DIY Florida Snow Machine for About $20




Introduction: DIY Florida Snow Machine for About $20

This year for Halloween I created my first fog chiller. While researching how to create a fog chiller I can across Snow Machines that looked a lot like fog machines except they made snow. It's not really snow it is small clumps of bubbles that looked like Snow. I live in FL and though how much fun this would be, for my kids to see, what looks like, falling snow, I started shopping around and to pick up a snow machine that had decent reviews it would cost $200+. I decided that for the limited amount of use it would get I could not justify the purchase. Even if it was "for the kids." I also looked for some instructables and I found a few for making real snow though for that you need sub 32F temperatures. As it is 85F on Dec 2nd I did not expect freezing temperatures by Christmas.

I already had a shop vac and some PVC parts so in total I have under $20 total, including snow juice, invested in my snow machine.

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Step 1: Parts, Tools, and SNOW!


Q1 - 10'- 4" PCV sewer pipe -

You may or may not need all 10 ft. I had a few 5 ft or so laying around so I just used what I had.

Q2 - 4" PVC Sewer cap -

These are over with the roofing material in my HD they are cheaper than the regular PVC caps.

Q1 - 3/4" coupler -

Q1 - 3/4" plug -

Q1 – PVC cleaner -

Any type will work link is just for reference

Q1 – PVC cement -

Any type will work link is just for reference

Q1 - windows washer fluid kit -

Any type will work this is just for reference

Q1 - 3v power supply -

Any type will work this is just for reference

Q1 - 5HP Shop Vac – This is the one I am using -

I first tried a 3HP shop vac and it worked though the snow shot a lot further with the 5 HP.

Duct Tape

Hot Glue


Whole saw matching Shop vac hose - Mine was 2 1/2 in"

3/4" bit - step bit works - to drill hole in 4" cap for 3/4" PVC plug

1/4" - bit step bit also works - to drill hole in back of 3/4" cap and side of 3/4" coupler

Hacksaw - to cut 4" PVC to your desired length

Razor blade knife - Something like this works -

Crescent wrench

Duct Tape

Hot Glue Gun

Tape measure or ruler

Pen or Pencil

5 gallon bucket




8 oz (1 cup) regular Mr. Bubble bubble bath

8 oz (1 cup) rubbing alcohol

1 to 3 gallons of distilled water

Step 2: The Top - Let It Breath

4" Sewer caps -

Take 1 of the 4" Sewer caps and drill a 3/4" while in the middle. Then drill 8 holes 1/4" in from the out side equally spaced. I just criscrossed i.e. top to bottom left to right top right to bottom left top left to bottom right. Then drill 8 holes 1/2 in from the central hole in the same manner offset 1/2 between the outer holes. See pic as it is worth way more words than what I just typed here. :)

Step 3: Back of Soap Chamber - Let's Made Suds!

3/4" plug -

Drill a 9/16" ish hole in the back of the plug.

Though first a little back story. Before I build this Snow Machine I built a proof of concept with a small plastic bucket a top some 3/4 PVC and the wed dry vac. With the whole 3/4" PVC open to the air coming through the bubbles were more like bubbles than snow. After some hot glue and duct tape I was able to make the whole smaller and the bubbles looked more like snow. This is one reason I used a cap rather than just a coupler. I also guestimated the side of the hole though 9/16" seems to be winner. If you go smaller or larger with better results let me know. :)

Step 4: Front of Soap Chamber - to the Right and to the Back...

3/4" coupler -

This may be the most difficult step to explain in words. I added some explanation to the pictures which will hopefully help.

1.) Hold the coupler in your hand with the open sides to the left and right.

2.) Measure 1/2 and mark a small line.

3.) Measure 1/2 between 1 end and the middle line mark again. This is where you are going to drill

4.) Drill a hole just big enough to slide the washer head in from the inside.

5.) install the washer on the washer nozzle and slide it in from the inside and add the nut.

6:) Aim the washer fluid nozzle towards the end which is furthest away from the washer fluid nozzle.

