FAQs

Most of these questions are answered on the 7-Step Instruction Guide that comes in every Wintercraft® Globe Ice Lantern Kit, but at times follow-up questions arise. Hopefully, we've addressed your question here, but if not, please feel free to contact us.

 

General

What’s an ice lantern?

Many people have not heard of the ancient craft of making ice lanterns or ice candles, so this is definitely a FAQ.


The simplest way to define an ice lantern is a "shell of ice with a candle inside." The shell protects a flame from the elements so that the ice lantern can act as a light source and/or decoration. A poet would say that an ice lantern is an ephemeral gift of nature! A scientist would say that an ice lantern is a single source of combusting gas in an ascending stream protected by an enclosure of water, which has been frozen or reduced to the solid state by cold temperature. Actually, both definitions are apt, as ice lanterns are, indeed, the beautiful outcome of a simple science experiment.

Imagine a tray of ice cubes taken out too soon. What do you find? Crusts of ice with water inside. Release the water, and voilà, miniature ice lanterns. So, now the trick is to do the same thing, but on a much larger scale . . .”

— Jennifer Shea Hedberg

An ice lantern is a shell of ice with a candle inside

 

For more information watch the video below




 

What are the different uses for ice lanterns?

See a host of Ice Lantern Celebrations and Uses; here

Are globe ice lanterns easy to make?

Like any new craft, experimentation and practice make perfect. I usually tell people that one can compare making globe ice lanterns to learning to knit. The first time you try it, you would probably have to pull out the stitches and try again. Plan on being surprised and all will be well. Heres' a BASICS blog.

Can Wintercraft Globe Ice Lanterns be used in warmer weather?

Globe Ice Lanterns are beautiful any time of year!

In fact, we have used globe ice lanterns in each the 4 seasons successfully and beautifully - inside and out. They last for a remarkably long period of time.

In terms of how long a globe will last displayed in warmer temps, (70-90°F), it all depends on the size and thickness of the globe and how long you want it to last.  

  • A centerpiece uses a small globe ice lantern (to keep sight lines open) which would be around 7-8" in diameter or 9-10 lbs of water with fairly thick walls (3"), is likely to last around 5-8 hours. Using cool-touch LED lights could double these times.
  • A larger globe ice lantern is usually around 11-13" in diameter or about 20-40 lbs and with thicker walls (4-5") should last from 12-24 hours. Using cool-touch LED lights could double these times.
  • The biggest challenge during warmer weather is the storing of the globes prior to use.  An average home set-up can make 1 or 2 at a time, but another freezer will be needed to store them after they are made.  Coolers with dry ice can keep globes for a few days, or a cooler with regular ice packs will work for several hours.  Reception venues often have larger freezers that can be used prior to events (ask ahead of time).  Globe Ice Lanterns look their best if they have had an hour or two to defrost before use. Keep in mind that a globe's transformation into a thin shell can be magical.

    P.S. Our favorite summer use was an outdoor pool party where we placed a large globe on a diving board and it slowly melted in to the water - it was a 90 plus degree night!

    Where can I purchase Wintercraft® products?

    Please view our List of Retailers and make sure to call ahead to see what specific products they have in stock.
    Wintercraft® products can also be ordered ONLINE.

    Can a Globe Ice Lantern be CREATED in warm weather?

    When the temperatures are at or near freezing, it can be very frustrating to try to make ice lanterns of any shape. It is best to watch the weather forcast for approximately 3 days with daily temperatures averaging 20°F or lower.

    If you put out some Globe Ice Lantern Balloons to freeze under warmer conditions (at or near freezing), follow the directions in the Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Kit, but keep in mind the following tips.

    Try to position the globes at least 10-15" away from any building and where it will be in the shade for as many hours as possible during the day. It could take several days for even a small globe to freeze. Once the globe develops a hard shell, check the bottom to see how open it is. The more water you feel, the thinner the shell. If the bottom of the globe is starting to get slushy or freeze, it is probably a thicker globe.

