Luminaries give off a soft, amber glow to warm the soul in the deep, dark winter months. They cozy up your curb appeal and add a very merry touch to a holiday party. Traditional luminaries are made from paper bags with sand in the bottom, but you can fashion luminaries from all sorts of materials, including water. These ice luminaries are super easy to make, and although they only last as long as it’s cold outside, they’re extra-festive and wholly unique. Here’s how to make them.
Deep Plastic Containers
Rocks, for weight
Twigs, Sprigs, Berries and other decorative materials
Tea Lights, battery-operated
1. Fill a plastic container with as much water as it takes to give you the height you want for your luminaries.
Pro Tip: To ensure your ice is as clear as possible, use distilled water. Boil it, then cover it and let it cool somewhat. Boil it again, and let it cool enough to pour into the container. Boiling removes some of the impurities and air bubbles that can cloud your ice.
2. Fill a sturdy glass jar halfway up with rocks. Put the jar in the container so that it sinks down a few inches into the water–add or take away rocks as needed. This will be the well for the tea light. Use masking tape to secure the jar in place by attaching strips of tape to the lip of the jar on all sides, and sticking the other end of the tape to the container.
3. Slide your twigs, berries and other decorative materials into the water between the plastic container and the jar.
Pro Tip: The sky is the limit when it comes to the decorations you can put in your luminaries. You can use fall leaves, sliced fruit, colorful ornaments, garlands, or glitter. You can also use a little food coloring to give your luminaries a blue, green, red, or yellow glow.
4. Freeze. If it’s cold enough outside to freeze your luminaries, you can make as many as you need all at once. Otherwise, how many you can freeze depends on your freezer size.
5. Once the luminaries are frozen, set the container in warm water, and pour warm water into the jar until the ice melts enough that you can remove the jar and slide the ice out of the container.
6. Turn on the tea light, and set it in the well. Turn out the lights, and voila! Gorgeous, glowing luminaries to get you feeling festive.
With a little imagination and a few hours of freezing temps, you can make these gorgeous luminaries from scratch, and they don’t have to cost you a thing. Line them up along your driveway or sidewalk, or put them on the porch railing or steps to welcome guests and wow the neighbors.
Looking for more ways to decorate your porch for winter? Find out how to Create a Gorgeous Winter Container Garden in less than one hour.