The blog of author Dennis Cooper

How to Build a Fog Machine *

* (restored)


How to Build a Fog Machine
by Allen

‘This is our home-made fog machine. It uses the same regular fog juice used in store-bought fog machines. You can buy the juice from Terror by Design, Spencers, or party/theatrical supply stores (check your yellow pages). You can also make your own juice. It’s less expensive, but there may be legal issues if the general public is going to breathe your fog. According to the Halloween-L archives: “For fog juice, mix 15% to 35% glycerin to distilled water. Experiment, the less glycerin you use the cheaper and cleaner your fog will be but it will also be lighter and not last as long.” You don’t have to use distilled water with my fog machine design because there’s no heat exchanger to get clogged. You can get small amounts of glycerin at a drug store, or larger amounts from restaurant supply companies.

‘A piston air pump (bought at the local surplus store for $5) squirts the juice onto an inverted, disassembled iron (bought at a garage sale for $1). The iron is on all the time. It’s held above the juice by long bolts from the bottom of the box. The wooden box is sealed and waterproofed inside with a kind of paint called C.R.A.E. (Corrosion-Resistant Acrylic Enamel.) Any thick, waterproof paint will work. If you build something like this, be certain to keep enough space between the wood and the iron, you don’t want to start a fire! Any device like this should be thoroughly tested before being used unattended. Heat it up without juice in it to be sure it won’t burst into flames when it runs out of juice.

‘The juice is pumped into a metal tube 4 inches above the iron with several pin-holes in it to distribute the juice over the hot surface. The heat vaporizes the juice into fog. Fans (salvaged from an old computer) on both ends of the box blow the fog out the front of the machine. Unvaporized juice runs back down into the reservoir. The intake for the pump is a metal tube glued to the side of the box with water-proof epoxy. It’s bent 90 degrees at the bottom and the end is covered with a screen to keep little bits of junk out of the pump.

‘The pump is mounted on the back of the box so it will be cooled by the flow of air. The fan and pump run on 12v, and the iron plugs in of course. A 15 foot control wire allows the operator to turn the fans on and off and the squirt the juice.

‘We built this machine back when the cheapest fog machines were $300. Today, small machines can be bought for as little as $30. Unless you’ve already got all the parts in your junk box, or can get them second hand, it might not be worth it to build this machine.

‘This type of fog will not hang close to the ground unless you cool it below the ambient air temperature. To create this desired effect, you need to build a fog chiller.’


How to Build a Chiller
by Scott

‘Parts: Cooler, Two 4″ dryer ducts (short sections), silicone caulk, tools to cut plastic, screen or netting, Flexible dryer hose, two 90 degree angle ducting, one 4″ to 2″ reduction ducting.

‘I built this out of a $15.00 Coleman cooler I got at Target the whole thing cost about $25.00. I started by marking the holes on the sides of the cooler to the size of the dryer duct and cutting them out. I first drilled holes around the line I marked then knocked out the plastic and foam core then smoothed up the edges until the dryer duct fit snug. I used silicone to seal the duct inside and out, it takes about 24 hours to cure. I then fitted netting around the inside of the dryer duct on both sides to prevent ice from falling out. I then put flexible dryer hose on one end and a set of 90 degree angle ducting pieces on the other. A reducing duct piece (4″ to 2″) will attach to the angle pieces. The 2″ end sits in front of the fogger nozzle and delivers the fog to the cooler and ice, then blows cool fog out of the dryer hose end creating a low lying fog.

‘I use regular ice from the corner liquor store and fill the cooler to the top with the ice sloping from the top to the bottom of the in/out ducts. This takes about three bags. The ice needs to be high enough to cause the fog to go through and around it, but not covering up the ducts. Some people may try dry ice in the cooler, I hear this works well. Enjoy.’


How to Make Clouds Indoors

‘Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde does something pretty unusual: not only is he a great cloud photographer, he’s making those clouds artificially in the Neuehouse studio in Manhattan. How? Based on the video above, it appears to use some sort of spray vapor and a fog machine. His exact method and what is in that mist isn’t shared, but the result looks like a typical fluffy cloud on a summer day… except it’s indoors.’ — Jason Schneider


How to Build a Mini-Fog Smoker
by Cameron

‘Fog machines consume “fog juice” to create smoke. That fog juice is made from a mixture of glycol and distilled water. Neither of those is difficult to obtain, but it’s easiest just to purchase the mixture from a local big box or Halloween store — both of which should have plenty of stock this time of year. That fog juice will evaporate and create smoky gas when it is heated up to a suitable temperature—around 200 degrees Celsius, so you just need a way to get it to that temperature.

‘For his build, GreatScott! used nichrome wire, which is used in a wide variety of devices that need to heat liquids. For example, you’ll find nichrome wire in an e-cigarette heater coil. It may also be possible to use other materials, like copper wire. That just needs to be connected to a suitable power supply to heat up. GreatScott! wrapped the nichrome wire around a wick, which pulls fog juice up out of a 3D-printed container. A fan blows the fog out of the enclosure, and an Arduino measures the fog juice level with a water level sensor and controls the wire and fan. GreatScott! does note that it may be possible for the vapor to be toxic, so be sure to investigate the safety requirements for the fog juice before building this fog machine.’


