Introduction: Easy Ice Sculpture - for Kids of All Ages

Picture of Easy Ice Sculpture - for Kids of All Ages

This is an easy and fun activity for the whole family, especially when the temperatures get's really cold.  You may find your children will be spending more time outside arranging, rearranging, and adding on to their ice sculpture.

Caution:  Please keep an eye on young children and limit their time outside when it is very cold.  Children sometimes do not realize that they may be in danger of frostbite or hypothermia.

Step 1:

First, get an assortment of balloons ranging from traditional balloons to balloon sculpting (snake) balloons.

Next, put a couple grains of sand into each balloon.  The sand will act as a freezing nuclei for the water.  Without it, some of the water in the balloons may not freeze.  To learn more about this effect, look up "superchilled", "super cold", or "super freezing".

Step 2:

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Set balloons outside when it is cold.

Be creative.  For example, take the balloon sculpting (long snake balloons) and fashion them around objects (for example, orange safety cones).

Step 3:

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When the balloons are frozen, peel off the balloons from the ice.  Due to trapped air bubbles, many of the balloons will produce some very unique patterns.

Step 4:

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An alternative is to add some food coloring to the ice.  In this case, food coloring was added in water pitchers.  The food coloring freezes last and tends to concentrate in the middle of the ice.  To color the outside of the ice, place a few drops of food coloring to the outside of an already frozen structure.

Step 5:

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Arrange pieces in some order.  In this case, an ice castle.  For an added effect, place Christmas lights underneath them and turn them on at night.  People passing by will be amazed of your ice sculpture.


CollinA7 made it! (author)2016-02-26

Mix food coloring with a cup of whole milk then mix that into the water to make a solid color block O' ice.

CollinA7 made it! (author)2016-02-26

Mix food coloring with a cup of whole milk then mix that into the water to make a solid color block O' ice.

CarlTheDabbler (author)2015-07-25

This is really cool. I'll have to give this a try with the kids this winter.

maryanna warner (author)2015-02-24

thanks its been so cold here... Great idea!:-D

-The world Is Quiet Here

TamarasSoliloquy (author)2015-02-16

Perfect idea!! I know what I'm doing today!!! Thank you for the awesome instruct able!!!

VintageCollectible. (author)2015-01-11

This is insanely awesome! Unique creations will add fun to my winter snow land.

rbdoer (author)2014-07-16

Wow, that is sooo cool! I'm going to have to do that this coming winter. Adding colored lights will really make it stand out at night even better! Thanks for the great idea!!

waggy101 (author)2014-01-02

Wow my friends would love this so much thanks! How do you think we could make a dome? Kinda like an igloo!

ddentrem (author)2012-11-03

so simple, but so ingenious! Thanks for sharing - I can't wait to try this out :)

HollyMann (author)2012-10-18

I also can't wait to do this with my son and nieces this winter...which I'm sure will be we're in Wisconsin....thanks for this awesome istructable. I have heard of making the giant "marbles" with the regular balloons, but never thought of using the long ones!!!

straycatmeow (author)2012-03-18

Ok, I seriously can't wait for winter next year. My kids are going to have soo much fun doing this. Great Instructable!

Korlee (author)2012-03-10

I was like yeah, so much can people teach to children.. But this sounds FUN! Not so much frosen weather left at this winter (hope so) but next and... :D Thank you!

singerguy74 (author)2012-03-10

Nice, 'ible Mr. S! Nice to see you on here. One of these days you may have to tackle an instructable for one of your famous wooden clocks.

kornellas (author)2012-03-09

i like this. Very Clever. Thank you for sharing!

canida (author)2012-03-08

This looks awesome! I love the big long wriggly balloons, and the use of color. It almost makes me wish it would freeze here. :)

boomfiziks (author)canida2012-03-09

We've had a very mild winter this year. I'm hoping to do a larger scale of this project next year.

Freezing water with food coloring is a neat effect. My favorite effect are the use of lights under the ice sculptures.

Someone gave me a "how to" book of how to make balloon animals. I never used it, but thought freezing water in them would be a neat effect. A friend came up with wrapping the balloon around the orange cone.

When it gets cold enough, I hope you give it a try.

Attmos (author)2012-03-08

coolest idea i've ever seen, and i almost went this whole winter without this instructable. thank you, i will be trying this one.

boomfiziks (author)Attmos2012-03-09

Sadly this winter has been very mild where I live. I highly recommend this activity. Sometimes, spraying the pieces with water, using a spray bottle helps to make the different pieces stick together.

Also, don't forget to add some sort of impurity in each balloon, such as a few grains of sand, dirt, couple small pieces of grass. I learned the hard way that sometimes the water will not freeze because the water is too pure and the balloons are too smooth. They need something to start the crystallization process.

Samuel Bernier (author)2012-03-09

Nice. The cone in brillant. Did you enter the snow challenge? That would be a winner for me.

I'm glad that you like it. Yes, I entered it in the snow challenge. I really didn't think people would like it, but it's a fun activity, easy to do, and gets a lot of attention.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a high school chemistry and physics teacher.
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