7.) Tighten down the nut though not to much remember its plastic and PVC your working with here.

8.) You can connect the hose now or later

Step 5: Don't Breath the Fumes!

No new pieces here just ones we've already got ready for the party.

1.) Use PVC cleaner to clean inside 3/4" coupler, outside 3/4" plug, and around the inside and outside of the hole in the 4" PVC cap.

2.) Add a little PVC cement to the inside of the 3/4" coupler and around the hole in the 4" PVC cap.

3.) Put the 3/4" PVC plug through the hole in the 4" PVC cap from the inside.

4.) Push the 3/4" PVC coupler onto the 3/4" PVC plug.

5.) Center on over the hole in the 4"PVC cap and hold tight for 30 sec to 1 minute.

Step 6: Home Made Sock

For this step I was looking for a type of foam similar to the foam sock on a commercial Snow machine. I was not able to find anything similar so I decided to just try a shop rag wrapped into a 3/4" tube then super glued down the edge and on one end. ...It worked!

1.) Cut a 5" x 10" ish section out of a shop rag. I'd lead towards using a clean one if available.

2) Run hot glue down one edge and across the end.

3.) Wrap around the 3/4" coupler and press down the trailing edge against the hot glue.

4.) Press down across the opposite end so the end closes up against the hot glue.

5.) Place the open end around the 3/4" coupler and zip tie in place.

Step 7: One of the Other Ends - Not Yet Perfected

Q2 - 4" PVC Sewer cap -

Take the 2nd 4" cap and drill a hole in it the size of our wet dry vac hose, maybe a littttlllleeee bit bigger.

Mine was 2 1/2" so I drilled a 2 1/2" hole slid in the hose and added some duct tape to the inside.

This seemed to work well for a couple days and held a good seal until the hose blew out one evening. I then, as any good DIYer would, added more duct tape. It has now been running for over a week without zero blow outs. YMMV.

If you find a better way of securing the hose to the PVC without any lasting damage to the hose let me know.

Step 8: The Other, Other End. - This Could Be Shocking Proceed at Your Own Risk!

Windows washer fluid kit -

3v power supply -

To start I know a car washer fluid pump is us to receiving 12V. I started with 12V and WOW WAY to many BUBBLES. They all just fell to the ground and the tank was empty in seconds.

I then tried 6V still to much.

Next I and a lipo cell laying around and figured hey what about 3 ish volts. ...and what do you know 3V works great!

I did not purchase this exact one as I have a draw full of these things I had a 3V one on hand. This one SHOULD work though no promises. ;)

This step I dont have good pics for though I should be able to explain in words without to much trouble.

1. Cut the end off the 3V Power Adapter

2.) Connect the wires to the pump wires and tape each up good with electrical tape.

3.) Plug it in and test to make sure it works.

4.) If it does not work unplug switch the wires and go back to step 2.

5.) Connect the pump to the washer fluid reservoir as stated in the instructions received with the pump.

Step 9: Time to Put It All Together

10'- 4" PCV sewer pipe -

You can use as little as 6" or as much as the full 10' of 4' PVC.

I had about a 5' piece laying around after building my fog chiller so I just used the 5' piece.

1.) Push the finished caps on each end connect the hose to the shop vac

2.) Connect the washer fluid hose to the pump and to the washer nozzle.

3.) Plug in the shop van and power adapter!!!

4.) O wait just kidding you need to make some snow juice first.

Step 10: Snow Juice $20 a Gallon or $3ish a Gallon

Mr. Bubbles 36 Oz. -

70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol -

Distilled Water -

You can buy Snow Juice just like you can buy Fog Juice.

I would in some cases buy the pre-made stuff if my warranty was going to be voided or if the pre-made juice could do something the home made stuff couldn't.

In this case you have two options.

1.) Purchase the pre-made Snow Juice for $20+ a gallon.

2.) Purchase Mr. Bubbles, Rubbing Alcohol, and Distilled water and for about $18 make 8 gallons.

