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Getting Crafty with Ice

1/13/22 – I do love a good cold snap. Something about having to cover every square inch of your skin in order to spend more than 15 minutes outside is something special. This past week the biting cold inspired me to get crafting with ice.

Growing up my grandma would make ice luminaries using an ice cream bucket and a coffee can weighted down with rocks as a mold. I didn’t have any coffee cans on hand, so instead I filled a Nalgene water bottle with dried lentils for weight, and placed it in the middle of the bucket that I then filled with water (the water bottle creates an air pocket in the middle of the bucket where the candle will eventually go). I then left the works outside overnight to freeze solid. In the morning I removed the lentils, filled the Nalgene with warm water and let the whole thing sit indoors until the water bottle and ice cream bucket could be smoothly removed from the ice (slowly running warm water over the outside of the bucket speeds up the process). If you want to get really fancy you can place things into the water before it freezes, for instance I placed some yarn in mine to add a little extra pizzazz when viewed in the daylight.

Next up, I tried my hand at using a balloon as a mold. This method required a little more finesse when it came to the timing of removing the balloon, but otherwise involved four easy steps.

  1. Fill a balloon with water.
  2. Place outside in freezing temperatures.
  3. Wait for the outer edges to freeze, but not too long that the whole thing freezes solid (ideally one side you don’t want frozen so you can easily insert a candle). Seven hours undisturbed in 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit seemed to work well.
  4. “Pop” the balloon and dump out the excess water.

Bing, bang, boom, you’ve got yourself an orb ice luminary! This one took me a couple tries to dial in the timing, but even my least successful attempts turned out pretty cool (pun intended).

The great thing about crafting with ice is that all you really need is water and freezing temperatures, anything else available after that is a plus. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop. Before you know it I’ll have enough luminaries to line all 24 miles of the Sawbill Trail. -Jessica