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. kiss says:

    wow this is awesome

  2. scout373 says:

    looks awesome, but real hard. (plus, when will you get that much snow?!)

  3. 44128 says:

    ive heard of making one out of plastic milk bottles

  4. jose says:

    NEED GAME!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    my dad and i built a huge igloo last week we put a blanket in side and my two dogs used it like a dog house

  6. irock says:

    its confusing

  7. avery says:

    it is cool

  8. GEAR MAN says:

    I thinks it’s really nice to have 5 feet of snow on your lawn to practice building these snow shelters!

    That’s right: 5 feet!


  9. GEAR MAN says:

    A really helpful thing to have is a snow saw. They really help when you build an igloo, or any other winter camping shelters. Igloos are kind of harder to build, but are pretty cool.

  10. G says:

    I started mine yesterday

  11. hello says:

    i`v never made an igloo but i made a snow cave out of really large snow balls

  12. camper man says:

    in ohio my back and front yard is like 2 feet deep!!!!!!!

  13. hawk says:

    its winter in il but its to dry

  14. Troop 188 says:

    works like an angel

  15. England says:

    i am gonna try that but without the underground tunnel
    lol lol

  16. igloomasrer525 says:

    i am trin 2 make one but i cant

  17. monkey says:

    me and my mum have started our igloo

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m building one right now. And they are hard. But funnnnn. :)

  19. scottish boy says:

    it was snowing lots in scotland and i had about 1 meter of snow in my back garden and i cleared a big space in my back yard and i managed very easily and im only 14 when ever you have snow do it it didnt take me long about 30-60 mins.
    i found it very fun but cold lol

  20. rrttt says:

    i done it

  21. cool dude says:

    i watn to try one of these

    • robert says:

      so do i. i just make a big pile of snow and dig a hole then ho-lo it out

      • burntboy#1 says:

        Thats what I do.

      • majestic manflower says:

        who doesnt do tht? lol tht how simple ppl like us feel like weve actually acomplished sumthin

      • Awesome says:

        My friends and I did that but, when we came back from winter break the entrance had colapced just enogh so we couldn’t get back in! And we still have some stuff in there! We tried to break the wall down but, it had turned to ice! Gotta wait till spring!

  22. Andy says:

    you need a lot of snow to do that

  23. igloo man says:

    um sounds cool but hard so i started one and these tips will help me later i guess (:

  24. eL33t says:

    how much does it need to snow before i can make a proper igloo? (feet)

  25. bsa life scout says:

    I really want to try it!

  26. LifeScouter says:

    If only I was able to get that much snow at home!!!!

  27. Dave-09 says:

    It sounds impossible!

  28. cool dude5000 says:

    my brother thinks its boring.

  29. cool dude5000 says:

    its sounds cool!

  30. callduty5 says:


  31. Wise One says:

    confusing, but cool;)

  32. The Joker 2 says:

    so awsome

  33. Anonymous says:


  34. grgfdfgfdfg says:


  35. ok says:

    were it slants put an even block even to the one to the left of it

  36. Zog says:

    Can’t wait for it to snow.

  37. cowntdowgylaw says:

    I really want snow

  38. kofo898 says:

    sounds confusing

  39. Bionicle99 says:

    I’ll make one as soon as possible and use it in a snowball fight!

  40. BMX RIDER says:

    Awsome & lil chily

  41. PlatypusGuy says:

    It will make a great fort.

  42. the best swimmer says:

    and about how long does this take

  43. harderhusky says:

    im gonna biuld this in camp

  44. awesomedudeiceman479 says:

    i cant wait to try this the next time there is snow

  45. Eragon15 says:

    I prefer quinzees

  46. Eragon15 says:

    I would probably get claustrophobic if I had to sleep in an igloo.

  47. snowboardman says:

    i wish it was winter already

  48. Dall says:


  49. Austin says:

    cooi but not cool a nuff

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