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How to build an igloo

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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.

216 Comments on How to build an igloo

  1. to bild a igloo you need to have thick snow to bild a igloo. have good luck

  2. I want to try but my sister has to make a snow man SO I’ll get up eary.

  3. we never get snow in hawaii!!!

  4. if only texas got snow…

  5. i want snow

  6. First i need a lot of snow that is only if there is a snow storm in Ohio.

  7. It worked great, the under ground door was so cool, i even made some
    shelfs because i made my snow wall, brick things a foot thick

  8. It just snowed again and we already have tons of snow. We’re going to try this in a week or two.

  9. im just need to finnish the top

  10. wish i lived were there was snow

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