Ten Magical Results




p.s. Hey. ** Shane Christmass, Hi. Thanks for the input, man. ** _Black_Acrylic, I remember that about your dad. He is so cool. ** Dominik, Hi, big D!! Cool, and I’ll keep my left hand distorted and monsterfied in anticipation. Yes, I saw the Arca is upcoming, and I’m down obviously. I’m going to try to see if the Kaulitz post is salvageable today. I think I like teen idols better when they can’t sing. It makes them more … real or something? Like the ‘good old’ days when, say, Eddie Furlong could take a stab at being a pop star a la, say, ‘Will You Love Me When I’m Old’, which was actually a huge hit in Japan. Nice walk you had. Today … I’m going to see Gisele for the first time since the quarantine started, and work on some stuff. It’s pouring rain, so indoors seems cosier than usual. Tone deaf karaoke’rs rule. Have you ever karaoke’d? Not me, but if I drank more I might take a stab at ‘Will You Love Me When I’m Old’. How was your 24? Love strong enough to keep Eddie Furlong from becoming fucked up and obese. ** David Ehrenstein, Yes, I remember your personal bad shit with Cecil Taylor, but, boy, was he a genius with a piano. Ha ha: the Davis and Taylor diva war. ** Tosh Berman, Thanks, Tosh! ** Sypha, Hi, James. I think Gira must have felt somewhat like we do about ‘The Burning World’ since he dropped that musical shift like a hot potato. ** Bill, Hm, well, like I said, I played that game online, oh, two or so weeks ago? I haven’t retraced back to that site but I’ll try again. Oh, shit, I would love to go that store. If it’s in San Diego that could be an easy side trip next time I get to LA if the US/virus ever allows that again. Thanks! ** Ian, Hi, Ian. Well, all thanks to maestro Jeff. I hope you have or are already having a lovely day. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T. Tick, tick, tick … tomorrow. Well, already, but locally tomorrow. Enjoy everything, man. ** Jeff J, Surprise! Yeah, I came across that post and thought, why the hell is this dead? So good. ‘Akerman par Akerman’ is wonderful, yeah. I think there’s a pretty big comprehensive Akerman DVD/Blu Ray boxset here in France, and I think Zac has it. I hope your new drummer was up to speed, and I hope the blog lets you see yesterday’s commentary. I will never understand that glitch or why it continues unabated. ** EM, Hello, EM. Welcome to here, and it’s very nice to see you. Thank you very much for the link to that interview. I read it when I was coffee-ing this morning, and that does quell the nerves a bit. Yes, Context was also great! Amazing that some are online as pdfs. Thanks so much. Everyone, the great Dalkey Archive Press used to publish a fantastic print journal called Context full of crucial and fascinating things. EM informs us that a bunch of the issues of Context are available online as pdfs, and that’s a serious treasure trove right there. Highly recommended that you check out the booty. Here. I did not know that about the botched Gaddis book. Jesus. But excellent news about the NYRB Classics reprintings! Yeah, thank you yet again very, very much. Please feel more than free to come back any old time. Take care. ** Steve Erickson, There’s real resurgence of interest in free and experimental jazz these days too, but I don’t know if it’s a ‘popular’ interest. I’ll look for that Clark film. Nice that Refn actually does things of real value. ** Misanthrope, Sad story. But people are tough. They can adjust to anything. In most cases. Once/if the US allows me back in or France allows people here to go there, I’ll try to find my mom’s storage space. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. Jeff’s here, but he couldn’t see comments yesterday due to the blog’s Twilight Zone-like problem, but he probably will be able to see them today, again because of said Twilight Zone-like problem. You are very welcome to do a post on the harpsichordist or any music subgenre you wish, sir. Thank you for the tip, man. It’s squarely on my radar now. I’ll check the guy’s site. ‘Hipster Jazz’ is kind of the worst possible kind of dismissive term. Scares me off. I know I’ve had Moebius on the blog, but I will need to check if he’s had whole post to himself. Possibly. Contemporary pop stars do sing more conventionally ‘well’ than their earlier predecessors for the most part due in large part no doubt to the, yes, development of auto tune and such things. But it’s true that a bunch of teen pop stars of my youth would never get recording contracts much less hits with the singing voices that they had. Well, the afterword is just Zac and I blathering and gushing in the general area of the topic of the novel, and it could still be cut, I assume, ha ha, oops. No Chipotle yet. They haven’t yet re-earned my trust. Any day now though. I’m going to be in the Marais this afternoon, and I might just pick me up some bourekas because I know exactly where to find them. **  Right. Some strange whim lead me to restore this goofball post that might not necessarily deserve to be alive, but what’s done is done. See you tomorrow.


  1. Scunnard

    Hi Dennis, haha never know when a day like this might come in handy? How you doing with everything these days?

