You have got to have a little patience for this one, but trust me the results are spectacular!

What do I need?

  • Two plastic bowls (one which fits inside the other)
  • Marbles/stones
  • Christmas items (foliage, tinsel etc)
  • Duct tape
  • Boiled cooled water
  • Freezer
  • Tea light

Safety First!

Always ask your grown-up to help you. Hazards include: boiling water, ice (very cold and slippery), if using a real candle (flame and hot wax).

How do I do it?

  1. Gather some festive items (they will get wet and may get ruined). Feel free to experiment with natural and synthetic materials.
  2. Place your small containers in the large one (add some marbles or stones to weight it down).
  3. Put items in the gap between the two containers.
  4. Add cooled boiled water; Tape your smaller container in place (you want it to float a little so your luminary has a base).
  5. Pop in the freezer overnight.
  6. Remove from freezer, allow to thaw a little so you can remove the containers. Try to be patient as using warm water to release may cause cracks in your luminary.
  7. Add a tea light (real or battery powered) and enjoy!

What’s going on?

Boiling water before you freeze it can remove some of the air. Air is a mixture of gases including nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. With less gas trapped inside the ice it becomes more clear.

Take it further!

  • Make a bowl shaped one and enjoy eating a frozen dessert out of it like ice cream.
  • What effects can you achieve if you add food colouring or biodegradable glitter?
  • In Scandinavian countries these ice lanterns are left outside on doorsteps – how long will your last outside?


If you enjoyed this activity why not check out The Academy?!