Introduction: Snow Crystal Ice Lanterns
I love the way light reflects against the winter snow. So bright and beautiful! Ordinary lighting just doesn't do it for me. I don't like being limited to the same thing that everyone else has. I wanted something more creative, versatile, fun, and YES! Even portable! Enter SNOW CRYSTAL ICE LANTERNS!!! Simple enough for a child to make. Unusual enough to make everyone wonder where you got them! Imagine these flickering ice lanterns lining a walkway or sled riding run, grouped amongst the snowbanks, shrubbery, and trees, as lighting in your children's snow fort, or simply spread throughout the snow like little beacons! Make ice lanterns of many colors, or just let their pristine beauty shine through.
All you need is:
balloons-I use the 7" size
flameless candle lights--the same
number as balloons
food coloring (optional)
your kitchen faucet
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Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies!
Assemble your balloons and any food coloring you desire near the faucet you will be using. The faucet needs to be the type that will allow you to pull the open end of the balloon over the end of the faucet.
Step 2: Fill the Balloons!
Work with one balloon at a time. For colored balloons, place 1 drop of food coloring down inside the empty balloon. Make sure it's in the belly of the balloon and not the neck, or it will end up all over the faucet when you attach the balloon. You can use a few drops of water to wash it down the neck if necessary. Stretch the open end of the balloon over the end of the faucet. Don't stretch it up too far or it will be difficult to get off once it's been filled. Hold the balloon securely in place and slowly turn the faucet on, filling the balloon to about the size of an orange. If you fill it more than that, it will make tying it difficult. Carefully remove the balloon from the end of the faucet and tie a knot in the neck. Don't worry about bubbles. The way you place the lanterns in the snow will hide any imperfections. Put that balloon aside in a box or container, and continue to fill the remaining ones until they're all done.
Step 3: THE BIG FREEZE!!!
Place your balloons outside in the coldest area possible for 24-48 hours. Space them out so they freeze evenly. Keep the snow off of them as it will hinder freezing. Check on them occasionally and move them around as necessary. If you're using a freezer, place them in a single layer with space between the layers. Your finished lantern only needs to have a hard, frozen shell. It's ok if the center is liquid. Strangely enough, when the colored balloons freeze, the outside is clear and the color pools in the liquid center.
Step 4: Freeing Your Masterpiece!
When the lanterns are frozen enough so that you can handle them without breaking, use a sharp blade to slice the balloons open and remove them. They peel off easily. You may have some that leak, but they are still totally useable even though they'll be clear. Keep the lanterns out of the snow until you're ready to place them.
Step 5: Set the Scene!
Design the space where your lanterns will be! Pack the snow , move it around, create levels, pockets, and pedestals... Make snow sculptures, or a fort (even fun for adults 😉) Have fun with it! The possibilities are endless! My snow was light and fluffy, so I could only swirl it around on the piles that have accumulated while shoveling. I forgot to take a photo of this step that night, so you can see the lanterns after they went through a light snow.
Step 6: Let There Be Light!!!
Press a candle light approximately 2" down into the snow anywhere you would like a lantern. You don't want the candle light touching the lantern, but recessed under it. Place a lantern over it. It's that simple! Find a spot for all of them!
Step 7: The Big Finish!!!
Enjoy the fantastical scene you have created! This is just a small sample of what you can do with these lanterns. The pictures don't do them enough justice, as you can't see them flickering. Now it's time to get your creative juices flowing and get outside and play!
The candle lights I used lasted all night. I turned them off in the morning, changed my scene, and set the lanterns up a second night. If you use them for a few hours a night, and the temperature cooperates, you can get several nights out of one batch of lanterns! The candle lights aren't bothered by the cold, and since they don't melt the snow or ice they will work until the batteries give out.
I hope you enjoyed my first Instructable 😁 Please post pictures of how you used your lanterns and vote for me in the Snow Challenge!
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