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Today is perfect for my pal Jerry Cuttner who is OBSESSED with fog images and has been posting them on Facebook for days.

  3. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Cool. I think you’ll be allowed back in…in 2098. 😛 Kidding.

    Yeah, people are pretty resilient. That’s a plus in most cases. My cousin actually called last night and talked to my mom for hours. She usually comes over every other weekend but hasn’t in a couple months because of the lockdown. When she was a little girl and teenager, she spent most weekends and all summers and holidays with us. Almost like a little sister, you know.

    Fog machine day reminds me of growing up and the mom of my best friend at the time. Anytime there was an event at school or elsewhere -field day, birthday party, etc.- she’d always be like, “Well, I can bring dry ice and that’ll keep the drinks cold for hours…” Thing is, she never did it. Always brought it up and never delivered. I don’t know why I remember that, but I think it’s pretty funny.

    Have a good weekend.

  4. Armando


    How are you? How’s your day going so far?

    I just had a bit of a fun time insulting that abysmal, misandrist, useless, imbecilic; waste of oxygen, space and water anti-writer stephen king on twitter, lol.

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Today was kind of big in that I talked on the phone to the main guy in charge of MS-related stuff at Ninewell’s Hospital in Dundee, someone I’ve only spoken to a couple of times in all the years I’ve been living there. He’s a cool bloke, it’s just the way it’s worked out I guess. Anyway the whole COVID situation has turned everything upside down for the NHS, not a surprise, and my usual treatment of a monthly jab with Tysabri will hereby finish. They’ll have me on some other drug to improve mobility and that all starts on my return to Scotland, whenever that might be. I did get the inside scoop that the Scottish NHS are looking at the UK Government response to the pandemic and thinking WTF is going on. Chaos, it seems. Anyway I’m still self-isolating here in a corner of the attic which is fine by me.

  6. chris dankland

    i enjoyed the 10 magical results videos at the end, hehe — i always thought that the way clouds and smoke move is one of the most beautiful things. thanks for putting it together 🙂

    hope u have a good weekend !!

  7. John Christopher

    Dennis! Hi. Did you see the new inquiry published like, a round table discussion on The Sluts recently? Maybe you already saw that. It seemed to hit too close to home for poor Sean Ford. Did you read it? Or maybe that’s gross, reading stuff about you, reading your own stuff. Clarice Lispector said reading her own work was like eating her own vomit. Anyway I know you’re into Mark Morrisroe and my class and I are publishing a magazine with some of his Dirt zine covers and stuff. They might be ones you’ve already seen but we selected like 5 so maybe there will be something new to see. He was so great. Ever see his films? Oh the magazine is coming out soon online, I can post a link here if you’re interested, if anyone’s interested. We called it Dirty so that’s why we wanted Mark. And that’s cool that you got to speak with the guy from the Bresson film. I knew his actors were non-actors but I didn’t know he never worked with the same one more than once. I’ve just been watching Dracula over and over again and missing Natalie my best friend. She loves Frankenstein. What have you watched? I’ll watch it too.

  8. Bill

    Ha, good to see this revived. I love fog machines. I’ve spent some horrific number of hours trying to get decent smoke/fog simulations.

    Hmm, interesting you played Wallpaper online just a few weeks ago! If you find the link, I’d definitely jump on it.

    Things are barely starting to reopen around here. I think we’ll have outdoor restaurant tables this weekend. Given the less than inspiring California COVID numbers, I’d say our super-cautious approach is not a bad thing.

    Did you hear Sean Ford was arrested in the NYC protests last week? His secret boyfriend stock just keeps rising, in my book.


  9. Steve Erickson

    I’m still suffering from the Twilight Zone effect too. My computer crashed today, and I thought that when I reloaded this blog, I might be able to see the day’s comments, but nothing showed up.

    I’ve started watching HANNIBAL on Netflix. At this point in the first season, it’s an arty, gory police procedural, but I’ve heard a lot of praise for the later seasons, where it turns into a gay love story between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.

    The Criterion Channel added most of Akerman’s films at the beginning of June. Criterion has come to define the arthouse canon for too many people, with the result that the ’70s Akerman films they’ve released chart in critics’ polls, while TOUTE UNE NUIT or THE GOLDEN EIGHTIES remain obscurities. Now those are more widely available. The channel has also been going out of its way to showcase African-American filmmakers in the past 2 weeks, and I wonder if that’s gonna lead to a lasting change in Criterion’s physical releases down the road. Judging from Letterboxd, more people have probably seen Agnes Varda’s BLACK PANTHERS in the past week than at any time since its original release.

  10. Corey Heiferman

    This post brings back fond memories of my high school physics class. The teacher set up a fog machine and lasers in his room so we could do experiments with various mirrors and lenses. One year he brought out the fog machine just for kicks on Halloween and set off the fire alarm. Other fond memories of laser tag as a kid. I’ve always enjoyed the smell too.

    Do you have an ideas about learning French? I’ve been dipping into it recently. My goals are to be able to get around and to read.

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