into the strainer. If you prefer, you can place some cubes in the lid of the jug and place it over the opening.

  • If the strainer is too small, try grinding the ice first.
  • The temperature difference between cold ice and hot air will create smoke.
Make Fog Step 6

Step 6. Observe the mist forming

When the cold air from the ices crosses the warm air from the jar, rapid condensation occurs, forming a mist inside the jar. Spray the inside of the jar with hairspray to increase the duration of the mist.

  • To add color to the smoke, add a few drops of food coloring to the hot water.
  • The smoke will dissipate as the jar cools.

Method 2 of 4: Making Smoke with Glycerin

Make Fog Step 7

Step 1. Mix pure glycerin with distilled water

Use a mixture of three parts glycerin for each part water. For example, for every 1/2 cup of water, use 1 1/2 cup of glycerin. The mixture is known as "mist juice".

  • Liquid glycerin can be found in pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • It is important to use liquid glycerin and not a synthetic variety to absorb water from the air, the action that ends up creating smoke.
Make Fog Step 8

Step 2. Add fragrances if desired

Using a scented mist can add that extra touch to a party or theater play. Use 1/2 tablespoon of essence for each liter of "mist juice". Look for essences (such as those used in candle making) and don't use essential oils.

  • For a fragrance fit for horror dramas, mix anise essence and cotton candy.
  • Create a swampy fragrance by mixing earthy and rainy essences.
  • For a ghostly aroma, mix cucumber, earth and amber essences.
  • To create a terrifying aroma for country horror reenactments, blend grass, cedar and pumpkin essence.
Make Fog Step 9

Step 3. Drill several holes in the side of a metal can

The tin will be used to hold the aluminum plate over a candle flame. The holes will allow air to enter the can and fuel the flame.

  • Never use a plastic container as it can release toxic substances during burning.
  • Look for large cans of peas and corn.
Make Fog Step 10

Step 4. Cut off the top of a two liter PET bottle

You will need the tapered part of the bottle to direct the glycerin smoke. Use sharp scissors or a knife for best results.

  • Measure 6 inches from the tip of the bottle and cut. Discard the bottom of the bottle.
  • Be careful when handling sharp blades. Wearing protective gloves can come in handy.
Make Fog Step 11

Step 5. Glue the bottle spout onto an aluminum plate

Use strong duct tape to keep it in place. A small aluminum dish, like those used in marmitex, should be sufficient for the project.

  • The mist juice will stay inside the bottle, against the aluminum of the dish.
  • Center the dish over the metal can to prevent it from tipping over after adding the mist juice.
Make Fog Step 12

Step 6. Light the candle

Look for a candle with multiple wicks to create an even heat area across the diameter of the aluminum dish. If you can't find such a candle, light several small ones to achieve the same effect.

  • When choosing to use several small candles, secure them together to concentrate heat in the same area.
  • Place the aluminum plate over the candle.
  • It is important that the dish is close to the flame, but not close enough to touch it.
Make Fog Step 13

Step 7. Pour the juice into the bottle

Add a teaspoon or tablespoon of the juice onto the aluminum plate through the spout of the bottle.

  • A small amount of juice should suffice. Resist the temptation to dump too much at once.
  • You can add more juice as needed.
Make Fog Step 14

Step 8. Observe the mist formation

The mist juice should heat up and start to smoke from the top of the bottle.

  • For an interesting effect, throw a colored light on the smoke. The easiest and safest way to do this is to aim a colored light directly on the mist as it exits the bottle.
  • The transparent mist droplets will reflect colored light.

Method 3 of 4: Making Smoke with Dry Ice

Make Fog Step 15

Step 1. Fill a large plastic or metal container with hot water

Use anywhere from 15 liters to 30 liters to keep the mist in 15-minute jets.

  • Try to keep the water temperature between 49 °C and 82 °C. Boiling water is not ideal, as the released steam mixes with the smoke from dry ice, causing it to rise and not spread.
  • Keep the temperature of the container with a hot plate to keep the smoke out longer.
Make Fog Step 16

Step 2. Put somewhere between 2 kg and 4 kg of dry ice in the water

Dry ice is made up of carbon dioxide, which has a much lower freezing point than water (somewhere around -78, 5 °C). Pour ice into hot water using tongs. Typically, 450 ml of water will produce enough smoke for two to three minutes.

