Picture of Rose in a heart of ice
This instructable describes how to make a heart of ice containing a frozen rose.

Some days before Valentine's Day I noticed that it has already been some time since I last gave my wife I self-made, personal present. So I decided to use the opportunity and combined two symbols of Valentine's Day into a useless but romantic present: a heart carved out of ice which reveals a rose when melting.

My wife loved it.
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Step 1: Tools and materials

Picture of Tools and materials
To make the heart of ice, we will proceed as follows: First, we suspend the rose in a bowl of water and freeze the water (steps 2-4). Then we remove the frozen water from the freezer and carve it into a heart (steps 5, 6). Finally, we prepare a wooden socket for the heart and mount the heart on this socket (steps 7-9).

For this, we will need the following tools and materials:
  • A rose. It should be big and in full blossom.
  • A working place that may get wet. There is a certain amount of melting involved.
  • A bowl in which we will freeze the water containing the rose. Since we want the rose to be completely contained in the ice, the bowl should be large enough such that we can suspend the rose such that there remains some space (at least 1cm) on all sides. The bowl I used (see the pictures) was borderline, a somewhat larger bowl would be better. (I do not give measurements, since the correct size of the bowl is relative to the size of your rose).
  • Some wire to suspend the rose in the bowl (step 2). My wire had a diameter of 0.5-1mm.
  • A freezer for freezing the water (step 3). You will probably find one in your refrigerator.
  • A sharp knife or paper cutter. Used for cutting away the stump of the rose protruding from the ice (step 4).
  • A flat screw driver. This one is never mentioned in any of the steps, but it is occasionally useful when the heart gets frozen to some other parts and you have to detach it.
  • Several rough rasps for carving the ice (step 6) and also for preparing the wooden socket (step 7). Probably any rasps will do, but see step 6 for some information which shapes turned out useful.
  • One or two sheets of paper and a pair of scissors. The paper will be used to mark the rough form of the heart on the ice (step 6).
  • A piece of wooden board for the socket. It should be at least the size of the bowl, and it should be unfinished wood. Of course, it should also be as beautiful and elegant looking as possible.
  • A jigsaw for cutting the wood to the correct size (step 7). Other types of wood saw (electrical and manual) will do as well. (But a chainsaw will probably be unsuitable.)
  • Some rough abrasive paper for polishing the edges of the wood (step 7).
  • Coffee for colouring the wood (step 8). This is only necessary, if you want the wood to get a little bit darker (since in my opinion, dark wood looks more accomplished). Instant coffee is best.
  • A brush for applying the coffee to the wood (step 8).
  • A nail for mounting the heart on the wood (step 9). The nail should be approximately 15mm longer than the wood is thick. But the exact length is not important.
  • A hammer, otherwise the nail will be of no avail.
  • A Valentine/wife/girl friend or the corresponding male form (for simplicity, I will assume that the recipient of the present is female throughout this instructable). See step 10.

The preparation of this present took about 3-5 hours of working time. However, since there is a lot of waiting involved (the water must freeze, and the coffee must dry), you should begin working at least two days before you want to hand over the present. Since the final result can be stored in the freezer for a long time (indefinitely?), better start too early than too late.

