Ice-Ice-Baby: DIY Ice Luminaries

This is the perfect craft for anyone living in a cold climate. Great for a little front-step festivity for your dinner parties or just because. If the weather turns warm and they melt it's not a big deal since they are {practically) free!

Collect some biodegradable items to decorate your luminary. We like to use cranberries because they are bright, festive, easy to glue, and cheap! We grabbed this bag after T-day for about a dollar and threw it in the freezer until the weather was consistently below freezing. You can also use thinly sliced lemons or oranges, pine cones, greenery, etc.

You'll need a luminary mold. You could try doing this in a regular gallon pail but it'll probably work better with one of these nifty molds.

Use a hot glue gun to attach your decorations to the inside of the mold (after your ice sculpture melts outside you'll want to try pick up the glue bits in consideration of mother nature). If using thinly sliced lemon or orange, it works best to dry off the rind a bit and only attach glue to the rind - otherwise they tend not to stick very well. Play around with different patterns, or you can try filling the mold just a few inches, tossing in some decorations (without glue) and freezing just that amount before filling the rest up with water. This will create a layer right at the top of the luminary and you won't have to worry about picking up glue bits from the snow later!

Once everything is firmly in place, fill the mold/bucket with water and freeze for 12 hours. We put our mold in our deep freezer since there's lots of room in there and we know it'll freeze properly, but if it's really cold outside you could try just setting it on the back steps. Make sure you don't exceed 12 hours by too much otherwise you'll end up with a solid block of ice. Since water freezes from the outside first, the goal is to get a nice thick layer around the outside but to let the middle remain fluid.

Now use something thin - like a long, metal icing spatula - to slice down around your mold, making sure you separate all decorations from the mold.

Flip it upside down (which you'll soon realize is actually right-side up) and pull up on the mold. If this is difficult, run some hot water over the top. We do this step in the bathtub.

As you can see, there is a thin layer of ice across the opening. Break this (brrr) with your fist, and poor the water out.

Now wrap that baby up in a bath towel and place him on your front steps!

Don't forget the candle!

These luminaries were made by Evan's mom for Christmas a few years ago. She's the one who got us going on the luminaries and bought us our mold.

Now go make some ice and don't forget to exercise your vocal chords to the tune of Ice-Ice-Baby ... you know you wanna!

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