How to Build a Fabulous DIY PVC Igloo for Holiday Parties or Photoshoots
Igloos on rooftop bars have been popping up all over the place this past year, and their popularity just continues to grow. On a recent getaway weekend to Nashville to see my sister Colleen, we went to the Bobby Hotel rooftop to enjoy some hot cider and cocoa drinks. The igloos can fit 6-8 people comfortably sitting, but if you are tall you can’t really stand up in them that easily.
This was the first time my husband had seen them in person, and when I said I wanted to buy one for photo and video shoots, he promptly said he could make a bigger one that cost half as much. Since they start around $1200, I was thrilled to hold him to this promise ;)
So we researched how to build a large scale version, and got to work building a 20-foot diameter igloo that could fit my giant family in my parents back yard for the holidays. I was giddy with excitement thinking about all of the fun we were going to have in there, and for all of the fun photo and video shoots.
Our Igloo Building process
After doing some research, we found this fantastic site - ziptiedomes.com - that made everything so dang easy with their patented design and software that calculates the dimensions for you!
We decided to order the 3v 3/8 dome “hubs only” kit. Then we got to work creating the struts ourselves from PVC pipes that would build a twenty-foot diameter igloo. And by ‘we’ I’m sure you can guess it was really mostly Mitch. My contribution was marking the struts then handing them off to Mitch to cut and drill holes in.
I then told my family we would be building an igloo in the backyard. You’d think my family would be used to my crazy ideas by now, but only my sister Colleen showed any initial excitement. Ugh. Typical…
When we arrived in Iowa and started to set up, my Uncle had stopped over with my cousins, and gave me the “you are building an igloo?” while simultaneously giving me the ‘here she goes again being crazy’ look. He initially said he’d only stay for about an hour to help. Well that quickly turned into the entire afternoon because everyone had a blast setting it up/ putting it together. When will my family realize that I have really ridiculously fabulous ideas!?
Set up time was about two and a half hours. Including adding the cover, which was two 20ftx20ft pieces of 6mm polyurethane sheet, taped together in the middle, then thrown over top. We tucked in the excess underneath the edges of the igloo. You can watch the entire Instagram highlight story of the build process HERE.
My uncle also called a friend who had leftover carpet from his spec home, which made this outdoor igloo even more fabulous! We put a layer of poly between the ground and the carpet. Now that construction was complete, it was time to decorate! I’ll link the items below. They are affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking through, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I used:
a snowflake light projector placed about 15 feet away outside to add some dimension to the igloo walls,
silver ornaments hung with fishing line from the ceiling
a red chaise lounge couch I had for photoshoots
5ft fake Christmas tree
indoor-safe portable heater
Decor, Fun, and video shoots
Now that the igloo was carpeted, heated, furnished, and decorated it was ready for family get-togethers and photo/ video shoots! My cousins and grandparents got to enjoy it, and my parents threw a New Year’s Eve party at their house where the guests loved partying in the igloo. (see my Dad ended up being the igloo’s biggest fan)
One of my favorite moments in the igloo was getting to shoot a wedding anniversary! I had the honor of capturing Stephanie and Ryan’s snowy wedding a year ago New Year’s Eve weekend, so it was so fun to celebrate their 1 year anniversary in the igloo. They ate their cake, toasted each other with champagne, and danced to their first dance song together. They also read their wedding day letters, as well as letters they wrote to each other for their 1 year. They are keeping the letter in a memory box, to read and enjoy every anniversary. (cutest. thing. ever.) Watch the video below!
Excited to make this a yearly winter tradition! What do you think? Would you build one?