Fog Machine Fluid
If there’s one instant way to add some atmosphere to a party, it’s with a fog machine. These handy little devices are great for birthdays, Halloween, dances, discos and more, and once you’ve got one, there’s no end to how you can use it.
Although owning a fogger is great, what about the fog fluid to make it work? After a time, this can be a costly expense, and one that can take time to order in. But it doesn’t have to be so much of a challenge when you know how to make your own fog juice!
Making DIY fog machine liquid is incredibly easy, and for most people, you’ll have the ingredients lying around your home. However, as with any DIY project, there’s a bit you’ll need to know first. There are also some safety precautions to be aware of, so do your research before you proceed.
Why Make Your Own Fog Juice?
Simply put, fogging machine liquid is essential if you own one of these devices, but people often overlook this key ingredient when they have one.
Many folks tend to put so much emphasis on the type of machine that they buy, that they forget to put the effort into researching the juice. This is a shame, because you will notice a big difference between a cheap fog juice and one of sufficient quality.
While it is possible to purchase fog juice online or at some party supply stores, the cost for this is quite high when you consider how much use you’ll get out of it.
Thankfully, making your own high-quality fog juice at home is incredibly easy, and works out to be a lot more affordable than purchasing it. The other bonus is that you’ll always have enough on hand and there’ll be no risk of it running out in the middle of your event now that you know how to quickly whip up some more.
The way that a fog machine works is with a heating element which heats the smoke fluid, turning it into vapor. Then, a fan helps to blow the heat from the mixture into the crowd. The recipe for this liquid is easy to create and won’t cost much at all, so it’s a handy DIY project to learn if you’re lucky enough to own a fog machine for yourself.
How to Make Your Own Fog Juice
Making your own fog juice only requires a few ingredients and doesn’t take long at all. Once you’ve made your first batch of homemade fog juice, you’ll see how easy it can be, and you’ll see which areas might require extra attention. Once you have a handle on this, you’ll be able to recite the recipe without even looking at it.
Two Types of Fog Juice
Before we get started on the steps, you should know that there are two types of fog juices that you can make and these two types will create different effects.
Here’s a look at the fog effects or juice types:
Fog That Rises
This type of smoke doesn’t collect as much on the floor surface. Instead, it drifts around in the air to create a steamy or smoky vibe.
Fog that rises is perfect for a number of setups. Drifting helps reflect light better and is ideal for events or setups that require lots of colored light. Rising or drifting is often used at events to create a mysterious vibe and it’s a loved feature in stage performances or photoshoots.
Fog that rises is mostly made from glycerine and distilled water.
Fog That Falls
This type of fog doesn’t rise as much. Instead, it collects on the floor to create a misty valley look. Falling fog is a loved special effect at Halloween parties because it can look so eerie. This effect can also be brilliant for stage performances, videography, photography, parties, or to create a cloudy and heavenly vibe.
Fog that falls is mostly made from dry ice and distilled water.
How to Make Fog Juice For Fog That Rises
First, we’re going to be making fog that rises because the ingredients are usually easier to come by and more affordable. This type of fog juice is also compatible with the most affordable fog machines.
To get started, round up your ingredients and have them all handy to create your fog juice. For this DIY project, you’ll need:
- Empty water bottle of at least ¼ gallon in size
- Measuring cup
- 6-ounce container of vegetable-based glycerin
- Distilled water (or you can distill your own if you have time – see those instructions at the bottom of this article)
Making Your Own Fog Juice For Rising Fog
Once you’ve collected all of your ingredients, it’s time to start making your own juice. Here’s a quick look at the best steps for making a perfect highly potent fog juice.
The first step is to get all of your liquids together and mix them up. You’ll need to make sure the proportions are correct for this recipe, and with this in mind, you can adjust how much you need in case you ever want to make more. Aim for a 15 to 35 percent glycerin mixture, depending on how thick you want your fog to be.
Basically, the more glycerin in the mixture, the thicker the fog will be. So for a thick fog, you want to dilute the mixture less. However, don’t pour any more than 35 percent in, as you’ll get no fog at all if you use too much.
Ensure you have bottled distilled water if you don’t want to make your own. This is important, as it’s free from impurities and minerals that can interfere with the fog machine.
