DIY Fog Machine: Easy and Affordable Fog Machine Ideas

While commercial fog machines are readily available on the market, they can be quite expensive. Luckily, there is a popular hack for making your own DIY fog machine. With some basic supplies and a few simple steps, you can create your own fog machine that rivals the quality of store-bought options.

In this article, we will explore the step-by-step instructions for creating a DIY fog machine using readily available materials such as plastic water bottles, hot water, and a soldering iron. Whether you are planning a Halloween party or staging a theatrical performance, this DIY fog machine will surely enhance the ambiance and add a touch of mystery to your event.

diy fog machine

How To Make A DIY Fog Machine

With your fog juice at the ready, you can now start creating the fog machine. You should be able to find most of these items around the house, so gather them up before you begin the project.

You’ll need:

  • One large candle with two or more wicks
  • The top of a two-liter plastic bottle (a plastic soda bottle works best)
  • Small aluminum pie plate
  • Homemade fog juice
  • An old can of soup, empty and clean
  • Sticky tape and scissors

Step 1: Ready the Materials

Gather all of your materials together, including the homemade fog juice, and start by cutting the top off the 2-liter plastic soda bottle and keeping it for the machine. Dispose of the bottom half.

Step 2: Tape It Together

With the cut end of the bottle, tape it onto the pie plate so that you’ve created a cone shape when the two of them are together. This will be your homemade fog machine.

Step 3: Positioning

Get the empty soup can and remove the lid. Place the candle into the can and light all of the wicks on the candle, letting them burn a little while to ensure they won’t go out. If you’ve managed to find a large store-bought candle that doesn’t require a can, this is fine as well.

Step 4: Poke Some Holes

Next, place the fog machine over the top of the can and allow the heat from the candles to get to it. Poke some holes in the bottom of the soup can to give it ventilation.

Step 5: Complete the Fog Machine

Once everything is all combined, and the candle is lit, you can now add your fog juice. Start with just three teaspoons and add it to your homemade fog machine. When it starts to get low, add a few more. Just this small amount should be enough to make fog for at least half an hour.

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How To Make A DIY Fog Machine With Dry Ice

Another popular option for a homemade fog machine is by using dry ice. If you’re familiar with dry ice, you know that it already makes a “fog effect”. So, it’s really just about harnessing the dry ice, and using it yourself.

The primary difference here is that, because dry ice is very cold, the “fog” it creates actually sinks to the ground. Therefore, we will be taking methods to heat it up, so that it creates fog similar to a traditional fog machine.

To make a DIY dry ice fog machine, you will need the following supplies:

  • Dry ice
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Hot water
  • Fan
DIY Fog Machine A Beginner’s Guide For 2023 - Types of DIY Fog Effects

Step 1: Fill the Bucket

Start by filling the bucket halfway with hot water. Do not fill the bucket all the way to the top or it will overflow as soon as you add the dry ice to it.

Step 2: Add the Dry Ice

Using gloves or tongs, you can begin placing the dry ice into the container with the hot water. You want to do this very carefully while avoiding any kind of splashing.

Step 3: Place the Fan

Now you will place the fan so that it will blow the smoke that is created with the hot water and dry ice combination. Make sure to set up the fan, so it blows the smoke in the desired direction.

Step 4: Replenish

As the water cools, you will need to add more hot water to the bucket. You will also need to add more dry ice. Putting a bigger chunk of dry ice in the water can result in a longer-lasting fog effect. You can also get a hot plate to keep the water warmer for longer especially since dry ice will result in rapid cooling.


Always make sure you are in a very well ventilated area if you choose to make your own fog machine using dry ice. You also need to practice extreme caution when handling the dry ice because if it touches your skin, it can cause frostbite.

Types of DIY Fog Effects

As mentioned, the proportion of glycerin in your fog machine solution will determine the density of the fog effect you are creating. Here’s a quick outline of the types of fog, and what they are best for:

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1. Haze Fog

If you use a lighter proportion of glycerin (roughly 15%) in your fog machine fluid, then you’ll end up with a fog that is much thinner, and is known as “haze”. Haze is considered the thinnest type of fog.

It is meant to be almost completely transparent but does an excellent job at amplifying lighting effects. The lights cut through the haze, and make them much more noticeable to spectators, adding an extra element to your party or show.

2. Medium-Density Fog

Medium-density fog is a great middle ground. It’s transparent enough to not block people’s vision too much, but also thick enough to create a noticeable fog effect. The best of both worlds really!

It’s a great fog if you’re looking to amplify any party, add some mystique to your decorations, or create theatrical fog for a performance. It will be around 22-25% glycerin in the fog juice mixture.

3. High-Density Fog

High-density fog is the most opaque fog. It almost completely blocks vision, and is the most noticeable fog effect achievable. If you really want your fog to stand out, this is what you want. It’s achievable with about 30% glycerin in your mixture.

Because it is so opaque, it is not ideal for parties and events, because it might create a safety hazard by obstructing people’s vision. Therefore, it’s best for theatrical and decorative purposes, enhancing your display with a thick layer of fog.

Fog Machine Safety Tips

Whether you make your own DIY fog machine or purchase one online or in the store, you should still follow the same safety tips and precautions. Always make sure that the fog machine is being used in an appropriate manner. You want to have a good amount of visibility and ventilation available as well as space for people to walk without bumping into the machine.

If you purchase a fog machine from a store, it should come with its own set of safety instructions or handling requirements. Be sure to follow these above all else. Not only will they tell you the best ways to handle the machine, but you also might void the warranty if you handle your fog machine improperly.

Always set up the fogging machine away from flammable items. The area it is in should also be easily accessible for you to make sure it is operating as it should.

Finally, make sure to use or make the appropriate fog liquid in your machine. Don’t mix and match different liquid types either.

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Can You Make Fog Without a Machine?

Yes, you can make fog without a machine using simple DIY methods. Some popular hacks include using hot water and dry ice, using ultrasonic atomizers, or creating a fog chiller. These methods allow you to produce a similar effect to a fog machine using basic supplies.

Is DIY Fog Machine Fog Safe?

When done correctly and following safety precautions, DIY fog machines can be safe to use. It is essential to use distilled water and appropriate fog juice recipes to ensure the vapor is safe and non-toxic. Additionally, monitoring the fog machine’s operation and avoiding any combustible materials is crucial for safety.

How Long Will a DIY Fog Machine Run?

The duration of a DIY fog machine’s operation depends on various factors such as the size of the fog setup, the amount of fog juice used, and the power source. Generally, a DIY fog machine can run for several minutes to an hour, depending on these factors. It’s recommended to test the setup beforehand to determine its running time.

Can You Make A Fog Machine With Dry Ice?

Yes. You simply fill a container halfway with hot water and then add a few pieces of dry ice very carefully to the water. When doing this, it is important that you wear gloves. As the water begins to cool from the ice, you will want to add more hot water so you can continue to maintain the fog effect. One pound of ice will typically create two to three minutes of fog. See above for more detailed instructions as well as a warning about the dangers involved with dry ice.


In conclusion, creating your own DIY fog machine can be a fun and cost-effective way to add a mysterious mood to parties, performances, or Halloween decorations. While it may not produce the same level of fog as a professional machine, there are several methods you can try using simple household items. From combining hot water or distilled water with dry ice to using ultrasonic atomizers or a soldering iron with fog juice, these hacks can create a decent amount of fog.

However, it is important to prioritize safety when using a DIY fog machine. Ensure that the materials and fog juice used are non-toxic and suitable for breathing. Take precautions to avoid directing the fog towards electrical equipment or exposed flames to prevent potential hazards.