    If you have room to make a Globe Ice Lantern in a freezer, put a piece of styrofoam under the freezing base to keep the bottom of the globe from freezing.

    Freezing

    Can I make a Globe Ice Lantern in my freezer?

    Yes, one can make them in a freezer. Basically, you add a piece of styrofoam underneath your Wintercraft Freezing Base. This simulates the insulating qualities of the earth nor snow allowing the bottom to stay open. We've had some cirucular styrofoam insulating disks made that can be purchased to help aid in this process.

    To address how long to freezer them. Freezers do run at different temps, but for a small globe I find about 18 hours in my freezer works well for a nice thick result. You may need to vary the time based on the size and your particular freezer temp.

    We also offer a Four Season Kit that includes a styro base and more tips.

    How long do you freeze globe ice lanterns?

    Because outside temperatures are always changing, freezers all run at different temperatures and the balloons allows for an infinite number of globe sizes, one definitive answer is impossible. But we have worked out a few standards to go by and then, again, experimentation and practice are the keys to success.

    The estimated freezing times below are based on an average day/night temp of 20°F/-6.66°C and should produce a basic shell of ice that will look beautiful and be easy to use.

    For thicker, more dramatic globes, "freeze as long as you dare". A small, super-thick globe ice lantern could take 48+ hours to freeze with average day/night temperature of 20°F/-6.66°C.

  • SMALL BASE: CHECK after 14-18 hours.
  • LARGE BASE: CHECK after 24-30 hours.
  • Colder than day/night average 20°F/-6.66°C = shorter time.
  • Warmer than day/night average 20°F/-6.66°C = longer time.
  • HOW TO CHECK: Push firmly on the balloon as it sits in the freezing base. If it feels solid, lift the balloon off the freezing base and feel the unfrozen bottom. If the unfrozen area feels wide open, more time might be necessary for a thicker globe. If it feels like it is closing in or slushy, it might be ready to open. 

    Watch for updated freezing information as we collect new data based on the bar in the Wintercraft logo on the balloons.

    Have fun!

    What should I do if the globe freezes solid?
    1. Drill a hole in the top and the bottom of the globe and pour water through until a chamber for the candle is created. Warning: If the ice globe is frozen completely (there is no slush on the bottom) it will often break in two when you start to drill - see #3.
    2. If the balloon is still intact and you know it is frozen solid, the following process is a little involved but is usually very successful: 
    3. Take a sharp knife and carefully cut a circle of the balloon away from the top and the bottom of the balloon. Through both holes, drill two holes in the ice that are aimed at each other with a spade bit of 1" or greater. In a sink, pour a small amount of water into the holes and return to the cold environment where it was freezing for at least one hour. Redrill the holes and pour more water down the top hole until the two holes meet. Once they meet, pour enough water through the hole to create an interior chamber big enough for a candle. Then, with the balloon still around the outside, put it back in its cold environment for another hour or so. The two halves should freeze together and then you can take the balloon off and light it.
    4. If the globe breaks in half, put the flat sides of the globe down and drill a hole through the middle of each. Create two holes in the snow and put a candle in the hole. Place the half globes on top so that the candle is directly under the drilled hole. The half globes will glow and be beautiful. And, now you have 2 where you would have had one! 
    5. Create a hole in the snow and put some LED lights in the snow. Place the globe that is frozen solid over the hole. It will be fairly dense because of all the minerals that were frozen in the center of the globe, but it will still glow.
    What's the best location to place the balloons outside to freeze?

    The best place to put water-filled balloons to freeze is a location where they can be in the shade for the majority of the day. The thaw/re-freeze action that can occur from placing a water-filled balloon in a very sunny spot to freeze can sometimes cause the latex of the balloon to fail—especially with larger globes.

    Reminder: Water-filled balloons should not be placed on stone or decking as it could hasten the bottom freezing.

    Snow acts as an isulator, so it should be under the balloon's freezing base, but if possible, brush any snow away from the top and side surfaces of the balloon while it is freezing.

    Place water-filled balloons at lease a foot apart from each other while they are freezing, as the heat from other balloons could cause the unfrozen cavity of the balloon to be off-center.

    TIP - Fun science experiment to do with kids: If you place two water-filled balloons right next to each other so they are touching, when they are opened, the central cavities will be kissing as well.

    Can I place the balloon near the house to freeze?

    No. It is best to place the balloon filled with water outside to freeze at least 10-15 feet from the house and not on decking or stone work.

    Why? The house emits heat and the central cavity of the globe that is created while freezing will be off to one side - toward the house. The outside of the globe is exposed to the cold air, and so the ice of the globe will freeze from the outside in. Therefore, if one side is even slightly warmer (in this case caused by the heat of the house) the inside chamber will develop toward the heat.

    Is it OK to let snow sit on the water-filled balloons while they are freezing?

    Snow acts as an isulator, so it should be under and around the balloon's freezing base to help keep the bottom from freezing. But it will keep the ice globe from freezing as well, so if possible, brush any snow away from the top and side surfaces of the balloon while it is freezing.

    What do I do with my ice globes during a warm spell?

    When temperatures rise or it rains, and you would like to preserve your Globe Ice Lanterns, there are several tactics you can deploy.

    1. If you have space in a freezer, use it, but first put the Globe Ice Lantern in a plastic bag (so it does not freeze to any part of the freezer). In a freezer, Globe Ice Lanterns can be packed in on top of each other you like—they cannot melt, so the shape should not alter. Place thinner, more fragile lanterns toward the top.
    2. If there is a base of snow, put the ice globe in a plastic bag and bury it in a big pile of snow that you find or create. When it is cold again and you find your buried treasure, it may have developed a few wrinkles. Use a hair dryer or small torch to remove any glaze or imperfections. Try to look at these wrinkles as a new way for the light to dance around. (Make sure it is sitting with the open bottom down inside the snowbank to help preserve its round shape.)
    3. If there is you don't have room in a freezer or enough snow to create a mound, put a white plastic bag over it and place it (open bottom side down) on the north side of a structure or large tree so that it is in shade as much as possible.
    4. The last idea is to just let them go. They may get thin and full of sun or rain lines, but that could make the patterns of light amazing. Besides, now that you have the Wintercraft® Globe Ice Lantern Kit, you can just make more! 
    Is the balloon reusable?

    Sadly, no. But it can be said that the balloon sacrifices itself for beauty!

    The fact that the balloons are cut off the ice globe after the freezing process reduces the labor of creating a lantern. Instead of having to bring a bucket lantern inside to loosen the lantern from the form, you just pop and peel the balloon - very quick, very easy.

    But, remember, our Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloons are biodegradable and have the same degrade rate as an oak leaf.

    How should I store my Globe Ice Lantern until I am ready to use it?

    Once a Globe Ice Lantern has been created, it is best to store it somewhere where it will stay cold and seperated from any surface.

    If it is below freezing temps, a Globe Ice Lantern can be stored in a plastic bag on the north side of a home (in shade for most of the day). Always store it sitting with the open bottom down - try not to store it on its side.

    If it is above freezing temps, there are several alternatives: 

    1. If you have space in a freezer, use it, but first put the Globe Ice Lantern in a plastic bag (so it does not freeze to any part of the freezer). In a freezer, Globe Ice Lanterns can be packed in on top of each other you like—they cannot melt, so the shape should not alter. Place thinner, more fragile lanterns toward the top.
    2. If there is a base of snow, put the ice globe in a plastic bag and bury it in a big pile of snow that you find or create. When it is cold again and you find your buried treasure, it may have developed a few wrinkles. Use a hair dryer or small torch to remove any glaze or imperfections. Try to look at these wrinkles as a new way for the light to dance around. (Make sure it is sitting with the open bottom down inside the snowbank to help preserve its round shape.)
    3. If there is you don't have room in a freezer or enough snow to create a mound, put a white plastic bag over it and place it (open bottom side down) on the north side of a structure or large tree so that it is in shade as much as possible.
    4. The last idea is to just let them go. They may get thin and full of sun or rain lines, but that could make the patterns of light amazing. Besides, now that you have the Wintercraft® Globe Ice Lantern Kit, you can just make more! 