If you have all the tools, the costs for this project should be minimal. I only had to buy the rose, the remaining materials could be found at home.
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The only problem with this is that next year you have to top it
So many tools are needed.
Oh man, this is a great idea and a good opportunity to dust down my carpentry tools. By the way I found this on our website, Weäre a young startup from Berlin and don't want to step on anyone's toes. If you'd like a link to our website please contact me at Cheers!
mikesnyd3 years ago
You could make a quick silicone mold of a heart you have found or made already the size you need. Then instead of using a bowl just dangle your rose centered in your silicone mold. Fill with water and place in freezer. Can be done really quickly.
Gonazar6 years ago
Do you think it might be possible for it to bloom after you've frozen it, cause that would be wicked. The ice cold heart melting, then a blooming rose comes out. I wouldn't mind it being black as much if it could do that...
-Aj- Gonazar6 years ago
when water freezes it expands, so freezing a flower all the cells burst and it dies. which is why any vegies that youve accidentally put in the freezer look weird and a floppy when you take them out, this is also why frozen plants look darker when they thaw out. similar to if you had squashed them. this is because freezing it damages it in a similar way. so unless you have a cryo chamber for your rose, it wont be able to bloom when you thaw it. water freezes cloudy because the dissolved gases cannot stay dissolved when it freezes and they come out of solution, leaving millions of tiny air pockets in the ice. by boiling the water first all the gases are forced out so when you freeze it there is barely any in there.
djin -Aj-4 years ago
So let's say I do have a cryo chamber.. will it come out red?
Gonazar -Aj-6 years ago
what if you froze it in liquid nitrogen? i vaguely remember some experiments on organic objects that kept their color.
dani-e4 years ago
That's great! haha very creative.. i just need to find the time to do it xD
I think your wife is prettier than the gift. = )
rlee88074 years ago
Remember that "Instant Ice" stuff that actually is like a plastic. As far as I know, that doesn't melt, so if it came out clear, you could actually mount it.
Toxicity5 years ago
I love the fact that the rose turns black, a good little gothic touch for my GF.
That is so awesome! The rose turns black. I would love to recieve it, even if it wasn't in the shape of a heart.
ilovegm5 years ago
I'm terribly adversed to hardwork.
Do you think using a soldering iron to melt the ice is a good idea?
Not exactly familiar with the inner workings of the iron, wouldn't want to electrocute myself...
Dominique Unruh (author)  ilovegm5 years ago
I understand your wish to avoid the hardwork, but I do not think the soldering iron is a good idea.

First, as you pointed out, there is a safety risk of letting electric devices get wet. If you absolutely have to try (which I do not recommend), pay great attention that no part of the iron except the tip gets wet. Perhaps wear insulating gloves additionally, and have someone around who can pull the power plug and call an ambulance if it comes to the worst. But even then, there remains a risk I would not recommend to take.

Second, I even doubt that the soldering iron will help. As far as I understand, a soldering iron continuously heats up the tip, but only with relatively low strength. For soldering this is OK, because you only use the tip for a few seconds at a time, and then there is a break within which the iron can get the lost heat back. But if you try to melt ice, most soldering irons (especially those used for electronics) will not have enough power to keep up the heat - the tip will get cold almost immediately.

Summarizing: I believe that it will not work anyway, and that trying is dangerous. So I recommend to find a different solution. Sorry.
Good point, guess I shouldn't cheapen the effort put into a gift for my partner anyways.

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.
This looks great!! I plan to do one using a silk rose. The ice seemed to have burned the rose somewhat. A silk rose will look the same, regardless being frozen.
filthyfury6 years ago
you can make transparent ice by freezing warm or hot water instead of cold, i dont why it freezes clear but thats how you do it
Right there with you. Boil it first. Loses the surprise, but it's much cooler to see how the rose is actually suspended in it.
boiling the water gets the gases dissolved in it, therefore it doesn't form bubbles when you freeze it.
Stikk8 years ago
Did anyone think the rose looked kinda weird when it came out of the ice? I mean this is an awesome idea, but it looked a little morbid to me, the black rose, but i suppose it would be kind of cool if you like that sorta thing. I'd prefer it if the rose stayed red, maybe using a fake one would work better? Just a suggestion, great idea though! :)
Dominique Unruh (author)  Stikk8 years ago
Yes, it came out quite black. The problem is that this is quite natural for roses. For example, if you dry roses, they also get black. Perhaps if you do not take a red rose, but a rose-coloured rose, you might get a lighter result. However, I am not sure if the resulting colour will be beautiful. Concerning the fake rose, I suppose it will not loose colour, but I do not like giving fake roses - it's not the real thing...
FWIW: With a peach coloured rose, I got a very cool looking flame coloured rose, yellow-orange-red colours.
Cool. Do you have a photo somewhere?
No photo, sorry. But try drying some different colours, they seem to come out similar colours when dried as when frozen. But it was really tie-die flame-looking, from an innocent peachy pastel colured rose.
inquisitive7 years ago
Now a ring or earrings in the middle of the heart would be a really unexpected surprise, maybe enclosed in a capsule like the bubble gum toys come in? or a note or poem in it? I don't mind it cloudy-it adds to the mystery.
Actually a very great idea.
Love it.
The rose looks all black at the end, looks really cool.
Probably too hard for me, I just might buy those Skittle heart things, fill that up with water, then freeze (and the rose part), then it would come out cool.