Measure out two cups of distilled water and pour it into your clean plastic bottle. Don’t leave anything behind in the plastic bottle, or it may impact the haze fluid.
Pour out ½ cup of glycerin into the plastic cup. This amount, when mixed with water, will give you around 25 percent. You can reduce it somewhat for a light fog or add a little more for fog that is dense.
Shaking the fog just right is key to having the solution mixed together. Ensure you place the cap on the bottle before you start shaking, and then shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Look inside the plastic bottle, and you’ll see that it’s now a cloudy mixture.
Test out your fog mixture in the machine and see if any adjustments need to be made. Fog that is too light can have more glycerin added, and if it’s too thick you can add some more distilled water. Experiment with it, and you’re sure to eventually find the perfect blend for your fogging needs!
Unused fog juice can be stored in a sealed container for up to 18 months but needs to be discarded after this time.
How to Make Scented Fog
Scented fog can be very useful for setting the mood at a party or event. To make scented fog, you can simply add a bit of essential oil to the fog juice you just created. The ratio is usually 1/2 tbsp of oil per 1 liter of fog juice. Here’s a quick look at the best oil for fog juice to use if you want to create different recipes for fog juice.
- Rain oil
- Cotton candy oil
- Anise scented oil
- Pumpkin oil
- Cedar oil
- Tall grass oil
- Baby oil
- Campfire oil
How to Make Homemade Fog Juice For Falling Fog
Next, we’re going to share the secrets for making fog that falls to the ground to create a thick, swampy layer all over your floor. Remember to keep the room at a cold temperature or the fog won’t settle as well on the bottom. The fog will start to rise as soon as it increases in temperature.
For this type of fog juice, you’ll need the following items:
- 5 – 10 Pounds of Dry Ice
- Distilled Water
- A metal, plastic, or styrofoam container
- A kettle (Unnecessary if you have a dry-ice fog machine)
- 10-gallon container
You should buy dry ice close to when you want to use it because the solid carbon dioxide turns into gas when it warms up. Since this product naturally evaporates, you will likely lose 5 – 10 pounds of ice per day even if it’s stored well. Buying extra will ensure that you have enough.
Store your dry ice in an insulated container like a thick styrofoam cooler and layer it with crumpled paper to keep the cold trapped inside. Keep the container closed and store it in a cold area or in the freezer until you need to use it.
Steps For Making Fog Juice That Fall
Once you have gathered all of the accessories and containers you need, you can get to work and make your own dry ice fog.
In these steps, we’re not going to use a dry ice fog machine. We’re going to show you the steps for making a homemade batch of fog in a small container.
Before you get started, it’s best to work in a well-ventilated room. Don’t allow pets or small children in the room for too long. Dry ice is carbon dioxide in frozen form.
As it warms up, it will evaporate to create lots of carbon dioxide in the room. Carbon dioxide is not extremely toxic but inhaling too much of it for a while could deprive you of the oxygen your body needs to survive and may result in fainting or even suffocation in extreme cases.
Before you get started, you should put on your gloves. Frozen carbon dioxide is extremely cold and will instantly freeze anything that comes in contact with the substance. Handling dry ice with bare hands can result in freeze burns on your skin.
First, we need to heat up the water to about 180 degrees F or 82 degrees C. You can boil the water in a kettle and allow it to cool a bit. The water temperature should linger at about 49 – 82 degrees C but if it drops below 49 degrees C, the fog will become weak. On the other hand, if the water is too warm, the vapor will start to rise up instead of collecting at ground level.
Once the water reaches an ideal temperature, you can measure out 4 – 8 gallons and pour the hot tap water into a container. It’s a good idea to place the container on a tea light or on a hot plate to keep the water hot.
Add about 1 pound of dry ice to the hot water every 2 – 3 minutes. The fog will immediately start to flow over the top of your container as it makes contact with the warm water.
You can direct the low-floating fog in any direction you like by using a light fan. Place the fan on the opposite side of the container and allow the fog to collect in a corner.
You have now successfully created dry ice fog with this simple ingredient.