    Lighting

    Can you add color to a globe ice lantern?

    Adding a colorant to the globe itself does not work very well, but you can surround a globe ice lantern with beautiful winter greens or flowers (inside) or you can add a colorful LED light.

    Why does adding color not work well? Pure water freezes first and pushes impurities (anything that is not hydrogen and oxygen) toward the center of the globe where it is warmer. Because a colorant is an impurity, most of the color will get flushed out when the balloon is opened and the water is released. What color that remains will create a pale-colored globe. Also, the color that does freeze is the last to freeze and so will be the first to melt when it is used. So, it will make a BIG MESS.

    But don't let our warnings stop you from playing and experimenting. Please let us know if you have come up with a fun or interesting experiment for using a colorant in globes.

    For vibrant colored globes, try using strings of colored cool-touch LED lights that are found at hardware stores and/or battery-operated waterproof LED lights.

    Can you use faux candles or LED lights in the lanterns?

    Absolutely. You can get very dramatic results using a faux candle or strings of little white or colored lights. And because a chimney is not needed, you can skip Step #6 on the Wintercraft® Globe Ice Lantern Instruction Card. But be sure to read the directions of the lighting product that you plan to use. The lights should be able to be used outdoors or be able to get wet without damage.

    Check out our wide variety of Battery-operated Waterproof LED Lights available for purchase in our online catalog and have fun experimenting with color!

    How do I keep the votive candle from sinking into the snow?

    The glass of a votive candle holder will heat up from a lit candle and cause the candle and the candle holder to sink into the snow.

    To counter this, take a plastic cup, turn it upside down and put it into the snowbank where you want the candle to be. (Adjust the height of the candle by adding snow to the cup.)

    Put the votive candle holder on the upturned bottom of the cup and place the globe ice lantern over the candle.

    The plastic cup should act as insulation between the heated candleholder and the snow. Then the candle will stay just where you want it - in the bottom 1/3 of the globe ice lantern so it can glow from the bottom up!

    Should I use glass votives with the candles?

    Votive candles will burn longer in a tight-fitting votive container. Most votive containers are glass.

    When using a glass votive holder, the burning candle will heat the glass up and will cause any ice or snow it is sittin on to melt. When the candle goes out the glass could become frozen into the snow or ice. 

    It is best to put a plastic cup or disc in-between the glass votive and the snow/ice to keep the glass votive from freezing into place.

    What candles should I use?

    In an ice lantern, the important part of a candle is not usually what it looks like, but how it performs in cold temperatures. The light needs to be bright and it needs to burn cleanly to keep soot out of these beautiful crystal balls.

    Unfortunately, many candles are not created to burn well in those conditions. For example, soy candles burn very clean and bright in warm indoor conditons, but produce a dim light in an ice lantern.

    Consider using Wintercraft® Ice Lantern Candles. They are short (wind protection), and will burn clean and bright in cold conditions.

    Short candles work best as they are lower in the lantern. A shorter candle allows the whole lantern to iight up and the candle will be farther away from the wind so it will have a better chance of staying lit!

    For troubleshooting with candle use, see FAQ section: Creation and Troubleshooting.

    How long do the candles last?

    Wintercraft offers two different candles in the Globe Ice Lantern Kits.