Nice job!
Brennn107 years ago
Creative! I like it!
I think I may have my own take on this to do in another, like an absolute pscho instructable A series of timesavers called that would be cool... Sorry random tangent, If would personally boil the Ice etc make it clear, wait boil the ice, the water even then carve it and polish on side to clarity then sand the other to make it opaque, making a either a mirror effect of simply making the rose more interesting... also I think the effect of freezing make the rose more interesting, red roses are a bit cliched, black on the other hand...
sunkist32087 years ago
To make the ice crystal clear, you could boil the water, let it cool, boil it again, let it cool again and THEN put it in the bowl to freeze. It's always worked for me.
nim67 years ago
what if you used that clear ice instructable along with this?... just a thought..
This is a really unique idea, but have you considered using a silk rose instead of as live one? The silk one will still maiintain it's color, and the ice won't blacken it... Neat idea, though!
alex26i7 years ago
They do make heart shaped ballons you know, I think all that wire inside the ice is kinda yuck, you can also use a silk rose from the dollar store. Then fill it with water.. Tie a knot.. Freeze and done, Later you can drill a hole and stuff a LED into it.
Could you use dry ice? Dry ice does not melt into water it evaporates, this would mean the rose would not turn black.....ewww
Dominique Unruh (author)  lukeair457 years ago
In theory, that would probably work. But the problem is how to freeze the carbon dioxide to enclose the rose (although one can by dry ice, i.e., frozen carbon dioxide, we have to freeze it ourselves to get the rose inside). Carbon dioxide freezes at -78 degrees Celsius. A normal freezer does not reach that temperature. One might try and use liquid nitrogen for cooling and a supply of pressurized carbon dioxide to encase the rose in dry ice, but that would probably be a very difficult process. Still, if one could manage it, it would also get us rid of wet furniture after the heart melts.
Actually, it would theoretically be possible. Industrially, dry ice isn't produced by freezing it solid- it's cooled until it's a liquid, then the pressure is reduced off of the liquid. This causes some CO2 to evaporate, absorbing heat and letting the rest freeze into a solid. If lukeair could build a heart-shaped rose container, fill it exclusively with CO2, cool it with liquid nitrogen or whatever, then reduce the pressure, the rose could conceivably be encased in dry ice. Also, lukeair could conceivably start a business.
tydeus7 years ago
I think the rose turned black for the same reason most people can't freeze strawberries. The water around and in the cells of the rose freezes and make large pokey ice crystals. those crystals puncture the cells and well...imagine something half your size and shaped like a nail going through you...You can limit the size of the crystals by freezing the water very fast. Do this by first putting the roses (or in Alton Brown's case in Strawberry Sky, strawberries) in your freezer so that they get really cold but do NOT let them freeze. When they're nice and chilled, get them into a cooler of chopped up dry ice. The dry ice will freeze them very fast, even faster when the ice directly contacts the rose (that's why it needs to be chopped up). after that your roses are frozen and you can put them in the freezer for...ever i guess. Warning: dry ice is friggin cold.
Man, I love Alton B. Cool instructable!
Thats really sweet, but why would you give her a BLACK rose?
try using warmer water lranging from lukewarm to hot to prevent bubbles and a more transparent overall outlook.
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