Igloo from Plastic Jugs

My husband Bob and I designed a new way to build an igloo from plastic jugs over the past two months for the Maker Faire NoVa. Most igloos from plastic jugs are put together with a hot glue gun, but Bob and I wanted to find a new method. In this episode, we’ll talk about what we learned and it even includes an interview with Bob – our first podcast guest ever!

We call our project the “Jugloo” combining the word “jug” and “igloo.”

Collecting Plastic Jugs

Thank you to the Starbucks at North Point shopping plaza for supplying almost all the plastic jugs that we used in this project!

Thank you sign to Starbucks at North Point Shopping plaza for collecting plastic jugs for our project
Thank you sign to Starbucks at North Point Shopping plaza for collecting plastic jugs for our project
Asking our friends for jugs
We also asked our friends and fellow Scouts to bring us clean jugs
Pile of plastic jugs in our living room
What our living room looked like for two months – a pile of plastic jugs

Why Our Igloo is Different

Every igloo made from plastic jugs that we researched was put together with a hot glue gun. We did not want to do that method because we wanted to build the prototype, make sure it worked, and then transport all the jugs to the Maker Faire to be built on site. We did not want to do all the gluing twice. So we experimented with using zip ties to put the igloo together and we got the build process down to about 2 hours (or less as we get more experienced.)

To attach the jugs with zip ties, we used a soldering iron to make 8 holes in each jug. The zip tie goes in and out of each pair of holes, then connects with another jug. This videos hows how fast the soldering iron makes the 8 holes in the jug. We put these marks on the jug with a marker glued to a box, but later we realized we could have skipped that step by taping the soldering iron to the box!

Putting holes in the jugs with a soldering iron
Putting holes in the jugs with a soldering iron – the fan blew away the smell

Building the Jugloo Prototype

Our first attempt was not successful. We duct taped the first row to the floor but the tape could not bear the weight of the jugs.

Our first Jugloo build attempt - which ended in collapse
Our first Jugloo build attempt – which ended in collapse
Collapsed Jugloo - unsuccessful first build attempt
Collapsed Jugloo – unsuccessful first build attempt

Then we came up with the idea support the structure with three garment racks. We already owned these racks because we use them to display Trashmagination’s banner. Here’s the link to the exact model if you want to replicate this project – https://www.target.com/p/metal-base-adjustable-single-rod-garment-rack-black-room-essentials-153/-/A-51688630.

Building the Jugloo roof from concentric circles
Building the Jugloo roof from concentric circles
Building the Jugloo successfully - hooray!
Building the Jugloo successfully – hooray! This shows how we put the roof on the garment racks and then build up from the floor until we can connect the walls to the roof

Transporting the Jugloo

We needed to drive all the jugs to George Mason University which was about 30 minutes from our home. We hoped to do it in one trip, and we were successful!

Carrying the jugs in large groups to our cars
Carrying the jugs in large groups to our cars
My car filled with milk jug "snakes" - testing to see how many we could fit
My car filled with milk jug “snakes” – testing to see how many we could fit
My son in the car surrounded by milk jugs on the way to the Maker Faire
My son in the car surrounded by milk jugs on the way to the Maker Faire

Building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire

Thank you to the Scouts and Scout leaders who helped!

Here are instructions prepared by Bob on how to build the Jugloo.

Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts building the Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Jugloo at the Maker Faire NoVa
Scouts from Troop 1577 at the Maker Faire with the Jugloo
Scouts from Troop 1577 at the Maker Faire with the Jugloo
View inside the Jugloo with some plastic caps on
View inside the Jugloo with some plastic caps on – Photo by my son

After the Maker Faire

My son did a presentation about the Jugloo at his school.

My son talking about the Jugloo at school during their "Passion Project" day
My son talking about the Jugloo at school during their “Passion Project” day – Photo by Hannah Converse (his English teacher)

Later this week, we are building the Jugloo at my son’s pre-school so they can have an Arctic party. After that, it would be great to find a nature center or other place which would like to host the Jugloo!

Jugloo Numbers

• There were 7 rows of 32 jugs to form the walls (224 jugs)
• The dome roof was made from 119 jugs in concentric circles.
• The entrance was three rows of 18 (54 jugs)
• So the total # of jugs was 397 for the Jugloo.

In terms of size, the cardboard base of the Jugloo is 9 feet across, so it’s just a little bit smaller than that inside. It was about four feet tall along the edges and five feet tall at the peak.

My daughter made a cute sign out of jugs. She wrote the letters for Jugloo and Troop 1577 on jugs with marker. So that used another 15 jugs. The total jug count was 412 jugs.

Other Igloos Made from Plastic Jugs

Every other igloo that we studied was put together with hot glue guns. These are great examples of that type of design.

Christian Midland School – the most helpful video because it gave numbers

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