Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ice luminary construction

I decided to try my hand at making ice luminaries this winter.  It turned out to be really quite easy. All you need is some water, plastic buckets, candles and sub-freezing temperatures.

To get things started fill some plastic buckets nearly full of water and then put them outside to freeze.  I discovered it works best to place the bucket on some snow, so that the bottom doesn't freeze (this eventually becomes the open top of the luminary).  I tried making ice luminaries on a unheated cement porch, and the bottoms froze over.

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If it is around zero degrees Fahrenheit it might only take a day and night to create a sold layer of ice across the top and sides of the bucket. If it is only a little below freezing it could take up to three days, or more, to get at least an inch of ice formed around the buckets' top and sides.  Once the ice has formed the buckets can be taken indoors to warm up for about 15 minutes, before they're dumped over into a large sink or on the ground outdoors (the ice looses from the bucket as it warms). Be prepared for cold water to come gushing out when the buckets are dumped.  Once the water has been emptied from the insides of the bucket the luminary is ready to be turned over and a candle placed inside for illumination.

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!

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