3.) Almost forgot a 5 gallon bucket will come in handy for mixing and maybe a funnel.

I can't take credit for the this recipe though I can confirm it works. I followed the recommendation of 2 gallons of water per batch.

8 oz (1 cup) regular Mr. Bubble bubble bath

8 oz (1 cup) rubbing alcohol

1 to 3 gallons of distilled water

Step 11: Tips - More to Come

As this was only my second working concept I know I will find items that need to be changed or can be improved.

1.) Mount the washer fluid reservoir above ground level though below the Washer Fluid nozzle.

a. Raising it up makes the pump not work as hard though keeping it below the nozzle keep the fluid from all pouring out.

2.) Keep the Shop vac behind a fence or insulated panel to decrease the resulting sound.

3.) Connect to a motion sensor so it only runs when someone approaches.

4.) Don't PVC cement the top and bottom on just use duct tape. This way you can take it a part after the season is over.

5.) The easiest way to justify any purchase is to add "for the kids" to the end. Try it it works!

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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Hope you see this before it's too late.. I tested my snowmaker in the back and was happy with the results.. however the "snow" was tiny.. didn't think it would be a problem until I set it up in front my house and tested it.. with it being this tiny it could hardly bee seen until it gets above my house. any thoughts on how to get clumps of snow that resembles snowflakes?

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Awesome! My kids would like this better than real snow. :)


    Reply 1 year ago

    I was thinking a leaning northpole using an upside down fish bowl with the bottom cut out... I bought the 10' PVC so I have the extra to swap out.. May just to a candy stripe... Thanks for the options above... I like the smart plug idea but i'm thinking the wireless one may work better for me as I would want to control when it turns on and off at least initially... if I can figure out how to make that rag flutter back and forth i'll share... Right now i'm thinking of trying a shorter rag maybe half the length. Will post results..


    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for this.... Excellent directions and I had to buy that darn adapter... Of all the millions I had none was the right voltage. Tried it with a 5 volt and was more bubbles than snow. Ordered the one you suggested and it's perfect... I am wondering if placing a PVC pipe over the rag would help direct the snow and increase asthetics? Currently it kinda resembles a used condom. lol


    Reply 1 year ago

    ShawnF9 your comment about the adapter made me laugh because I had a drawer of adapters though all were to high of a voltage. As for the PVC it might help to direct it further in a straight line. I played around with hot gluing a small plastic triangle to the end trying to throw it off balance and make it wave around and distribute the slow further. It kind of worked though setting the PVC at about a 45° angle and hoping for a slight breeze worked the best so far.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the response.. I was testing it this morning and found that I almost have to have it between 60 and 80 degrees for it to start blowing the snow out.. at 45 degrees it just bubbles up. My tube is only about 2 feet long though so that could be a factor. Honestly my neighbor across the street bought two snow makers and has been showing off... so I built this show him he wasted his money and that I can have snow as well.. I just need to decide if I want a motion sensor or a wireless remote have you tried either? Also I wish I could post a video of this once all done but it looks like I can only add pictures..


    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi ShawnF9, You may be right I'm now thinking It closer to 75 degrees. I also got a better range when I went from my old wet dry vac to my newer 5HP and removed the filter and just put a piece of screeen over the input to keep animals from becoming projectiles :) I've used a couple different motion sensor and also a smart plug setup on a schedule.
    This one was good because it was wireless though only option is to run for 10 minutes.
    This one worked well though really should be out side. Can be adjusted from 1 - 20 minutes.

    Normally I just a Smart Plug which I setup a schedule where it will snow for 5 minutes every 30 mins from 5:30pm - 9:00pm

    Side note: The PVC pipe I'm using was a 5 ft left over piece from when I made my Fog Chiller. My wife said it would made a good North pole or candy cane with the snow shooting out the top. I have not tried this yet though sounded like it may work if I can get the sock at the end to wave back and forth like one of those wacky, waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men.

    Might be a way to one up the neighbor while still spending way less. :)