Introduction: How to Build an Igloo Out of Snow

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This is an Instructable showing the steps I used to build this Igloo...

Step 1: Preparing a Base

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I started by finding a spot in the yard where I had a snow drift that was about 2 1/2 feet deep. then I shoveled a clearing a little larger than I wanted the base of the igloo to be. I left about 6 inces of snow on the ground for a floor.

Step 2: Construction Begins

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I used a 15 x 12 x 7 " plastic bin to form my snow bricks.Holes were drilled in the bottom of the bin to allow the blocks to release from the mold. In order for the blocks to be formed. I used a shovel to fill the mold quickly then screeded off the snow that remained sticking out of the mold with the shovel. I got a pretty good pace going and could build about 4 blocks per minute. The snow conditions need to be just right, packable but not too wet. Temperatures in the mid 30's F work the best. I used a tow strap hooked around a center pole to act as a compass to lay out the first row of blocks in a perfect circle.

Step 3: Building My Way Up

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I continued stacking blocks row upon row working my way higher, leaving an opening where I wanted the entrance to be. I used a small crosscut saw to cut angles on the blocks so they fit together as they followed the circular layout. Snow is packed in any voids by hand. Once I got up about 3 rows I started to allow each additional row of blocks to overhang the previous row, to the inside of the igloo. Snow was then packed under the overhanging block .

Step 4: Building the Entrance

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I stacked up the sidewalls of the entrance and tied them into the side walls of the igloo with an interlaced pattern of the blocks. I left the roof off of the entrance until the end of the build, this way I could move easily in and out of the igloo carrying blocks as I worked on the roof of the igloo.

Step 5: Closing Up the Roof and Entrance

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I continued adding rows of blocks, overlapping each row to the inside of the igloo, and packing snow to hold them in place. I also packed snow into all of the cracks and crevices on the outside of the igloo. When it came time to close up the roof entirely, I first made about 15 blocks and stockpiled them inside the igloo so I would not have to crawl through the entrance one block at a time. Before closing up the Igloo roof  I had to construct the roof of the entrance to support the front side wall of the Igloo. I continued building upwards until it was time to install the final 2 roof cap blocks to seal the whole thing up. Unfortunately I did not take a picture just before the final blocks were added.. 

Step 6: Conclusion

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I spent about 12 hours total building this thing. I was able to get about 1 hours worth of help out of my 2 daughters. Once complete I cut a small hole in the roof and built a small fire inside the igloo. I was able to heat it up to 44 deg F inside. The heat melted the inside surface of the igloo slightly allowing it to refreeze and form a strong Ice coating. the Igloo is now 3 weeks old and standing strong. It has no problem holding the weight of my 14 year old daughter on top of the roof.  In the photo here I am burning an alcohol stove that I made out of pop cans. I made it following the instuctable here https://www.instructables.com/id/Alcohol-Can-penny-stove/

Comments

rosey gillespie (author)2016-01-18

This is a wonderful activity idea for families with children. Time to build it and then of course time to use it. Enjoying a pic-nic in the snow in your own little igloo is fantastic.

thank you.

hohum (author)2015-01-02

very nice, thanks for showing how to make it,

rocketscientist2007 made it! (author)2014-12-30

My family made one in NM while visiting family! We ended up having to add water to make the bricks compact and stick, it was much colder than mid 30s... :/

We also added a vent to the top so we could build a fire inside.

blazeorion (author)2014-12-26

sweet halfpipe

AK_Doug (author)2014-12-26

Very nice igloo. You can get it warmer if you make the entrance slightly smaller, and if at all possible dig down so that the main floor is higher than the opening.

NTT (author)2014-12-26

This reminds me of the igloo I built a couple of years ago on the seafront in West Sussex, England. We used washing up bowls to compact snow in as they already had tapered sides which allowed for the curve of the walls over consecutive layers.

cacj131 (author)2014-12-24

Nice job!

EmeraldOre (author)2014-03-20

Wow! This is really impressive! I wish I lived where it snowed.... I'd totes make this if I did.

audreyobscura (author)2014-03-10

So rad! Thanks for sharing your technique!

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Bio: Im just a guy who likes to ride skateboards and enjoys building things that I can use....
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