Do you need extra motivation to get outside when the temperature drops below freezing? Perhaps these ice ornaments will be just the thing to get you and your kids outside. These ice sun catchers can be made with a variety of items, are interesting to look at, and sparkle beautifully in the sun. Plus, they are super easy to make- winter did most of the work for us!
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How to Make Nature-Filled Ice Ornaments
You’ll find instructional photos and a video below. This craft is very simple and straight forward.
- Fill a container with natural treasures
- Add water
- Pop out of the container and hang outside
Here’s what you’ll need for ice suncatchers:
- Container to freeze the water in (aluminum pie plate, cake pans, or regular plastic food storage containers, used margarine, ice cream, or yogurt tubs)
- Nature treasures (twigs, leaves, berries, pine cones)
- Something to Hang them with (standard kitchen twine, yarn, ribbon)
- Drill (optional – I like my cordless Makita, the one in the video)
- Freezer space or freezing temperatures
Directions – how to make the frozen ice suncatchers:
Have your little ones hunt out some interesting nature treasures. Maybe you’ve already collected some treasure on another walk that you could use today? You may suggest leaves, berries, grasses, pine needles, twigs, seeds, and such.
These treasures all get put into the bottom of your freezing vessel. Pour water over everything and leave this outside overnight or pop it into the freezer if it’s not cold enough.
Once the disk is frozen, pry your ice ornament out of the container. Use your drill to make a hanging hole (not too close to the edge) and hang your ice sun catcher in a spot where you can enjoy it sparkling in the sun.
A few ice ornament notes:
The first time I made these I tried to freeze the hanging string into the disks. It did work, but I found the string melted out quickly. I have also seen others wrap a ribbon around the outside of the disk, but I haven’t tried this myself.
If you are going to drill a hole in your ornament, the further you go towards the center, the more time it will take that string to melt through the edge.
If you actually hang them in the shade they’ll last longer, but then they won’t actually be sun catchers!
Ice clarity: I have never had a problem where I felt my ice looked cloudy. I have read that some people will boil their water first or use hot water to prevent the cloudiness.
Turn your ice sun catchers into a backyard science experiment!
I haven’t experimented, but this would be a good opportunity to do some controlled freezing experiments with different water treatments: cold water, hot water, water that’s been boiled or distilled first.
The kids could even experiment to see if different items cause the ice to melt faster or slower… or the location of the ornaments.
Just make sure to label them so you remember later!
You could also do ice experiments and make these festive ice lanterns instead of the hanging ornaments.
You can make ice ornaments that the birds can enjoy too.
By adding fruit, berries, and nuts, birds will have treats to snack on as the ornaments melt in the sun.
Other suncatcher add-ins:
I tend to only put natural items in the ornaments because when they melt, everything will fall to the ground and I don’t want small pieces of plastic littering the ground. I have seen people add glitter, ribbons, and beads and they all look lovely.
Here’s a photo from Twig and Toadstool who did a variation of this frozen sun catcher craft. I really like how they are each a different color. Check out their page to learn how their ice sun catchers were made.
What should you do now?
- Go gather up your supplies to make a frozen ice suncatcher. Or, if it’s not cold enough outside, Pin this idea so you’ll be reminded later.
- Get yourself and your family connecting more with nature by joining the Take Them Outside Newsletter. The tips and inspiration you’ll receive in your inbox will help get you and your family appreciating and enjoying nature a little more!
Other wintertime posts to check out: