Introduction: The Ice Bulb

Picture of The Ice Bulb

I got the idea for the Ice Bulb from the frozen water balloon instructable. My mind wants to put LEDs inside everything these days :)

The Ice Bulb is very cheap and simple to make and the result looks amazing. This instructable will be to basic for a lot of people here, but surely someone will find it a fun project.


View the video

About the pictures: My camera is not able to replicate all the light from the LED. Therefore you will see some large patches of solid white. This is not how it looks in real life. Trust me, it looks a lot better.

Step 1: Attach Wires to LED With Tape and Stuff It Inside the Balloon.

Picture of Attach Wires to LED With Tape and Stuff It Inside the Balloon.

I did this the quick and dirty (and very effective) way by twisting the wires together and taping them. If you have the equipment you may want to solder the wires to the LED.

Stuff the LED inside the balloon but keep the wires on the outside.

Now is a good time to test that the LED actually works. You do not want to find out that it is faulty after it is frozen inside the ice...

Step 2: Fill the Ballon With Water, Tie a Knot and Freeze It.

Picture of Fill the Ballon With Water, Tie a Knot and Freeze It.

Blow up the balloon with air first. This will stretch it out so the water will flow easier. If you do not hold the top of the balloon firmly against the water tap it will splash all over the place at the point where the wires are sticking out.

Lay the balloon on a flat surface before proceeding.

Stuff the wires down the balloon till you have the LED at the desired position inside the balloon. It looks best if it is at the center IMHO.

Tie a regular knot and drag the wires all the way through the knot.

Freeze the balloon. Be careful of how you place the balloon in the freezer. If you do it the wrong way the LED might freeze in an undesirable position. Try to place it so that the LED is suspended in the center of the balloon.

I think it looks great when the balloon is not completely clear. This way the light is reflected in unpredictable directions. If you want to make clear ice you should read this.

Step 3: Remove the Balloon Rubber From the Frozen Sculpture and Juice It Up.

Picture of Remove the Balloon Rubber From the Frozen Sculpture and Juice It Up.

Pour some hot water over the balloon and the rubber will slide of easily. To remove the rubber around the knot you simply untie it. If you use a knife to cut it off you risk cutting the wires.


Pranav R S (author)2016-02-13

very good idea

where do you buy your LEDs?

I bought 1000 assorted LEDs from China a few years back. If you only need a few I would recommend or

gearup500 (author)2015-01-13

I wish I had thought of this! I use to freeze balloons just for fun but I never thought to put LEDs in them. Thanks for sharing.

xs2000 (author)2014-09-16

amazing idea

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-09-02

thats cool!

aidanjarosgrilli (author)2011-08-01

in the summer of 1986 all the neighborhood children were playing with water bombs. No-one forgot Little Timmy or the new rule: do not put your water bombs in the freezer.

oi, that was on one of my birthday cards >:(

gizmokid97 (author)2012-04-13

Awesome stuff, dude!!!! they look SOOOOOO COOL!!!

sciencerules01 (author)2012-03-25

what can i put for problem and resluts im doing a science project on this

cutecat13 (author)2007-10-18

Hello, I am thining about doing this for my science fair project.... What would the Hypothesis, purpose be?

ddeherrera (author)cutecat132012-03-01

ya i would like a hypothesis will you help me

markodeano (author)cutecat132007-10-23

Perhaps to show how light can be distributed through ice?

heartart (author)2012-02-05

They would be beautiful in a large crystal bowl, for center pieces at a wedding reception, or other party. Not all the ice balls would have lights in them, so it would be sort of random light and so gorgeous! Great idea Sir. : )

instructables is cool (author)2012-01-20

it looks like a wizard's ball.

bdavis30 (author)2011-11-10


oart (author)2011-11-01

my son (12) made an UFO ice sculpture using blinking LEDs of different colors and different sized dishes... then he built a car using a cake mold and he put the headlights and blinkers out of leds with and extension to click on and off. I love them both they are still on my fridge after all these months

justin.jackson (author)2011-10-02

just thinking that even without wiring up leds, but rather using those little flickering led tealights in a hollow cavity would be a great effect, especially with halloween coming up. you could even put some food coloring in the water before freezing for green or red lights. awesome idea!!

Think with portals (author)2011-07-27

I stuffed 5 LED's in it.

Chirpoff (author)2011-07-27

That looks AWEsome! Great job! :)

vishalapr (author)2011-07-05

The close ups look as if the thing was a huge crystal!Amazing I am definitely going to make one.....right now!Bye!!!!

the pro (author)2008-08-14

so by doing this you "could" make a hydrogen ballon? thats if you have the right water

Replicator (author)the pro2011-06-23

That would take a huge amount of time and a massive amount of batteries..... if you want a hho generator there are plenty of ibles on those :D

gossumx (author)2011-06-10

If you wanted to make the balloon a slightly more perfect sphere, you could put it inside a pot (or any properly sized, water-tight container) that is filled with salt-saturated water.

