Ice Lanterns: 4 creative ways to celebrate winter

Winter sometimes gets a bad rap.  Frozen windshields, slippery walks, grey skies, and red noses.  But, it happens.  It’s going to happen again next year.  Let’s learn to celebrate it and take advantage of this snowy cold season.  You can’t make ice lanterns in July, right?

So, when that temperature falls, get out your tubs, round up some of nature’s treasures, and take your littles outside to help you put together some candle ice lanterns.

berries and pine leaves frozen into an ice lantern mold


What are ice lanterns and what are they for?

Very simply, ice lanterns are made by using molds to freeze ice into candle holders.  You can actually make these in July if you have a large enough freezer, they just don’t stay frozen as long, especially if you wanted to put them outside!

A festive candle ice lantern on a candle-lit dinner table
Our table top ice lantern for last Winter Solstice

Ice lanterns make beautiful table centerpieces for the holidays or for celebrating the winter solstice.  You can put them outside on your porch to welcome guests or use them with frozen sun catchers to decorate a wintery nighttime festival or backyard party.

I think you could even use them to keep the shrimp cold at your new year’s bash if you planned it right!

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How to make ice lanterns

  1. Create or purchase and ice mold.
    1. if making your mold, add weight to keep the inner container in place.
  2. Add some treasures to freeze in the ice.
  3. Pour in your water and rearrange the treasures as you like.
  4. Freeze.  If it’s winter, hopefully it’s cold enough outside and you can freeze them outdoors.  If not, make some room in your freezer.
  5. When frozen, carefully remove the ice ring from the mold.
  6. Add a candle or an electric tea light and voila!

Below is a video of my little helping me make our own Festive Ice Lanterns.


A few different ice lantern types

The winter solstice centerpiece:

How to make a Winter Solstice ice lamp
The Gingerbread House’s Winter Solstice Ice Lamp

Notice how the candle holder portion of this lantern is shallow?  This likely helps in keeping the entire lantern frozen longer when using it indoors as a centerpiece.  You can see exactly how this one was made by visiting the Gingerbread House’s Winter Solstice Lamp tutorial.


Frozen tea light holders:

Easy to make Ice Lanterns - create a candle holder out of ice for a sparkling winter ice candle display. Perfect for a front porch, lining a driveway or a winter wedding.
Small Ice Lantern Candle Holders by Upstate Ramblings

Aren’t these lovely?  Wouldn’t these be a welcoming way to greet your holiday guests as they walk up to your door?  If you’re worried about fire outdoors you can always use little battery powered tea lights.  Read how these frozen candle holders were made on Upstate Rambling’s page.


Balloon Ice Globes:

This type of ice lantern is made by putting water into a balloon and freezing the balloon.  Leave it to freeze overnight and only the outside of the sphere will freeze, leaving a cavity in the middle for your lights.  These are really cool!

The video above is by IceGlobes.  Go check out their Youtube videos to see other cool frozen globe ideas.

As an aside, I wonder how cold it would have to be for the entire balloon to freeze overnight?  That could be a fun science experiment with the kids…


Will you be taking advantage of the freezing temperatures and making some ice lanterns or globes with your family?



What should you do now?

  • Pin this idea to your Wintery Pinterest board so you’ll remember to give these a try when the temperatures drop.
  • Join the Take Them Outside Newsletter and start connecting more with nature!  You’ll get activity ideas, news, and inspiration delivered right to your inbox to make getting outside easier for you and your family.


Other Wintery Activities for you and your family:



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