Fire and Ice Luminaries


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


  • 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



  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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When I saw the word luminaries I immediately thought of party lighting but then this luminary doesn't last very long so it isn't appropriate for summer. However it makes the perfect evening lighting for a winter event. It does look better with some colour and if you like a little more dazzle and some glitter into the water.

Oh yes, these would be stunning for those winter weddings. I can imagine the globes lining the pathway to mark where the happy couple will walk on the way to the alter. An addition of pretty flower petals in the colors of the wedding party is a great idea, too. I always thought making something like this was beyond my abilities. I see now how EASY it is. Appreciate the instructions!

What a really neat and clever idea! I will have to try this next winter. I like the idea of using LED lights for this, and I really love the food coloring.

Can't wait to make these -- shall put them on the porch steps and along the railing. A truly delightful way to greet guests.

My duaghter will be having a winter wedding next year. These will light the way to the reception.

what a great idea. can imagine a grouping of 3-5 orbs. asacenterpiee

think this would be great fun to try with the kids ( mine are older) - would be great to do at camp when the weather is brrr cold out

I think its pretty cool !

Can anyone tell me what happens to the patterns we save in our project area. Was so busy over the holidays to do any crafts, but took the time everyday to save the projects that I would like to do, and now that I have time I went there and most of the projects I saved are not there. Is there a time limit or a limit of how many we can save. I am just heart broken as I got up an hour early every day so that I could save the projects I wanted.

I save my stuff in an email folder, never to be lost even when my computer crshed!!!

I thought I had lost all mine too but found them in Adobe Reader X. It also creates a PDF so you can print then easily.

I like the idea of this winter decoration to brighten things back up after taking Christmas things down!!

I have made these using empty 1/2 gallon ice cream containers. Weight a glass in the container before the ice freezes and when froze take out glass and use a real candle. Several lining the sidewalk in winter is pretty.

I love these. I made them when I lived in Minnesota, 20 some years ago. You certainly need a very cold place to make these. Or if you have a really big freezer. They looked beaityful up and down my sidewalk and driveway during the holidays!

Very creative! Thanks for sharing.I can't wait to to try this!

Sorry I am not really a crafter but I really want to try this. What is the "cylinder"? Is it closed on one side or open on both ends?

My understanding is the cylinder is something a bit bigger than the diameter of your light, like a small plastic cup or shot creates the hole that the light fits into.


I have to say Jessica, that this is *Coolest* idea I have seen in a long time. I can't wait to make these! They would be really nice to make in a light orange and set on my steps for Halloween too. Red & Green on the steps to great guests over for Christmas Celebrations, etc. With your Beautiful craft, the ideas are limitless. Thank You for sharing! I Love Them!

we've put everygreen/holly snips in-beautiful--------remember the haloween ones would depend on weather conditions outside as far as long lasting

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.


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