Smoke Effects

Dry Ice can be used to create a very effective thick, ground-hugging fog great for parties, dance floors, boiling cauldrons fancy drinks and more. When dry ice warms up it cools the surrounding air and causes water vapor to condense, forming a cool white mist that sinks to the ground and stays there. If you put dry ice in a bowl of water this effect is multiplied many times over.

Depending on the effect you want you'll need different amounts of dry ice as seen below.
Punch Bowls
Punch bowls are the easiest effects to make, all you need to do is drop some dry ice in water and it will bubble and boil and make some fun smoke. Remember dry ice IS extremely cold and you should be very careful about reaching in and touching it without a glove. If you want to create a smoking punch bowl we recommend putting the dry ice in some kind of perforated container first so you can't accidently scoop it up and try to drink it.

Uses 1-2 lbs. for 10 minutes

Making a bubbling witches cauldron is the same as a punch bowl, with two exceptions. First you'll want to use more dry ice to get a more energetic reaction, and second you'll want to make sure your cauldron is closer to full so it's easier for the smoke to bubble out of the cauldron and course down the side. Check out this display made by Creative Eye Media.

Uses 3-5 lbs. for 10 minutes

Dance Floors and Grave Yards
If you want to cover the ground with flowing smoke that billows out from a location there are several easy options, each one will of course use more dry ice then either a punch bowl or a cauldron.

Multiple Cauldrons: You can create this effect by using several cauldrons full of dry ice that pump smoke out from different locations.

Dry Ice Smoke Machine: You can rent a professional dry ice machine such as a Pea Souper that is designed to automatically lower dry ice into how water, and simultaneously heat the water to create a better effect.

Smoke Machines and Dry Ice: Finally you could use a chemical smoke machine, and pump the smoke through a container full of dry ice too cool it so the smoke hugs the ground. Note with this solution the smoke is barely cold enough to stay on the ground so it works great for Halloween graveyard setups, but on a dance floor it gets kicked up into the air and doesn't hug the ground as well.

For videos of different amounts of dry ice producing smoke over different time periods check out the videos link for dry ice uses.

Food Storage

The primary use for dry ice is food storage and cooling. Dry Ice is a great way to keep perishable goods fresh when you're not at home. It lasts 5x longer then regular ice and when it sublimates it turns into a harmless gas and disappears, there's no melted water to make your sandwiches soggy! Freezing your food first is a great idea as the dry ice keeps it frozen and you can combine it with ice packs and gel packs to keep food fresh for a week or longer.

Separating dry ice from the food with newspapers or another insulator will help prevent freezer burn. For tips on how fast dry ice sublimates, and how to pack it for best effect check out our page on storage and melting. Additionally some shipping companies have recommended amounts of dry ice by weight and duration - here's an example from Continental Carbonic in the United States.


Dry Ice is great for science experiements and other fun ideas. Because dry ice is food safe it can be used for fun displays in cooking like this volcano cake!

Dry ice creates a fun water vapor that looks like smoke, look what happens when you combine that with soap!

Note this video was made by


Here's an example of combining a smoke machine with dry ice to get a great low lieing fog effect. The fog is pumped through a container holding dry ice to cool it down. Because cold air sinks you get this great low lieing fog effect!

Smoke Effects - Examples - 2 lbs from 0 - 20 minutes
Examples of exactly what dry ice looks like when left in hot or cold water to help you estimate how much you will want to use for yourself. Note that smoke is formed energetically enough for the first 10 minutes that it will bubble over the edge of your container, and the dry ice is almost completely melted after 20 minutes.

Hot Water : 0-1 Minutes Hot Water : 5-6 Minutes

Hot Water : 10-11 Minutes Hot Water : 15-16 Minutes

Hot Water : 20-21 Minutes Cold Water : 0-1 Minutes