How to make an ice lantern

Ice lantern made by Adrienne WyperBeing 200km north of the Arctic Circle, with temperatures as low as -30°C, seemed the perfect time to have fun with snow and ice.

Staying in northern Finland on a winter activities week with Inntravel, as well as trying out more conventional winter pastimes such as dogsledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, I also wanted to experiment with cold-weather creativity.

In the past I’ve made ice bowls for serving drinks and desserts; now it was time for ice lanterns. Here’s how:




water balloonswater balloons in the snowFill a balloon with water, tie the neck securely, then place outside in the snow. The balloon will have a spherical shape, supported by the snow.

Leave overnight and it will freeze solid. In the morning, snip the neck of the balloon and peel it away from the ice.

Your ice lantern will be spherical, with a solid bottom and more delicate, thinner ice walls curving up to an opening at the top, as in the photo at the top of the page.

Drop a tea light into the hollow in the middle, and strike a match!


Flowerpot ice lantern in the makingAs we’ve hit a cold spell (down to -2°C tonight), I thought I’d try making an ice lantern in the (slightly) warmer temperatures of the Southeast. I haven’t got any balloons so I’ve filled a plastic bag with water and popped it into a flowerpot, lacking a handy snow bank to mould it into a sphere. I’ll report back on how it goes…

Day 2: Although temperatures fell as low as -4° last night, the water inside the bag inside the flowerpot wasn’t frozen solid. The water in the centre was still liquid (which is a heartening thing if you’re concerned about potted plants surviving the winter).

I lifted out the bag, poured out the water, untied the plastic bag and pulled it away and there was enough ice around the side to make a container for a tea light, once I’d turned it upside down. Here’s the finished flowerpot ice lantern.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 09.18.02






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