  • Higher temperatures will produce more smoke, but will also deplete ice more quickly.
  • Always handle dry ice with protective gloves and tongs.
Make Fog Step 17

Step 3. Observe the smoke formation

The extreme temperatures of dry ice will react immediately with hot water, forming a thick cloud of smoke. The steam from the hot water, combined with the melting ice, will create the smoke effect.

  • Control the fog direction with a small fan.
  • As fog is heavier than air, it will fall and stay close to the ground if you don't use the fan.
Make Fog Step 18

Step 4. Add more dry ice as needed

You will need to add more dry ice every 15 minutes to maintain the smoke effect. If you prefer, add small pieces to maintain the volume of smoke, as large pieces will create "jets" of smoke.

  • Try using a hot plate to prevent the water from getting cold. If you prefer, add more hot water.
  • It is likely that water will start to leak when it comes in contact with dry ice. When making smoke indoors, be careful with slippery floors.

Method 4 of 4: Making Smoke with a Machine

Make Fog Step 19

Step 1. Visit a building supply store

You will need some basic materials to keep the smoke from the machine spreading across the floor and not rising. Materials are easily found and are usually inexpensive. Unless you plan to use the machine for a long time, you will be able to reuse most items. In addition to the smoke machine, you will need:

  • Chimney pipe 60 cm long and 15 cm in diameter. It will be the container that will accommodate the smoke.
  • 1/4 inch refrigeration tube 7.5 meters long.
  • 3/8-inch copper refrigeration tube 15 meters long.
  • 3/8 inch clear plastic tube 3.5 meters long.
  • 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe 60 cm long (used as shape for smaller coil, will be discarded).
  • 3 inch ABS plastic tube 60 cm long (used as a shape for the larger coil, will be discarded).
  • Four clamps for plastic tubes.
  • Small submersible pump.
  • A bundle of plastic wire ties.
  • Bucket or pot of water and ice.
Make Fog Step 20

Step 2. Create two copper coils

One coil should be 3.8 cm in diameter, while the other should be 7.5 cm in diameter. Wrap the copper tubing around the PVC pipe and plastic pipe. The process can be done by hand, but you can try it with pliers if you think it's easier.

  • To create the inner (smaller) coil, wrap the 7.5 meter copper tube around the PVC pipe.
  • To create the outer (larger) coil, wrap the 15 m copper tube around the ABS plastic pipe.
  • Slide the coils out of the tubes.
Make Fog Step 21

Step 3. Place the smaller spool inside the larger one and secure the two with the cable ties

This junction will allow smoke to pass in and out of the coils, promoting refrigeration.

  • If it is difficult to hold the smaller coil in place, you can simply let it rest against the larger one.
  • Since the coils will need to enter the flue, stretch them until they reach the length of the tube.
Make Fog Step 22

Step 4. Place the coils inside the flue

Fit the larger one into the pipe and use the plastic ties to hold the two together. The idea is for the coils to be as close to the center of the barrel as possible.

  • Installing the coils in this way allows smoke to pass in and around them, improving cooling.
  • Although the machine works without the clamps, the efficiency will not be the same.
Make Fog Step 23

Step 5. Connect the coils

A connection needs to be created between the ends of the coils and the cooling chamber (the bucket or pot filled with water and ice) using small pieces of plastic tubing and clamps.

  • You will need to connect the ends of the coils on the other side to a submersible pump using longer pieces of plastic tubing and clamps.
  • Cold water will exit the pump and circulate through the coils.
Make Fog Step 24

Step 6. Submerge the pump in the cooling chamber

The pump must be completely submerged and there must be enough space for the commercial smoke machine beside it.

  • The water needs to be very cold for the mechanism to work. It can take half an hour or more for smoke to start coming out.
  • Place the smoke machine at the other end of the pipe. Her beak should point forward.
Make Fog Step 25

Step 7. Turn on the pump

After a minute, the cold water should begin to circulate through the copper tubes.

  • Tap the copper to test the temperature. It must be possible to feel the cold water through the tubes.
  • Fill the smoke machine with the mist juice and turn it on. Smoke should start to come out but, unlike common hot, rising smoke, it should stay close to the ground thanks to the cooling mechanism.


Store dry ice in a cool box


  • Do not store dry ice in the freezer. The ice temperature is sufficient to turn off the freezer thermostat.
  • Keep in mind that some people may be allergic to essences.
  • Take care when handling dry ice.
  • Do not store dry ice in an airtight container as pressure can explode it.

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