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ice lantern

Tired of making snowmen and looking for other creative ways to embrace the cold temperatures? Mix a little fire and ice by making your own ice globe lanterns. The instructions couldn’t really be simpler: basically you fill up a balloon with water, let it freeze, cut the balloon off, drill a candle hole, pop in a candle, and revel in the sweet glow. Instructables member Browncoat has a good tutorial, as does Rob Barrett, complete with video:

They look great outside lighting the deck, as Rob has done.
ice lanterns outside

Alternately, you can add food coloring to add a festive tint, like in this pic shared on Facebook by Jolly Learning.

colored ice globes

Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.



  1. I’ve updated some techniques in this Ice Globe video
    Rob Barrett

    1. Goli Mohammadi says:

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Rob! Cheers!

      1. rob barrett says:

        Thanks for the mention. :-)

  2. [...] cold out here today, it seemed like a good time to try out the IceCandle Project that I saw on the Make blog. The way this works is that you freeze water in a container with a void to hold the candle. I opted [...]

  3. Wow colored balls are eye catching.

    1. rob barrett says:

      Colored is cool although they tend to melt faster. You can also put in pine leaves and other colorations although they also tend to melt faster. Check me out on twitter @iceglobes for lots of ideas.

  4. John Maliga says:

    Maybe you’re in Northern MN, but, when we lived in Minneapolis, a few hours of freezing at 10F or lower would result in a sphere with a solid surface and liquid core (like your update YouTube video). Crack a hole (we’ll call it the “top”), empty the liquid, and insert your candle or other illumination. No need for power tools or propane torches.

    A neighbor created these every xmas eve and left one glowing at every house on the block. It was magical. In SoCal (Los Angeles) where I now live, the paper bag luminarias perform similar magic during celebrations.

    1. rob barrett says:

      John, I’m in Minneapolis and you are right, I almost always make the not frozen solid ones now. I turn them upside down and stick them in the snow or get them to stick to an ice pole or frozen Ice bucket. (although it takes a really cold night to get it halfway frozen through in one night. We’ve had a great winter for freezing this year. I even started a Fb page Ice for it. What fun. I hope you’re enjoying LA. Rob

  5. [...] the piece How-To: Ice Globe Lanterns, John Maliga [...]

  6. [...] whimsy: ice globe lanterns [...]