Your beginners guide for how to make an igloo. Using a few handy tools and lots of creativity, create a DIY Snow Igloo with beautiful easy DIY stained-glass windows made from ice blocks.
If you live in an area where winter means snow days, making an igloo is a fun way to spend some family time. It keeps the kids busy and because it takes time, they will be delighted to see how hard work pays off!
Wondering if an igloo for kids is right for your family or area of the country? You don’t have to live the artic tundra or even Canada to build this backyard snow dome. Just make sure you have enough snow and the the perfect temperatures. This easy and simple igloo was created in Kentucky… you hoped I would say Florida, right?! Sorry only sand castles and beach games for you Sunshine State!
Did you know there’s a technique to making a really great igloo? In this blog post we’re going to learn the best techniques and how to make an igloo for kids. Let’s get started!
How to Make an Igloo Out of Snow
You may be wondering how to build an igloo, especially if this is your first time. These beginners guide directions will help you make a great play structure your kids will love! It’s a great snowy day project this winter that the whole family can participate in too!
- Aluminum Foil Bread Pans (We used about 60 loaf pans that we picked up here. Also check your Dollar Tree)
- Cold Weather
- Optional: Food coloring
- Optional: Snow saw
To prepare for your project, wait for a day with enough snow and for a forecast where the temperatures will be below freezing for consecutive days in a row. This project does time take time and patience so you need consecutive days that are below freezing so you can get to your finished project.
As soon as the snow falls, get started freezing your blocks. The best way to make an igloo is to use crunchy snow that’s cold and wet. Not only will it be easier to pack, but you’ll get a better structure when your igloo is done.
How long does it it take to build an igloo?
As they say, Rome was not built in a day! Since building a solid igloo building takes time, make sure you have a forecast where there consecutive days of a freezing temperatures. Using about 60 bread tins for snow bricks, it took 3 days to build a solid igloo snow shelter.
In addition, the best igloo snow is often found after the first day. Fresh snow is no good, it’s far too powdery and weak. So enjoy that dry snow when it falls but know that older snow is more crunchy. Using a wet snow mix is a lot easier to form into shapes like snowballs, snowmen and igloo building blocks. However, that doesn’t mean, you can’t began making your bricks until the perfect packing powder comes.
Make Snow Bricks
Fill disposable bread tins with water to make ice “bricks” for the base. To make the traditional igloo blocks more fun, add food coloring for different colored bricks. The colored ice will make a cool look when the sun shines through your igloo. Set the tins outside and let them freeze until they are solid.
Draw a Circle
While your snow blocks are forming, make a circle on the ground tundra (aka backyard) ground. In our igloo, the diameter was about 6 feet. Leave approximately about a two foot opening the circle for your entrance tunnel and doorway. Just like the Inuit still do it in the North, laying your snow blocks in a spiral is the best way to create a solid dome structure.
Using your shovel, gathering buckets of snow or an pile of snow to be used later for brick packing.
Lay Your Igloo Foundation
Remove your snow bricks from the mold and form your base layer of the igloo with your colorful ice bricks, leaving an opening for the door.
Gather a shovel and some cold, crunchy snow from nearby in buckets or large organization bins. Pack the snow on top of the ice bricks, letting the snow fill in the cracks.
Cement Your Walls with Packed Snow
Pack down the first layers of snow blocks with gloved hands or a plastic snow shovel. Packing down loose snow on your blocks of snow will make your igloo strong and sturdy.
Continue adding bricks to your structure, packing each one down before you add the next layer. Make sure that no snow blocks are sticking out at weird angles by using your shovel. If needed, bevel the edges with a snow saw or use a tool to cut off any excess blocks after packing them down.
Hose it down
When all your bricks have been laid down, hose it down or pour some water on top. Careful not to saturate your existing igloo. Your goal is to add just enough water to freeze it in place. This is like adding wet glue and then allowing it to dry.
Repeat the Steps
Repeat the process of freezing your blocks. Layering more ice blocks. Finally adding packed snow and water to freeze and form your snow cave.
Check out your work! Do you see any odd angles or weak spots? Use your shovel and snow saw as necessary to make improvements before letting the structure dry and harden. Make sure that all the blocks are packed down securely so you have a strong, sturdy igloo. Smooth out any cracks by adding packed snow and a bit of water to freeze.
Preserving your Snow Cave
After you’re satisfied with the structure of your igloo, leave it to dry overnight. Your igloo should last for days in the right weather, providing tons of snowy entertainment. If you begin to see cracks in crevices of your structure, repeat your steps of top power snow, packing and adding water.
If taken care of, you’ll have an awesome igloo that will make a fun activity on cold winter days!
For wintery fun, use flameless candles inside of the igloo and have a glowing dinner under the stars. Perhaps crawl in your entry way and have a hot cocoa treat and a fun book before bed.
I hope this beginners blog post helps give you some ideas on how to make an igloo with your kids or family.
Igloo Safety Tips: Stoves and fires are not recommended for the inside of smaller igloos without air holes. A simple doorway should provide enough air so that ventilation holes do not need to be added to your backyard igloo. Please note that snow houses can collapse from poor snow conditions, increase in air temperature from body heat, failure to let the mound harden enough, or from people climbing on top of the igloo dome.
Have fun this winter and stay safe!
More fun winter activities:
Our Pinterest community and I would love to see how this worked out for you. Share your final igloo. Leave a comment here or on Pinterest!
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