Things to Keep in Mind
Although it seems fun to make your own fog juice, there are some things you need to keep in mind. The most important is that you are mixing liquids together which can be harmful, so always keep the solution stored away from children. Don’t keep it for too long, and try to discard any fog juice that you don’t end up using.
Before you attempt to use your own DIY fog juice in your machine, check the manufacturer’s warranty. In most cases, professional fog machines will have a stipulation that voids their warranty if you use any other fog juice than one that’s been certified.
Although the fog that emerges from a smoke machine may look dangerous, it’s just vapors and not actual smoke. Eventually, the water will disperse into the room and evaporate so it can’t do any harm. Just keep everyone away from direct contact with it, and you’ll be fine.
How to Distill Your Own Water
When you distill water, you are basically just removing all the minerals that could cause the pipes to build up and clog on the fog machine. It’s important that the water is distilled so that this is not an issue inside your machine.
To distill your own water, follow these simple directions:
- Fill a stainless steel pot halfway with tap water
- Place a glass bowl in the water. You want to make sure that the bowl floats and does not touch the bottom of the pot. To accomplish this, you can place a round baking rack in the bottom of the pot.
- Before moving on, make sure the water in the pot is boiling. You need the water to be boiling in order to boil off chemicals.
- Next, you need to create a condensation effect with a hot and cold barrier. Invert the lid of the pot you are using and fill it with ice. When you do this, the steam will hit the cold lid and create the condensation you need.
- As the water continues to boil in the pot, more steam will rise, and that steam will condense on the lid of the pot and then drip into the bowl. Allow this process to continue until you have enough distilled water in the bowl.
While it may seem like an involved process, it really isn’t. All you need is a stainless-steel pot with a lid, a round baking rack that fits the bottom of the pot, a glass bowl, tap water, ice, and some time. Patience is key – especially if you need to have a good amount of distilled water at your disposal.
Other Ways to Make Fog
If you haven’t purchased a new fog machine yet, you don’t have to go without the fog effect for your next party. You can get some dry ice and put it in a Styrofoam container and then add hot water. Be careful when handling dry ice, however, because it can give you frostbite.
You also want to wear gloves and make sure that no animals or children are in the vicinity. When doing this, you are creating extra carbon monoxide in the room, so always make sure to be in a very well-ventilated area.
For a handy guide to handling dry ice, check out this video demonstration.
To be safe, you can always do some research and find the best fog machine for your needs that stays within your budget.
Alternative: Top Fog Machine Brands
If you’ve read through our guide and still aren’t convinced, then the store-bought option is always there! Our main concern is making sure that you do what’s best for you. And if you’d prefer store-bought fog machine juices, then here are some brands we’d recommend:
Froggy’s Fog is a top name in fog machine juices, and has been so for many years. Froggy’s has developed a reputation for quality juices, and they make varieties for all sorts of different fogs. From high-density, to low-lying, to a simple haze, you can find it with Froggy’s.
There’s always a temptation to go with “budget” options for products such as this. After all, how much difference could it possibly make? Well, to put it bluntly, a big difference. Quality fog juice vs. budget stuff will make a huge difference in the quality and appeal of your fog.
Top brands use formulas that are safe for humans, and also that won’t stain or damage materials upon touching them. Froggy’s uses pharmaceutical grade chemicals in their fog juices, and everything is approved by the FDA.
If you don’t believe us, check out this video demo. Froggy’s fog is thicker, fuller, and much more noticeable than the budget brand.
Chauvet is another top name in the fog machine space. Chauvet makes not only fog juices, but also makes high quality fog machines. Simply put, they know what they’re doing. Their attention to detail is noticeable, and it permeates everything they make.
Their fog juice comes in a few varieties. It is all relatively well priced, and all high-quality. No matter which variety you choose, you can trust that it will achieve the desired effect. From a thick fog to a light haze, it’s achievable with quality fog juice.
Chauvet takes care to manufacture all their juices with non-toxic, non-hazardous ingredients, that won’t harm anyone or cause any damage to the areas it touches. Many of their juices are unscented as well.
It’s worth noting that fog juice is not “one size fits all”. You need to be sure that the juice you buy is rated for the machine you have. Improper fog juice can damage a fog machine.
