After our family adventure in Seattle Snowmaggedon 2019, I want to teach you how to build an igloo.
This was a fabulous activity to do with the family. We not only had fun constructing it together, but the kids can continue to enjoy it until the snow goes away.
How to Build an Igloo – Materials Needed
- Lots of Snow
- Lots of Helpers – Many Hands Make Light Work
- Plastic Storage Bins – We had 11″ x 7.5″ x 5.5″ containers from IKEA. I added an Amazon affiliate link to one I think would work well. This is a great price for a pack of 10. You can feel good about organizing your house with them later.
How Do I Build an Igloo? – Step by Step Instructions
- Clear out a flat circle for where you’d want to build the igloo. My husband sat in the center and used his body and arms as a compass. He pushed and flattened snow the length of his arms. We estimate our circle was about 5.5 feet in diameter. The size isn’t specific as you can make the igloo bigger or smaller as you wish.
- Clear out a spot for the door as well. The inside of our opening was 20″ wide.
- Make snow bricks. Pack snow tightly in the plastic bins. Scoop the snow into the bin, push it down tightly into the bottom and corners. Then, continue adding snow and packing it down until you have a nice solid brick.
- Use these bricks to make the bottom layer of your igloo. Bricks are laid around the circle one next to the other all the way around. The door opening will also have bricks jetting out from the circular structure.
- In between each brick, pack loose snow in tightly to solidify the structure. The family worked together to bring our architect (dad) a combination of the bricks or loose snow as he requested.
- Once that bottom layer is done, stack the next layer of bricks in a brick pattern. Again, pack snow carefully in between each brick.
- The first 4 layers were stacked vertically. Starting at the 5th layer we began to slightly tilt the brick in. Continue to make sure snow is tightly packed in between each brick and the outer and inner part of the space between bricks which creates structure and strength, like mortar on bricks.
- The door is the part that comes together as a dome first. When it’s time, lean two together. Using your hands shave off a little between both bricks so they come together like a puzzle piece.
- Continue to build layers slightly tilting each layer a little bit more. The brick pattern will start to get of because the circumference of the circle is reducing. This is ok as long as you keep packing the empty spaces before moving to the next layer. Start the brick pattern on the opposite end each layer to keep as many gaps in the brick pattern as possible.
- Eventually you’ll get to the point where bricks cannot be placed flat because of the small size of the circle. The edges will hit, but the middle will leave a large gap or break. Just pack some snow on to the space where you’ll place the next brick. When the opening is small enough, take two bricks and shave them into a cornerstone shape, like an exaggerated bottle stopper. The bricks should go into the hole from the top, but not fall through the space. Then pack in the empty spaces from below gently and fill and pack more from the top. We had people hold their hands under the empty spots while we filled and packed from above until it held on its own. The dome is formed and now you can play!
How to Build an Igloo – Step by Step Picture Tutorial
How Long Does it Take to Make an Igloo?
There were 5 of us working on this igloo – 2 adults and 3 kids. We had 2 out of 3 kids working fairly consistently the entire time.
I think we began at around 10:30 AM. We finished the structure at 7:00 at night. There was a two hour break mid-day. Like I said, more hands make light work.
Yours is way more beautiful, but it Peter, John, Grace and Kivi a shorter amount of time to build their huge igloo than it took Shari and I to put together a puzzle!!!! I think they were done in about 3 hours!
Wow! That’s impressive. I think we needed bigger kids. It took us a long time. I should have been there doing a puzzle with you guys and sent my crew to help. I’m sure they would have done something epic!