BL Workshop

How to build an igloo

The best-known snow shelter is the igloo. A brilliant use of engineering and resources, this simple dome made out of snow blocks is both strong and versatile.


Arctic cultures such as the Eskimo and the Inuit developed it, and over time they came up with a hundred tricks to make the shelter more comfortable and sturdy, including making the entrance small (to help keep heat in) and melting the inside of the dome and letting it refreeze (for increased strength).

The earliest reference of igloo use came from the Vikings, who settled parts of Greenland and explored the eastern Canadian coast about a thousand years ago. They found natives living in igloos, but didn’t use them themselves because they considered the technology inferior.

History has proven otherwise, as the Vikings lasted for only about four centuries in the harsh climate of Greenland, while the native peoples are still carving igloos from the landscape today. Six hundred years after the tough Vikings were defeated by the tougher weather of the Little Ice Age, Boy Scouts still use the design of the igloo to keep warm.


igloo1Diameter: Not to exceed 10 feet. Anything bigger would require a perfect dome, which is next to impossible to construct in the field.

igloo2Materials: Top layers of dry powder won’t work. Pack mounds of snow until they harden, or cut blocks of snow from the depth where your feet stop sinking.

igloo3Entrance: Build a door in the ground, about 18 inches lower than the ground inside the igloo, and tunnel below the wall into the igloo. For proper ventilation, never seal or close the entrance.

igloo4Walls: Cut the blocks into a spiral layer, leaning one block against the next. Keep the interior wall smooth so moisture can run down the side of the wall, instead of dripping from the ceiling. Include a vent hole to allow for better circulation.


Comments about “How to build an igloo”

  1. scouter123 says:

    Cool, when you have snow.

  2. tigertug8 says:

    wish we had more than 2 inches of snow :(

  3. Anonymous says:

    COOL! But no snow in GEORGIA:(

  4. ChesseButterBall says:

    That is a amazing igloo. It shows how well it is made.

  5. Spykid 360 says:

    I agree with snowbird to. I really want to make a snow cave! It’s almost Chrismas! What do you guys think?

  6. snowbird says:


  7. bob says:

    it snowed 6 inches in my city

  8. Anonymous says:

    Girls can do it too

  9. Jordyn & Rick says:

    Really nice to know! Good effort.

  10. Sam says:

    Tried this with my brother it works nice and warm inside

  11. kaka po po ka ka ka popo says:

    cool it works me and my sis did it and it looks so cool

  12. Thebpower says:

    That would probably work if it snowed more than 2 inches here!

  13. Michael says:

    That’s so cool

  14. snowbuilder says:

    I kinda need 22” of snow for that.

  15. lightening says:

    looks hard to make if you only get up 2 2ft of snow :)

  16. scienceman100 says:

    awsome works great i love i do it every winter

  17. awesome geek says:

    Awesommee! Dude best igloo making guide ever!! Whhoo hoo

  18. Alex2cool says:

    Cool, it seems to keep your body heat in it

  19. mamafish says:

    My boys used 1 gal ice cream buckets packed full of snow to build their igloo and it was so great the local paper published a picture of it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I hope OH gets a little more snow this year so that I can try this.

  21. pink and purple says:

    That would be awesome(:

  22. epic says:

    it’s AWESOME!

  23. knuckles says:

    i cannot wait to try this!

  24. hbugger says:

    it is awesom that we get snow in Mi

  25. Ginja Ninja says:

    I would like to try it if we ever get enough snow Here in RI.

  26. Cheese Greater says:

    I wish there was more snow here in Minnesota so I could try this

  27. 2 class says:

    Awsome, I used it and it worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. GoldenDragon says:

    I wish it snowed in TX more. I would like to try it.

  29. vodoo says:

    never tryed it before:]

  30. TheTrainkinzbranch says:

    It snows alot here in MA

  31. terminator says:

    Doesnt everyone wish there was snow in FL then on some days we wont have any school and only a whole day of playing in the snow and just having some fun

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