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Ice luminaries date back to the olden days, when if you wanted to illuminate winter darkness, you needed to use a little ingenuity. Today, lighting the outdoors isn’t a challenge at any time of year. But particularly around the holidays, you can rely on ice luminaries to cast a beautiful, natural glow over driveways, walkways, and any type of outdoor living area, be it a deck, patio, or porch.
Creating your own ice luminary couldn’t be simpler: All you have to do is freeze water and add in a few embellishments. If you live in a climate that sees below-freezing temperatures in winter, you can make ice luminaries outdoors. In other parts of the country, resort to the freezer; it works equally well. Scroll down to see five of our favorite DIY ways to make these sculptural yet functional accents.
1. BOOK A BRIGHT PASSAGE
No matter how low the temperature goes, a warm welcome awaits anyone who arrives along a path lined with these rustic ice luminaries. Over at Creative Homestyle, you can learn how to combine water, plastic buckets, evergreen branches and citrus fruit slices into something far greater than the sum of its parts.
2. SPIN A GLOWING GLOBE
Even though you can buy a kit to assist you in making ice luminaries just like this one, it’s more affordable and equally easy to follow the simple steps detailed by Nerdy With Children. Balloons (of all things) are the key to forming perfectly round and silky smooth ice globes, beneath which sit battery-operated tea lights.
3. ENJOY A FROZEN TART
Shivaya Naturals shares how a brioche mold may be used for ice luminaries with a unique, centerpiece-worthy shape. If you like the concept of “cooking” with ice, you can get similar results with a bundt pan. Both types of cookware feature a hole in the center that leaves enough room for a candle to be inset post-freezing.
4. TIE-DYE A LANTERN
As the water freezes in whatever you are using as a mold—a balloon, baking pan, plastic bucket or otherwise—you can add in a few drops of food coloring for a less neutral and more festive effect. Stick with one color or freeze the water in layers, using a different for each. Visit Craftiments to check out the (easy) tutorial.
5. AND SOMETHING FOR WIlDLIFE
Well, technically it’s an ice wreath and not a luminary, but we couldn’t resist this cranberry-studded variation on the theme. Tea Girl in a Coffee World explains how to create one easily. Hang yours from a tree branch to provide sustenance for wildlife, or if it’s cold enough outside, try it for size on the front door!