Finally, we have FogWorx. There isn’t much to say about FogWorx that we haven’t already said about the brands above. They’re simply a high-quality manufacturer of fog juices, and all their juices produce the desired effect.
Our favorite offering of theirs is the Extreme High Density juice. If you’re looking for a fog juice that is as dense as it gets, this is the one you want. It creates a heavy layer of fog to really add that noticeable effect to any party or event. It’s optimized for many different machines, but it’s still worth checking whether it’s compatible with yours. Made in the USA with pharmaceutical grade chemicals, we can’t recommend this one enough.
Uses for Fog
If you’re still unsure whether or not making fog juice is worth the trouble, we’ll attempt to give you some inspiration in this section. Before we wrap up the article, let’s check out some common uses of fog for you to consider:
Fog machines are perhaps most popular around Halloween. Fog is mysterious by nature, and is great for capturing the spooky essence of the Halloween season. Halloween parties, Halloween decoarions, and you can even use it to spice up a haunted house display.
Using a fog machine is a great way to obscure what lies beyond the fog, which makes it the perfect addition and great finishing touch to any Halloween party or another similar event. You can create a spooky scene quickly and easily while blocking what you don’t want people to see.
Of course, fog machines are more than just decoration. They’ll also add excitement and variety to any experience. Fog machines are popular for weddings, concerts, bars & clubs, house parties, and everything in between.
Fog machines have the ability to transform a space into something full of atmosphere and mystery, and they’re a great addition to any party. Making your own fog liquid for these parties can be a great DIY project as long as you’re aware of the risks, and you understand all the steps involved.
Fog is also quite popular as a special effect in various performances. Theatrical fog is quite common to accentuate stage shows, and is a popular way to add high-quality special effects on a budget.
Fog is also used prominently in concerts, DJ shows, sporting events, anywhere else that can benefit from a quick burst of excitement.
That’s not all! Fog has found usage in many things beside these popular uses. It can be used in industrial settings to detect leaks. It can be used to train firefighters by acting as simulated smoke. It is even used prominently by photographers.
We could go on and on! But for even more detail on this, check out our full guide to fog.
Thanks for checking out our guide to DIY fog juice for your home. As you can see, it’s easy and straightforward, as long as you have a careful attention to detail and a strict accordance with safety precautions. With practice and care, you’ll be able to whip up a fresh batch whenever you need it!
Always check the warranty on your device and follow the instructions when making your own just so that you can continue to use your fog machine safely.
Fog Liquid FAQ
Can you create colored fog?
The best way to create colored fog is by using colored lights. You want to refrain from adding anything into the fog liquid because it can mess with the integrity of the fog.
Can I use low lying fog juice in a regular fog machine?
If you are currently using a ground fog machine, you should be using a low-lying fog juice to achieve the best results. However, regular fog juice will still work.
How long does fog liquid last?
Fog liquid typically has a shelf life of between 12 and 18 months. It should be stored in a heat-sealed container.
What is fog juice made out of?
Fog liquids are water-based and often also consist of propylene and glycol.
Chilled fog machines do, however, use other products to produce the fog. These machines can run on dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) compressed liquid CO2, liquid nitrogen, or liquid air instead of fog juice.
What are fog chillers?
A fog chiller is used when you want to achieve low-lying ground fog. To create this effect, you need to chill the fog liquid. When it gets cold, the liquid will get heavy and stay low to the ground. Chilled fog also tends to last longer because the fog evaporates as temperatures increase.
Does Fog Juice Leave Any Residue?
Fog juice can potentially leave residue, but mostly only when you buy or make a low-quality juice to load your fluid tank. Technically, all fog juice does leave some residue as it contacts a surface, but it shouldn’t be enough to notice or cause any damage. High-quality juices use materials that won’t leave noticeable stains or residue over time.
We hope that you enjoyed learning how to make your own fog juice and that this guide offered other practical tips and lots of homemade recipes to help you create the best special effects.
If you’re also on the market for quality fog machines or need other advice for buying and using these machines then you should have a look at some of our buying guides.
On GetFogMachine, our aim is to help you find the best fog machine products, fog juices, and fog matching methods so you can create masterly scenes and the best special effects.