Picture of Desktop Humidifier
Every winter its the same thing. Temperatures drop, the air gets dry and noses start running away. One thing that helps is having a good humidifier in your home. But hat about your office at work? Most humidifiers i see are pretty big and would take up too much desk space. Not to mention can be overkill for a small office. I for one sit in a little 10'x10' office. So i need a decent humidifier that is no bigger then an adult shoe box. Having found nothing that size commercially i had to come up with something on my own. Here is what i came up with. 

Materials Needed:

- Empty baby wipes container
- Scrap piece of aluminum (approximately 7.5"x5")
- 20oz Dasani water bottle
- 80mm PC fan with mounting screws
- SPDT switch (any switch will do)
- 9V AC/DC power adapter 
- power connector compatible with your AC/DC power adapter
- Humidifier filter
- Small peice of scrap wire ( approximately 6")

Tools Needed:

- Dremel with fiberglass reinforced cutting wheel. 
- Cordless drill
- 1/4" drill bit
- 5/32" drill bit
- jewelers file set
- Tin snips
- Hot glue gun
- Phillips head screw driver
- Soldering iron
- Scissors


- Laying out the Container
- Fitting the top plate
- Adapt the bottle
- Wire the electronics
- Final product
Daedalus621 year ago

Nice!!... Thanks for sharing this project, mpilchfamily.

I'm building this for a (slightly) different purpose than yours... To humidify a self-build egg incubator... Inside the incubator (small enclosed space), precise % of humidity is required, so I thought: Why not replace the simple on/off switch, for a humidity relay switch?... Something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC12V-Humidity-sensitive-s...

As anyone tried this?... The "chalenge" is to find out if I can get the humidity % precision I need, with this switch.

Anyway, as for the humidifier unit itself, thanks again mpilchfamily... Great project!... I'm definitely building it!... With the relay/switch.



TomGee1 year ago

Hi, from what I gather you have the fan sucking air into the tray and blowing the damp air out through the fan. The fan will not last long, moisture inside the fan will corrode and destroy the control PCB inside the fan.

Better to blow air into the tray through the fan, better to move the fan away from over the tray to the inlet near the damp filter, I like the concept all recyclable materials.


mpilchfamily (author)  TomGee1 year ago

The fan doesn't get more than about 60% humidity running through it. About what you would have on any average spring day along the central east coast of the States. More than you get on a winters day but well less than most larger humidifiers can do. I've been running this setup for just over 2 years now without any problems from the fan. Besides the fan is pulled from an old PC anyway. So it's done it's job up till now. Easy to get a replacment for next to nothing too.

Thanks for checking the project out.

Chu Guk1 year ago
Hi, this is really awesome! Why, though, do you need a bottle to disperse water? would it work as well if I just drill the vent holes a little higher and fill with water until there? also, if I put the vent holes in the lid, opposite the fan, and separate them with filter, would it work? thanks!
mpilchfamily (author)  Chu Guk1 year ago
Sure you can put the vent holes higher and put more water in the bottom but it won't last as long. A 20oz bottle feeds the unit for about 8 hours. A couple of inches of water in the bottom isn't anywhere close to 20 oz of water.

The filter has to sit in the water. The humidifier works cause the air picks up some moisture as it passes through the wet filter. Placing the filter in some sort of holder in the middle may work but it will be easy for the air to go around the filter rather than through it. The design used seems to work best. The fan draws air into the unit forcing it through the filter. Another benefit is any dust gets stuck in the filter and doesn't end up in your water. Your idea would result in dirty water and a mess to clean up on a regular basis.
I feel stupid for asking this but i don't understand how the water bottle disperses water
mpilchfamily (author)  ilovelauren1 year ago
The cut outs in the top of the bottle allow the water to flow out into the container. It will do so until the water level in the container gets just above the height of the cutouts. Self refilling pet water dishes and those large water coolers with the 5 gallon bottles sitting on top work the same way.
DrChill3 years ago
This might work more efficiently atop a board on a radiator, or near a source of heat, or a heat register.
mpilchfamily (author)  DrChill3 years ago
This is meant to be a cool mist humidifier. I own this humidifier and loosely based the build off it.
pooh14853 years ago
This is a great idea .I hope you dont mind I built one with a few mods, My daughter is sick and needed one and I saw this. It works great I made mine child friendly. Thanks for sharing.
mpilchfamily (author)  pooh14853 years ago
Glad it could help. I'd love to see what kinds of changes you made when you get a chance.
awsome idea but i dont want to get my computer wet
mpilchfamily (author)  skeetshooter113 years ago
How would you get your computer wet. If your worried about it being to close to your PC its not a problem. Even in a little 10' x 10' room it only raises the humidity to about 30% at best. That's just a guess but it doesn't put that much moisture in the air. Like i said it takes about 8 or 9 hours for it to put 20oz of water into the air.
Brad I.3 years ago
This is a great looking project.

I have a question. Why is the filter closer to the bottle than the fan?
jj.inc Brad I.3 years ago
The fan sucks the air through the filter through the holes he drilled in the side of the container. This forces air through it instead of just going over it
Brad I. jj.inc3 years ago
Ahh... Thanks.
mpilchfamily (author)  jj.inc3 years ago
Plus the bottle helps to hold the filter against the side of the container.
glenco453 years ago
Looks good. I want to build a bigger one for the bedroom. 2 fans and 2 liter soda bottle. I can get filters at Habitat for Humanity.
heathbar643 years ago
this is very neat. One question. in my experience using a bottle this way, the suction tended to collapse the botte. how have you solved thath problem here?
mpilchfamily (author)  heathbar643 years ago
There is a little bit of suction but not enough to overwhelm the bottle's integrity. No water is being sucked out of the bottle its all gravity fed. Just like any self feeding dog water dish or water cooler. Once the water level drops below the cut outs the bottles sucks in an air bubble allowing more water to fill the unit. In the past 2 weeks i haven't seen any part of the bottle collapse.
Maybe I tried a thinner bottle or something in my project, but it had enough give that it sucked in and let too much water come out.
jj.inc3 years ago
I really like this, but I figured I would let you know you can find small "travel sized" humidifiers really easily. We have one we picked up at Walgreens. It is an ultrasonic one and poors out cool water vapor before dispersing into the air.

mpilchfamily (author)  jj.inc3 years ago
Thanks! I've seen the small units, but why buy something when you can build one for free out of items you already have around the house?
Madcatw3 years ago
Great project. Two observations, if I may.

1) Perhaps a cage over the fan to keep fingers out.

2) Wouldn't it be better to reverse the airflow and blow out the holes rather than be constantly bathing the fan in moisture?
mpilchfamily (author)  Madcatw3 years ago
Oddly enough i didn't have any 80mm fan grills on hand. I do have a couple of 90mm but didn't want to put additional holes in the unit to mount it.

The amount of moisture going by the fan is no worst then it gets on a day with 70% humidity. I've had this running constantly for about 2 weeks now and have had no problems.
hzizh3 years ago
great project. But there is small humidifier sold in taobao
mpilchfamily (author)  hzizh3 years ago
Yep i've seen the small humidifiers online. Didn't see any at my local retailers and figured i could build one rather then spend $13 on one. I already had all the parts on hand so it cost me nothing to make.
Itscrafty3 years ago
Thank you so much for making this instructable!!!
imabrat3 years ago
My iguana thanks you kindly. Wonderful project; thank you!
chuckr443 years ago
Simple, minimal parts, and cheap. That's what I like. You get 5 stars from me. Thanks!

My humidifer helps prevent colds, so it saves me on my medical bills in the long run.