Ice lanterns are easy to make and so beautiful for Christmas or winter parties. Line a walkway or decorate a porch with these beautiful DIY luminaries to welcome guests for holiday entertaining.
We love a good project during the holidays, especially one that creates a cozy Christmas ambiance like these Free printable luminaries: Nativity lantern, Santa Sleigh and Reindeer Luminaries, and Christmas Village Luminaries.
We had so much fun making these ice lanterns. They are easy to make and come together in just minutes before freezing time. Make them the day before and they will be perfectly frozen and ready.
Ice Lanterns Supplies
To make these ice lanterns, you will need:
- 2 cups or containers per lantern, one that fits inside of the other with enough room around it to make an ice wall.
- strong tape (I use duct tape)
- candles- real or battery operated
- If making a centerpiece- greenery and cranberries
How to Make Ice Lanterns
Making ice lanterns is so easy to make and I will share all of the tips that I have learned so you can make them easily too!
Step 1: Find Cups
For my lanterns, I wanted to make a couple of different sized lanterns, so I used different sized cups. I just raided my stash and found some that will work. Using plastic cups renders the best result, however I have seen other people have use glass with a little extra care.
For my largest ice lantern, I used a 32 ounce cup for the outside and a 24 ounce cup for the inside. I cut the inside cup down a little so it would make a larger sidewall and bottom.
For my smaller lanterns, I used a 12 ounce plastic cup with a condiment cup for the inside.
Step 2: Tape Cups
First, add a strip of tape across the top, middle of the inside cup. Press down just at the top lip of the cup.
Next, Add another strip of tape crossways and press down along the lip as well.
Finally, tape the inside cup to the outside cup, ensuring that the inside cup is essentially floating right in the middle of the larger cup.
Step 3: Add Water and Freeze
Dribble a stream of water in between the two cups until filled, leaving 1/4" space at the top to give room for the ice to expand.
Step 4: Remove Ice Lanterns from Cups
Make sure that the lanterns have frozen completely. Allow the lanterns to sit out at room temperature for a few minute until the cups begin to wiggle loose.
If you need it to be faster, run cold water on the outside of the cups. Begin by taking out the middle cup first and then the outer cup last.
Step 5: Add Candles
To keep frozen, the lanterns will survive the longest outside with temperatures well below freezing, using battery operated candles.
Real candles will make them melt eventually, but if your temps are cold enough, it will slow the process.
We had a crazy amount of wind when I made these, so I put them in the freezer to use another time. But I did snap a few pictures for you to see.
- Use plastic disposable cups for the easiest result.
- use battery candles for longevity- keep in mind that the candles may get wet and degrade and/or not work anymore if the lanterns begin to melt. If your temps are well below freezing, this might not be an issue.
- If using glass containers instead of plastic, do not allow the ice to freeze all the way until it is cloudy. It will make it very hard to take the containers apart and it could break the glass.
- Add orange slices, cinnamon sticks, greenery or cranberries directly to the ice for a beautiful natural feeling ice lantern.
How to Use Ice Lanterns
Ice lanterns look beautiful lining a walkway or scattered out in the snow. They are so warm and inviting for guests when they walk in and out of Holiday parties.
Another idea is to make a centerpiece with greenery and cranberries and use it on an outdoor table or even on porch furniture to welcome guests. I love when I can look out my window and see a centerpiece out on the patio table. The glow is so pretty at night!
I know you will love these other beautiful ideas to enjoy Christmas by candlelight!
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