How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

Imagine transforming your backyard into a winter wonderland by building your very own igloo. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of constructing an igloo using basic materials readily available. From gathering the necessary equipment to mastering the art of snow brick making, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create a cozy and impressive igloo right in your own backyard. So grab your warmest gear and get ready for a fun and unique winter project that will have your friends and family marveling at your craftsmanship. Let’s dig in and discover the secrets to building an igloo in your backyard!

How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

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Materials Needed

To build an igloo in your backyard, you will need the following materials:


The most important material you need for building an igloo is, of course, snow. Make sure you have an ample amount of snow available, as you will need it to create the walls and roof of the igloo.

Bricks or Blocks

You will need bricks or blocks made of snow to build the structure of the igloo. These snow bricks will serve as the building blocks for the walls of your igloo.


Water is essential to help the bricks or blocks of snow stick together and create a strong bond. Make sure you have a source of water nearby to wet the snow when assembling your igloo.


In addition to snow, you may also need ice to create a stronger structure. Ice can be used to reinforce the igloo or to create interlocking blocks, providing added stability to the walls.

Measuring Tools

Having measuring tools, such as a tape measure or ruler, can be helpful to ensure your igloo is symmetrical and to guide you in shaping each snow brick or block.

Snow Shovel

A snow shovel is a necessary tool to gather and relocate snow as you clear the area and gather snow for your igloo construction.

Ice Saw (optional)

While not essential, an ice saw can be useful for cutting blocks of ice or shaping ice bricks to incorporate into your igloo.

Winter Clothing

Since building an igloo typically takes place in cold weather, it is important to wear appropriate winter clothing to keep yourself warm and protected from the elements.

Tarps or Plastic Sheets

Tarps or plastic sheets can be used to cover your igloo and provide additional insulation from the outside elements, especially during the night or in extreme weather conditions.

Heating Source (optional)

If you plan on spending extended periods of time inside your igloo, especially during very cold weather, having a heating source, such as a portable heater or heat source, can make your experience more comfortable.

Choosing a Location

Before you start building your igloo, it is important to choose the right location. Consider the following factors:

Check Local Regulations

Check with your local authorities or homeowner’s association to ensure that building an igloo in your backyard is allowed and complies with any regulations or restrictions.

Consider Space and Size

Choose a location in your backyard that has enough space to accommodate the size of the igloo you want to build. Make sure there is ample room for both the igloo itself and access to it.

Choosing a Flat Spot

Select a flat area of your yard for building the igloo. This will provide a stable foundation for construction and ensure the igloo maintains its structural integrity.

Drainage Considerations

Avoid building your igloo in an area prone to water accumulation or poor drainage. Waterlogged snow can weaken the structure and compromise the stability of your igloo.

Proximity to Trees or Buildings

Be mindful of the proximity of trees or buildings to your chosen location. Falling branches or the weight of accumulated snow could pose a risk to your igloo and its occupants.

Preparing the Site

Now that you have chosen the location, it’s time to prepare the site for igloo construction. Follow these steps:

Clearing the Area

Use a snow shovel to clear the area of any existing snow or debris. Level the ground as much as possible to ensure a smooth surface for your igloo.

Creating a Base

Creating a sturdy base is essential for the stability and longevity of your igloo. Pack down the snow in the chosen location to create a solid base layer for your igloo construction.

Marking the Perimeter

Using stakes or sticks, mark the perimeter of the igloo on the packed-down snow. This will serve as a guide for the shape and size of your igloo.

Building a Foundation

Start building your foundation by packing snow inside the marked perimeter. Gradually shape the snow into a mound, gradually sloping upward and inward to form a roughly circular or dome-shaped base.

Gathering Snow

With the site prepared, it’s time to gather the snow you will need to build your igloo.

Choosing the Right Snow

The best snow for building an igloo is sticky and compact. Look for snow that has a higher water content, as it will be easier to shape and hold its form when constructing your igloo.

Collecting Snow

Use your snow shovel to collect snow from the surrounding area. Pile it up near your construction site, ensuring you have enough snow to build the walls and roof of your igloo.

Storing Snow

If you are unable to complete your igloo in one day, cover the collected snow with tarps or plastic sheets to protect it from the elements, such as wind or melting. Keep the stored snow in a shaded area to minimize melting.

How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

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Making Blocks or Bricks

To start building your igloo, you will need to shape the snow into blocks or bricks that will serve as the building materials.

Size and Shape

Decide on the size and shape of your snow blocks or bricks. Typically, rectangular or square shapes work best, as they are easier to stack and interlock.


Ensure that each snow block or brick is tightly packed and compact to provide a solid structure for your igloo. Squeeze out any excess air and water from the snow to achieve maximum compactness.

Creating Uniform Blocks

Use measuring tools to ensure the blocks or bricks are of uniform size. This will make it easier to stack and create a symmetrical igloo structure.

Creating a Bricks Mold (optional)

If you prefer uniformly shaped snow bricks, you can create a mold using a wooden or plastic frame. Fill the mold with snow, press it firmly, and then carefully remove the mold, leaving behind a perfectly shaped brick.

Building the Igloo

Now it’s time to start building your igloo! Follow these steps to construct your snow shelter:

Positioning the First Layer

Place the first layer of snow blocks or bricks around the perimeter of the foundation. Ensure that they are tightly packed and evenly spaced. This first layer will serve as the base for the rest of the igloo.

Stacking the Blocks

Begin stacking the snow blocks or bricks on top of the first layer. Make sure each block is positioned securely and interlocks with the adjacent blocks to provide strength and stability to the walls.

