Design & DIY

How to build an igloo

While some of our American neighbours may believe all Canadians live in igloos, it simply isn’t true. In fact, many Canadians don’t even know how to build an igloo. But with enough snow it’s pretty easy. Here are the steps you’ll need to whip up a backyard igloo in a snap (well, it will actually take awhile and a ton of work, but it’ll be worth it).


Snow is important. Really important. You’ll need a lot of it and depending on what kind of snow, you can use different techniques to build your igloo. In an ideal world you’ll be able to use a wood saw to cut blocks out of the snow on your lawn. This kind of snow comes from a combination of cold temps and layering, but it is rare. The more common way (which also involves more work), is by packing some sort of box with snow to form your own blocks. A blue box works perfect for this. Fill the box with snow, pack it in with your hands, then flip the box over, give it a couple of taps and voila! Depending on the snow, a blue box could be a bit heavy, so maybe try finding something about half the size.



To build a decent sized igloo that you can fit a bunch of friends in, make a base for your igloo by drawing a circle in the snow about seven feet in diameter. This will be the interior of your wall. Next, use your blocks and place them around this circle, filling in the gaps between blocks with loose snow.



Once you have that first level of blocks down, grab a wood saw, a snow saw or a nice long serrated knife and start cutting. The goal here is to make the top of the blocks a spiral. So start making a horizontal cut on the top of the blocks. Gradually go from one block to the other around the circle so you have an angled top that goes from a full-height block all the way to the ground. When you get around to where you started cutting you’ll have one full sized block, beside one that has a triangular shape with a pointed end that is level with the ground. This is where you start your next layer of blocks. Lay blocks in around the spiral and slowly make the interior circumference a little bit smaller as you go upwards.

Topping off


As you get towards the top, adding blocks will get trickier and trickier. Working with a friend is best with one of you outside and one of you inside. The last block is the key to everything and it’s best to make a block as close to the right shape as possible. Have the outside person place it in the hole, the inside person can then guide the block in and fill with snow to hold it in place. Then using the saw, cut a small hole so the person inside can squeeze out. You’re done! Grab some candles, some friends and you now have the ultimate place to celebrate winter.




Images courtesy of Reddit and Colin Field.