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Fire and Ice Luminaries

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How cool are these Fire and Ice Luminaries from Jessica Hill?  Made by freezing water balloons, these ice luminaries are perfect for parties and evening gatherings.  Try coloring the water before putting it in the balloon for a neat effect!

 Fire and Ice Luminaries

Materials:

  • 1 package of 3 punch balloons from the dollar store
  • 1 package of 3 LED tea lights from the dollar store
  • Bowls
  • Small cylinder (shot glass, pop bottle, etc.)
  • Water
  • Freezer or below-freezing outdoor temps

 

Instructions:

  1. First, stretch the opening of one punch balloon over your faucet. The punch balloons are thicker than normal party balloons, so they can take quite a bit of stretching and snapping.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries
     
  2. Turn on the faucet and let the water pressure fill the balloon to your desired size. My lanterns were about 6-8 inches in diameter.
     
  3. Pinch off the opening of the balloon and wrap the attached rubber band around the neck of the balloon (like a ponytail) to temporarily tie it off. This will take a little finesse. The water in the balloon won’t want to stay in there, so it will try to spout back at you.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries
     
  4. If you were to freeze the balloon as it is, you could make a lovely ice orb. If you want to be able to insert a light inside the ice lantern, you need to create a notch for it in the candle.
     
  5. Stretch the opening of the balloon neck over whatever cylinder you choose to use. Just make sure the diameter of the cylinder is slightly larger than your candle.
     
  6. Once the cylinder is fully plugging the opening of the balloon, you can remove the rubber band. Little by little, work the neck of the balloon over the cylinder until a few inches of the cylinder are submerged in the water.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries 
     
  7. Place the balloon in a bowl that is roughly the size and shape of the filled balloon. For two of my lanterns, I used a bowl that was too small, which resulted in more egg-shaped lanterns than perfect spheres. Place the bowl in a freezer or in a snow bank for 12-24 hours.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries 
     
  8. I brought in my first lantern after 12 hours. I poured hot water into the cylinder to loosen it from the ice.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries
     
  9. One quick slice with a knife and the balloon peels away from the ice. Carefully remove the ice lantern from the bowl. Because this lantern only froze for 12 hours, the shell of ice was thin and the center was not frozen. The water inside the shell will need to be emptied into the sink to avoid a mess.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries
     
  10. Place an LED tea light onto your table and set the lantern carefully over it. If you choose to use a real candle instead of a tea light, you will need to create a “chimney” at the top of the lantern, either by drilling or melting, to allow oxygen into the lantern. Also, the lantern will obviously melt more quickly with real fire inside.

     
     
  11. The thin shell of the lantern allows a lot of light to shine through the ice, but it is quite fragile.
     
  12. As an experiment, I added some blue food coloring to the water on the final lantern as I filled it. The result was pretty cool. When making these again, I might try other add-ins, like glitter or flower petals.

    Fire and Ice Luminaries
     
  13. If you use food coloring in a lantern, realize that the dyed water will melt onto whatever surface on which you have place the lantern; and food coloring stains. A placemat or lipped tray would catch the drips.
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