Introduction: Lonely Ice Teardrops

Picture of Lonely Ice Teardrops

This shows how to create a teardrop of ice. We're having an ice and art event at a local lake in Minneapolis and we're freezing water in anything that we can. Some things work, some things don't. Water becoming a solid is a beautiful thing!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

What you'll need
- twine I use twine because it rough texture has great holding power when its frozen)
- balloons These are 12" round "Party" balloons. You need round balloons to get the proper teardrop shape. The seem thicker and stretchier than most of the balloons I tried
- washers

Step 2: Adding Washers ( Anchors)

Picture of Adding Washers ( Anchors)

The washers are tied to the twine to give the weight and as an anchor for the ice to freeze around. Pull off of the end of the twine from the spool but don't cut it yet. I tied a simple square knot onto the washer.

Step 3: Dropping the Twine Into the Balloon

Picture of Dropping the Twine Into the Balloon

This takes a little bit of work. You want to work the washer and twine down the neck of the balloon so that when you hold the end of the balloon the washer hangs in the center ( stomach?) of the balloon.

Step 4: Twine Sitting Inside the Balloon.

Picture of Twine Sitting Inside the Balloon.

Now the washer should be free inside the balloon - it should feel loose.

Step 5: Cut the String!

Picture of Cut the String!

Now strip off an arms length (or more depending what you intend to tie the twine to outside. I used a clothes line pole) and cut it.

Step 6: Filling the Balloon With Water

Picture of Filling the Balloon With Water

I got a balloon filler I could attach to the threaded laundry-room faucet I have in the basement. I got the cool green plastic spout by buying a pack of water bomb balloons. I got mine in the toy section of my local pharmacy.

Step 7: Filling Without Exploding!

Picture of Filling Without Exploding!

I got wet figuring out how to fill the balloons without blowing them up. I hold the opening of the balloon on the faucet while I support the balloon until it can stretch to the support base I put into the sink. I turned over a dish-pan It was just the right height.
- You cannot let the balloon hang without supporting it. It'll break.
- as the balloon fills let the weighted twine lower into the bigger balloon.
- flll the balloon slowly... otherwise it'll break
- your hands might get cold if you are making a lot, so I keep some lukewarm water in a tub near to warm up my hands.
( the balloon is white so you can see what's happening)

Step 8: Where the Washer Should Be...

Picture of Where the Washer Should Be...

If you let the twine slide as you filled the balloon, the washer should have worked itself down into the balloon. You want it sort of in the center. I'm holding the dark balloon up towards a light so I can see.
Let all excess air out of the balloon and tie it off like you normally would...
- Yes the twine will be inside your knot. This is good - the knot with the string inside is what supports the water balloon as it hangs to freeze.
- Be careful and gentle with the filled balloon.

Step 9: Hang It Up...

Picture of Hang It Up...

Supporting the balloon's weight in your hands, carry it outside to whatever you are going to hang it from. I very slowly lifted the balloon with the twine, then tied the twine to the clothesline pole.
- do it slowly and they wont explode as often ( its a bummer if you're outside in below freezing temps and the water balloon explodes on you)

Step 10: The Next Morning...

Picture of The Next Morning...

is beautiful .. if all went well. Walkup to your balloon and gently tap on it.. It should sound hollow. The rubber of the balloon usually will rip when it freezes and its easy to peel it off. I leave it on if I have to store it before I use it for the ice sculptures. The balloon will protect the surface of the ice a bit.

Step 11: Storing

Picture of Storing

For our event I have a tarp in my garage that I store the frozen teardrops on. Again... be careful! What you'll find is that the balloons freeze from the outside in and often they still have water in the center the next day. So they're still fragile till they freeze solid.


zombiefire (author)2010-04-04

me and my bro froze a baloon full of water and in a few hours there were icicles on the insid goin in all crazy directions

it was awesome

then (author)zombiefire2011-06-23

wait... there were icicles on the inside of the baloon? How is that possible?

zombiefire (author)then2012-08-23

dont know but it was awesome

KEYBOARDISBROKEN (author)then2011-08-03

Ice crystals- freeze the water slow enough and you can grow some massive ones,
went out one November morning, had been just below freezing point all night- there where 10cm (4inch) ice crystals floating in the pond.

tsmith36 (author)2012-05-20

Makes me wish that I didn't live in a one room apartment. Ice art would be kinda cool for a retired truck driver to play with. A freezer and some racks, you could make them any time.

Aron313 (author)2012-03-24

What if you drop that form a high height? It looks like it would explode.

