DIY: Ice Luminaries

By Amy Christie

Winter is dark and cold — at least where I live. I can’t do much about the cold, however, I can do something about the dark! The long nights of the winter are a perfect time for luminaries. Who doesn’t love the inviting look of a walkway lined with lights?

My mom sent me this product link after seeing it in a local garden store. I loved it! It reminded me of this pin and, with a little DIY-ing, I figured out a way to make them into outdoor luminaries. The light source is your choice — small click lights or candles — and with a few other simple materials, your winter can be a little less dark too.

It’s so easy you’ll want to make a bunch!


– Balloons – any size – Huge ones would be awesome!
– Water
– Colored dye, optional
– Click lights/Candles

To begin, if you want to add color, add a few drops of dye inside the balloon. For very dense, deep coloring, add more than a few drops.

Attach to a water faucet and slowly fill the balloon with water.

Fill to your desired amount. Be careful of overfilling, especially if there is dye involved that could stain if the balloon bursts.

Freeze. There are two freezing techniques — use the first for click lights and the second if you’re using candles.

Click lights:

Completely freeze the balloons. It is freezing cold here so I was able to plop my outside. I placed them on a cookie sheet to keep them semi-contained.

Once frozen, remove the balloon.

Scoop out a little divot in the snow, place the click light inside and place the ice luminary on top.

The click light version is nice for bright, non-extinguishable light.


Obsessively Frequently check on them while they freeze. Allow the water in the balloons to mostly freeze.

When the outer shell is frozen but the inside is still water, cut away the balloon and release the water. You may have to carefully break the bottom open to release the water. Do this outside, in a sink or over a bucket so the water doesn’t stain. Don’t have snow? This method works great for non-snow areas like deck railings, with click lights or candles.

Once the water is removed, continue to freeze the ice globes.

When they are fully frozen, cover the candle with the cavity of the ice globe. The heat from the candle will melt the luminary after a while. Thankfully the supplies are really cheap. :)

While it requires more fiddling and the flames can be easily extinguished by wind or melting ice, I think I prefer the soft light of candles.

Either way, icy light makes the winter dark less so!

63 thoughts on “DIY: Ice Luminaries”

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  3. Penelope Summers

    Love this idea! How long do the click lights last in cold weather? Do you turn them on and off or jut leave them on all the time?

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