In theory, the salt water would act as a support for the balloon, preventing the flat-side that is inevitable when putting it directly on a plate.

If the salt content is high enough, the average freezer won't get cold enough to turn it to ice, but the plain water inside the balloon will.

Just don't let your hands dabble in the sub-zero salt water for too long or I would imagine it to have unhealthy consequences.

As an added bonus, in the rare case that you may want to make many of these, if the salt water is put in the freezer in advance, or just left in from the previous balloon, it would freeze the balloon *much* faster, seeing as how cold water leeches heat ~25 times faster than cold air does.

C_Maconroe (author)2011-05-26

After discovering that this sweet item has a short life span (silly me, of course it will melt) I was quite sad. But, maybe getting a hollow plastic ball (ice blue) and then filling it with a styrofoam ball with LED's throughout would be cool?

MadBricoleur (author)2011-05-24

wow, very creative... snow fort lighting, anyone?

twighahn (author)2011-04-21


Roxy 143 (author)2010-09-02


popcorn4lunch (author)Roxy 1432011-03-07


abran5 (author)2010-12-02

i wish i can use something else than ice like plastic

ownemall (author)abran52011-01-23

you could use an acrylic or liquid silicone but it would be hard to keep it from squiting out everywhere

briansparks0211 (author)2010-10-01

It looks like you have a good idea by using the glob of glue for diffusion! I noticed you used some kind of tape. I would recommend heat shrink tubing around the power carrying wires to prevent shorts for that clean appearance many seek on a final project. But don't just use anything, make sure you use stuff like this with high PFA standards like fluorotherm's; specs here,

yggdrazil (author)2009-08-10

so cool! Would it be safe to put in a bowl of punch for a party?

scott! (author)yggdrazil2009-12-16

 it'd probably be easier and safer just to get a clear bottomed bowl and put the LED under neath it

yggdrazil (author)scott!2010-01-11

a cool good idea..or mabye two identical clear bowls with the LEDs on the inner "layer". hmmm.....

geoslim13 (author)yggdrazil2009-11-02

if you put a few layers of heat shrink tubing over the whole led lead

XOIIO (author)yggdrazil2009-08-20

i most likely wouldnt. even if you use lead free solder there is still the wires, led and possibly flux that would get in the punch when the ice melts, plus i dont think people would like punch with wires coming out of it.

grizzly g (author)2009-04-08

hey what type of wire did you use? thank you

rocksalt2342 (author)grizzly g2009-07-16

most likely copper.

Ian01 (author)2008-08-10

I don't think ice conducts electric current at all. You should be quite safe.

BogusCraft (author)Ian012009-05-19

The voltage, current, and frequency (1.5 to 3V at about 20mA at 0Hz) are not high enough for water to effect this circuit. This circuit will work under water (LEDs are "hermetically sealed" so the water can't get to the insides. And do NOT use a 9V battery or you will kill the LED almost instantly.
Good Stuff. I like the icicles idea.

bigfootduck (author)2009-03-05

AWESOME! i would SO try this, except that i dont have any LEDs. where can i get some? and how much are they?

nrepak (author)bigfootduck2009-03-23

I get my LEDs at RadioShack for about $1.00 each (good ones) or a pack of cheap ones for $2.00(not all may work)

cutecat13 (author)2007-10-18


felicity (author)cutecat132007-10-31

I think the point of your science fair would be that you actually think about your science fair project yourself, rather than taking a project from and then asking people to tell you what your hypothesis and purpose could be. The comments policy tells me that I should be constructive. Here is my constructive comment: this is not suitable for a science fair project. There isn't really any interesting physics behind this project. This project is a cool idea and it looks really great, but I can't say that there is a lot of science involved. Perhaps you could extend the project in some way and investigate light and how it propagates through different materials. Then you could see if some other materials make some cool effects, and the physics behind those effects.

mandrake (author)felicity2007-10-31

I agree with felicity. You would be better off coming up with you own hypothesis. Anyway... You could talk about why the circuit is not broken even if it is in direct contact with water. Most people would not think it possible for the Ice Bulb to work.

Mr Williams (author)mandrake2008-04-28

you covered it in duct tape. is duct tape waterproof? Anyway, if anyone DID solder the thing, did the circuit break? If it didnt, plaese alert me to destroy this RE. Oh, does this melt?

hybridracers (author)Mr Williams2009-01-30

no its simply following the path of least resistance which is the wire to the battery

tiredmomof3 (author)2009-01-14

what kind of wires are these? Please respond asap! needed for 4th grade science project!!! Great idea thanks!

redneckobsessed (author)2008-12-24

u should try it with clear ice

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to learn new stuff.
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