L.Henk (author)2011-12-20

too bad your can't do it in the summer time(i live in nevada, it would be helpful)

keithbraafladt (author)L.Henk2011-12-20

Oh actually I made a lot of them in my freezer to test the shapes - smaller balloons though ;-)

KillerPanda (author)2009-02-24

Cool! now make one with a punching bag instead of a normal-sized balloon, then make one with a weather balloon. That would be impressive to say the least. 5 stars!

a weather balloon full of water will be very heavy

Eh Lie Us! (author)2011-06-12

What the...? i'm not sure what this would be good for but it's incredibly cool. (no pun intended) Now i wished that I lived in a cold-weather climate. thanks for the instructable!

dylankunaikennedy (author)2011-05-28

epic finished product but is here any way i could keep it longer

zombiehottie0900 (author)2009-02-23

boil the water first, then it should be clear and see through once frozen.


most balloons have that latex powder inside them

knexfan9182 (author)Sandisk1duo2010-04-06

You could try inverting the balloon.

duck-lemon (author)2009-01-30

Wow great instructable, the photograph at the front makes it look like it is decorated in some way, of course a closer up picture proves otherwise but it does give you ideas...

Thanks - yep we're trying a bunch of stuff with ice we plan to post here: Studio Bricolage
The ice/art event is coming up in Minneapolis Mn on the 8th of Feb... if you are around it hopefully will be cold and fun!

Cool! I'll try and drop by.

I'm around! Which lake is it on?

south side of the skating rink on lake of the isles - hopefully it will be cold... yesterday ( Sat ) I lost a bunch of ice before I got it stored in the garage...

Sorry wrong hemisphere. Other than that there is nothing holding me back, it sounds like a lot of fun!

lukethebook333 (author)2009-02-03

neat instructable! any ideas if you don't have freezing temps? I'm guessing clearing out your freezer... Any other solutions?

ehensel1 (author)2009-02-03

This is great! Now, how do I get led's in the ice?

keithbraafladt (author)ehensel12009-02-03

wire the led's with long thin insulated wire, attach to the washer ( making sure the led's leads are insulated as well and thread it in when you thread in the washer for weight

beberly37 (author)2009-01-30

I am pretty sure that if you boil the water first you remove all of the disolved gases and the ice will be very clear. Though if you do, I would switch to fishing line and a clear weight, or a weight that would be interesting.

keithbraafladt (author)beberly372009-01-30

Yep - good idea - but I have a lot of these to make so I skipped that step ( have to boil a lot of water - like one teapot for each and let it cool then figure an easy way to get it into the balloon)

cx420ns (author)keithbraafladt2009-02-01

if you really wanted to you could buy distilled water

keithbraafladt (author)cx420ns2009-02-01

good point then the issue again is getting the distilled water into the balloon with the same ease I have with the faucet... if there were an easy way to pressurize larger quantities of the distilled water then it'd be easy to fill the stretchy balloons... thoughts?

shveet (author)keithbraafladt2009-02-01

use a funnel?

keithbraafladt (author)shveet2009-02-01

Yes but as well as the small opening - what makes it possible to fill the balloon with the faucet is pressure...

jongscx (author)keithbraafladt2009-02-01

How about something used to pump water... Like a water pump. Think garden fountain.

beberly37 (author)jongscx2009-02-01

Hot tap water will have less dissolved gases than cold tap water making the ice more clear. Not as clear as boiled water, but better than nothing. Also us a garden nozzel instead of a sink. No aerator.

cx420ns (author)keithbraafladt2009-02-01

hmmm.... seltzer bottle? a funnel wouldn't work too good... ooh! a garden pesticide sprayer!!!!!! biznitches! and the nozzle's small enough for the balloon to go on good

the_burrito_master (author)2009-02-01


Notags (author)2009-01-30

Pretty cool! Addition of food coloring would be interesting.

keithbraafladt (author)Notags2009-01-30

Yes cool idea! but playing with color in frozen water is a lot trickier than I / we thought - the color tends to settle while it freezes.. any suggestions on how to color it and leave it transparent are welcome

guitarman63mm (author)2009-01-30

That's an incredibly deceptive photograph you have there! I thought it was a droplet that was as large as your house O.o Nice 'ible!

joren (author)2009-01-30

This is really cool! I guess the next step would be figuring a way to make the ice clear, no air bubbles, like carving ice

BeanGolem (author)2009-01-30

You know... I would try this, except I just rode my bike to work (8am) and it's about 80F out. Very nice shape though. It's always nice to just let physics do it's thing.

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