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How to Make an Ice Lantern | A Fun Winter Craft

How to Make an Ice Lantern | A Fun Winter Craft
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Learning how to make an ice lantern takes a bit more time than constructing a lantern made of snow, but they last a long time if you don’t get a thaw. These sparkling ice lanterns cast a lovely light and are worth the extra work.

ice lantern
Materials to Make an Ice Lantern

  • a five gallon bucket
  • a two-liter plastic soda bottle
  • a sharp craft knife and scissors
  • a weight that will fit inside the bottle — a rock, chunk of brick, anything that weighs about three pounds will do.

Instructions to Make an Ice Lantern

1. Fill the bucket with about 4 inches of cold water and set on a level surface someplace outdoors. (Locating one of these in the middle of winter may be the hardest thing about making ice lanterns. The back porch is probably not as flat as you think.) Let it freeze solid.

Photo/Art by Alan Witschonke

2. Cut a small horizontal slit in the bottle an inch above the label (just above where it starts to taper). Using the slit as a start, cut off the top of the bottle with scissors and discard.

Photo/Art by Alan Witschonke

3. Set the soda bottle in the center of the bucket on the frozen bottom layer of ice and put the weight in the bottle. Add about 2 inches of water , being careful not to get any in the bottle.

Photo/Art by Alan Witschonke

4. When the second layer is frozen hard, add water to come within an inch of the top of the bottle. Again, make sure none gets inside the bottle.

5. Allow the water to freeze. At 0° F it will freeze overnight. You’ll know it’s done if you tilt the bucket and don’t hear any liquid sloshing from within it.

Photo/Art by Alan Witschonke

6. Remove the weight. Peel the flexible bottle away from the ice and remove. Run warm water over the outside of the bucket to free the ice lantern, or just set the bucket in a heated place for an hour.

Photo/Art by Alan Witschonke

7. Place a wide candle in the lantern or use a handful of snow to support a taper.

*NOTE: For a thinner surface of ice, try using a small bucket in place of the soda bottle.

Updated Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

One Response to How to Make an Ice Lantern | A Fun Winter Craft

  1. Mr Richard B Nieber January 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    I think my way is easier:

    I fill a plastic bucket with water
    let it freeze overnight
    turn the bucket over (may need some warm water to run over the outside to free it)
    now tip the ice on its side to drain the unfrozen center water
    add any candle and enjoy.

    If you use a small bucket, set it out early in the day and watch that it doesn’t freeze all the way through. You need to keep and unfrozen center.

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