Curving the Walls

As you continue stacking the blocks, gradually curve the walls inward to create the characteristic dome shape of an igloo. Pay attention to the angle of the blocks to ensure a smooth and even curve.

Creating an Entrance

Leave an opening or entrance in one section of the igloo. This can be achieved by omitting blocks or bricks during construction or by carefully removing them after the igloo is complete.

Adding Additional Layers

Continue stacking additional layers of snow blocks or bricks until you reach the desired height for your igloo. Remember to overlap the blocks to create a strong bond between layers.

Creating a Ventilation Hole

To ensure proper airflow inside the igloo, create a small ventilation hole near the top of the structure. This will help prevent the accumulation of moisture and the risk of condensation.

Smoothing the Inside Walls

Once the igloo is complete, use a shovel or your gloved hands to smooth the inside walls. This will remove any loose snow and create a more comfortable and even surface.

Reinforcing the Structure

If desired, reinforce the igloo’s structure by embedding ice blocks into the walls. This will add extra strength and stability, especially in regions with wetter or heavier snow.

Adding an Insulating Layer (optional)

For added insulation and warmth, you can add an extra layer of snow or ice to the outside of the igloo. This can help retain heat and minimize heat loss from the interior.

How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

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Finishing Touches

Now that the main structure of your igloo is complete, you can add some finishing touches to enhance its appearance and functionality.

Trimming Excess Snow

Use a snow shovel or a saw to trim any excess snow from the exterior walls. This will give your igloo a neat and polished appearance.

Decorating (optional)

Get creative and decorate your igloo! Use colored water or food coloring to paint the snow bricks, or adorn the entrance with outdoor lights or ornaments to make your igloo stand out.

Creating Windows

To allow natural light to enter your igloo, you can carefully cut out small windows or openings in the side walls. Make sure to add a sheet of transparent material, such as plastic, to keep the cold air out while still allowing light to filter in.

Maintaining the Igloo

To ensure the longevity of your igloo and its functionality, regular maintenance is essential.

Clearing Snow Build-Up

After heavy snowfall, use a snow shovel or broom to clear off any accumulated snow from the roof and sides of your igloo. Excessive snow can add weight and strain to the structure, potentially leading to collapse.

Repairing Damages

Inspect your igloo regularly for any damages, such as cracks or weakened areas. If you notice any issues, reinforce the affected areas with additional snow or ice blocks to prevent further damage.

Preventing Melting

During warmer weather or when there is a risk of melting, cover your igloo with tarps or plastic sheets to protect it from direct sunlight and heat sources. This will help maintain the integrity of your igloo and prevent premature melting.

How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

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Safety Considerations

Building and occupying an igloo can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it is important to prioritize safety. Consider the following safety considerations:

Structural Stability

Ensure the structural stability of your igloo by regularly inspecting it for any signs of weakness or instability. If you notice any structural issues or shifting, reinforce the affected areas immediately.

Snow Conditions

Stay updated on weather conditions and the quality of the snow. Wet and heavy snow can increase the risk of collapse, while very powdery snow may not provide the necessary support for building a stable igloo.


Maintain proper ventilation inside the igloo to prevent the build-up of carbon dioxide and condensation. The ventilation hole should be unobstructed and regularly monitored.

Risk of Collapse

Do not climb or play on the roof of the igloo, as it can increase the risk of collapse. The roof should be treated as a load-bearing surface and kept clear of excess weight.

Avoiding Overexertion

Building an igloo can be physically demanding. Take breaks as needed and listen to your body to avoid overexertion or exhaustion. Pace yourself and work in teams if possible.

Cold Exposure

When working outside in cold weather, it is important to protect yourself from cold exposure. Dress in warm, layered clothing, wear insulated gloves, and cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Supervision for Children

If children are participating in the igloo-building process, ensure they are supervised at all times. Educate them about the potential risks and safety guidelines to follow.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to enhance your igloo-building experience:

Working in Teams

Building an igloo with the help of others can be both fun and efficient. Forming teams can make the process faster, especially when it comes to lifting heavy snow blocks or bricks.

Use of Tarps or Plastic Sheets

In addition to covering and protecting the igloo, tarps or plastic sheets can also be used to shape the snow bricks or blocks. Line the mold or frame with plastic before packing in the snow to easily remove the blocks for construction.

Creating a Tunnel

For added convenience and adventure, consider creating a tunnel entrance to your igloo. Dig a short tunnel leading to the main entrance, creating a unique and memorable experience for anyone entering the igloo.

Adding Colored Layers (optional)

Create a vibrant and eye-catching igloo by adding layers of colored snow. This can be achieved by using colored water or applying food coloring to the snow bricks before assembly. Let your creativity shine!

Igloos as Outdoor Shelters

Beyond being a fun winter activity, igloos can also serve as outdoor shelters. If properly constructed and maintained, they can provide a cozy space for outdoor enthusiasts during wilderness adventures.

Experimenting with Different Shapes

While the classic dome-shaped igloo is the most common design, feel free to experiment with different shapes and structures. Explore different architectural designs, such as triangular or hexagonal igloos, and let your imagination guide you.

Building an igloo in your backyard is an enjoyable and rewarding winter activity. By following these steps, considering safety precautions, and staying creative, you can create a cozy and unique snow shelter that will be the envy of your friends and neighbors. So gather your materials, recruit some friends or family members, and get ready to embark on a memorable igloo-building adventure in your own backyard!

How To Build An Igloo In Your Backyard

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