Make Your Own Smoke Fluid





Introduction: Make Your Own Smoke Fluid

About: Teacher of Science and engineer

This is my first instructable so please bare with me. I have also decided to make it a relatively short one.
In this instructable I am going to show you how to make your own smoke fluid for any smoke machine. This does not include fog machines which use dry ice. Perhaps obvious to most, but just wanted to point that out.

Step 1: What You Will Need

- Glycerol, Glycerin or Glycerine (same thing)
- Distilled water
- Measuring jug
- Container to store solution

Step 2: Where to Get Your Ingredients From

Gylcerol, Glycerine and glycerin are the same thing. It is easily and cheaply obtainable from your local chemist. Either behind the counter or on the shelf, you will find it next to the throat medicines as this is one of its uses -- eases discomfort from harsh coughing. It will also make you more than regular if you drink too much of it!

Distilled water should be easy to come by. Places like Halfords (England), or outlets which sell car consumables should sell this. At a push you can get away with dionised water. The aim here is to get a water that is about as free from lime and other impurities as possible.

I'm hoping I don't need to talk about the measuring jug and container.

Step 3: Method

For high density smoke...
Make a solution of 30% glycerol. The remaining 70% is made up with the distilled water.

For medium density smoke...
Make a solution of 20% glycerol. The remaining 80% is made up with the distilled water.

For low density smoke...
Make a solution of 15% glycerol. The remaining 85% is made up with the distilled water.

For purposes of clarity, should I want to make a solution of high density smoke fluid I would simply pour all of the glycerol into my container. I would then fill the empty glycerol bottle with water and pour that into my container. I would then do this a second time to achieve (roughly) a 30/70 mix of glycerol to water. You don't have to be exact with this.

Once you have poured the required amount of each liquid into your container, shake for a few minutes to ensure that the two have completely mixed. You now have your own smoke fluid at a fraction of the cost of commercial smoke fluid.

Step 4: Preservation

You may find that you want to keep your smoke fluid for a period of time. If your container is clean, and your smoke machine doesn't already have traces of mould in it then you should be ok for about a month. Less if you have made up a solution that is less than 30% glycerol.

Anything past a month and you may want to add a preservative (antibacterial agent) to extend its life. Given that this solution will eventually be aspirated and breathed in, it is important that you don't add too much of something, or the wrong thing for that matter!

I would recommend simply adding 2-3 drops of bleach to every litre. This will keep any chance of infection down and will still be safe to people in the concentrations given out when it's used.

Step 5: Make It Smell!

You can also add a few drops of essences to your fluid to make it smell. Typically your smoke will smell / taste ever so very slightly sweet. The emphasis here is again; just a few drops.



    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Planter Challenge

      Planter Challenge
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    what kind of fog machines is this suitable for? is it okey to be used
    with one of those who are usually need water so i can have a dense

    1 reply

    If you're referring to the ones that only use water then I can't comment. This Instructable is purely for liquid - fed smoke machines.

    If you want to try using this on a water mister then be sure to let us know how it goes.

    Will this work with a smoke generator machine that works with "atomisers" rather than heaters?

    Thank you so much!

    omg this is EXACTLY what I've been looking for!!!! thank you a million!!

    1 reply

    You're welcome :)

    I tried this in my model train and it worked pretty good. Hard on the lungs though. I prefer straight peanut oil.

    It has to be food / high grade gycerol otherwise it would never pass COSHH regs etc and be able to be used commercially. All fluids require a Safety Data Sheet to be sold / used too. So you're okay to play around at home but actually using your own fluid in public is a bad idea. There's also a lot of importance of the boiling points and speed of boil etc which can effect the molecular structure of the smoke ie: you do it wrong you get a bad result that can smell a bit.

    Anyway, if you really want some fun then cook some castor oil up!! :)

    Or do it Redneck style!! :

    1 reply

    that is so cool, and funny. What does castor oil do??

    i managed to do it and filled my entire house with it... however, it does make everything in the house rather sticky to a certain point... i made in a very small amount and placed it on a aluminum foil container with 6 candles under it. it took about 3minutes before smoke shows up.

    so when the liquid is mixed, how does it turn into smoke??? sry about noob question.. would it start smoking when exposed to fresh ari or would i need to heat the mixture up??

    1 reply

    Hi smarty1973

    There's never a bad noob question, so relax :-)
    The liquid vaporises when it is suddenly heated in the smoke machine or fogger machine. This means it enters a gas phase just like water does when it boils. So despite the name(s) smoke machine, or fogger, they just very quickly boil liquids into a vapour.

    The mossy compact example you can find right now if you wanted to would be an E-cig. They use exactly the same method to turn a nicotine laced glycerol and water mixture into a vapour which people breath in.

    Hope this helps.


    e-cigarettes use "...three main ingredients: propylene glycol USP, vegetable glycerin USP, and liquid nicotine."

    "Propylene Glycol (or PG) is a colorless, odorless, and viscous liquid
    that is widely used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food preparation,
    and industrial applications. It is “generally recognized as safe” by the
    FDA. Given its wide berth of applications, humans unknowingly ingest
    it, inhale, and absorb it through their skin on a regular basis. It is
    present in medicine, soap, shampoo, ice cream, baked goods, soda, dog
    food, fog machines, and a great deal more.

    The oft-repeated argument that “PG is harmful because it is
    antifreeze” is a false analogy. Antifreeze is any chemical that lowers
    the freezing point of a water-based liquid. Some of these chemicals are
    toxic, and some of them are not. PG is not. Because of its non-toxic
    nature, PG is used as antifreeze in food-processing plants and water
    pipes, where accidental ingestion is inevitable." Read link for more excellent information:

    you can drink this if you use food grade glycerine
    it will taste sweat
    it is not toxic


    1 reply

    "Glycols can undergo heat denaturation into highly toxic substances, such
    as formaldehyde. This is one of the major problems with homemade smoke
    machines - they may operate at a temperature that is incompatible with
    the substances being used. Also, this is a danger with homemade fog
    juice used in commercial machines." Also, "... some people may experience skin irritation from exposure to glycol fog."

    So use food/pharmaceutical grade glycol (glycerine) and keep heating of glycerin-water mixtures to minimum necessary to create fog.

    It would also be possible to use boiled-then-condensed water (distilled) that you can make at home

    1 reply

    Yes, but at a dollar (usd) per gallon at the grocery store, is making your own really worth the hassle?

    O aquecimento da água em torno de 40º a 50º graus na mistura se faz necessário para o perfeito envolvimento da água na glicerina.

    could you add food coloring?
    coloured smoke?