    The Ultimate Kit contains a box of Wintercraft Premium Candles. They are votive candles which will last up to 10 hours if put in a votive candle holder*. Votive candles are not designed to stand on their own. As they burn, they are supposed to melt into a container. So if there is no container to hold the melting wax, the wick will burn faster and thus the candle will not last as long.

    The candles contained the Starter, Deluxe, and Super Starter (for sale starting 1/1/2013) kits are tealights which are self contained and will last from 3-5 hours.

    All candles will burn slightly dimmer when it is very cold, but because they are burning slower, they also last a little longer.

    *TIP: Don't throw away plastic lids. Why? Put a saved plastic lid under a glass votive as it burns in a globe ice lantern to  keep the glass votive holders from freezing into/onto the ice/snow/cement. 

    How long do the LED's last?

    Wintercraft offers Acolyte brand LED lights

    1-bulb unit lights are offered in several colors (Amber, Blue, Red and Rotating Color) and sold in packs of 4. Acolyte states that each 1-Bulb unit will run 12+ hours per two (2) CR2032 coin cell batteries. In a cold environment, that time can be shortened.

    9-Bulb Light units are offered in White and Rotating Color. Acolyte states that each 9-Bulb unit will run 8+ hours per three (3) AAA alkaline batteries. In a cold environment, that time can be shortened.

    What do you suggest for a drip tray for an indoor display?

    To make a drip tray you need a larger bowl to catch the melting water and a way to elevate the globe so it does not sit in the melting water (see detailed drawing).

    When making centerpieces it is best to keep all the action as low as possible so people can see over the arrangement. That said, I would use a larger low-laying dish with edges that lip up a few inches. Those kind of dishes can hold a surprising amount of water. Then I would find a short tiered cake plate to put in the middle of the low-laying dish. Then put flowers or other decorations in the rest of the low-laying bowl to create an arrangement.

    Keep in mind that everything you put into the bowl decreases the amount of water it can hold. I usually fill a Wintercraft balloon to the size that I want the globe to be and then empty the water into the bowl I want to use. If it does not overflow, its good to go.

    How do you create a centerpiece to be able to display a globe ice lantern indoors?

    When a Globe Ice Lantern is used indoors as a centerpiece or other indoor display, it is absolutely necessary to use or create a drip tray system to catch the melting ice.

    To make a drip tray system using items around your house:

    FIRST find a larger bowl which can hold at least 2 quarts/liters of water which will catch the melting ice (see TIPs 3 & 4 below). When making centerpieces it is best to keep all the action as low as possible so people can see over the arrangement. That said, I would use a larger low-laying bowl with edges that are at least a few inches tall. Make sure you test it to see how much water it can hold! 

    SECOND look for a short tiered cake plate which will be placed inside the bowl and elevate the ice globe so that it does not sit in the water as the ice melts. (If you don't own a tiered cake plate, see detailed drawing of an alternative.)

    THIRD If you own a wreath that makes sense for the holiday in question, put it around the bowl or rest it on the edges of the bowl. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to add color around the bowl. ANOTHER WAY to add color is to put flowers or other decorations into the bowl around the tiered cake plate to create a pleasing arrangement. (KEEP IN MIND that everything you put into the bowl decreases the amount of water it can hold. I usually fill a Wintercraft balloon to the size that I want the globe to be and then empty the water into the bowl I want to use. If it does not overflow, its good to go.)

    FOURTH: Place your Globe Ice Lantern on the tiered cake plate and light it up with a candle or LED lights. (Make sure to reveiw the concept of airflow if using a candle.)

    ENJOY THE GLOW!  Read the tips below, too!

    Tip 1: To keep the ice globe level, stable and to add great air flow with candles, sprinkle some small gravel, like the kind found in fish tanks or driveways, on the tiered cake plate for the Globe Ice Lantern to sit on. ALTERNATIVE: Moistened tissue paper between the tiered cake plate and Globe Ice Lantern will reduces slipping. Carefully chip notches into the bottom of the ice globe to add needed airflow for a candle. LED lights to not require airflow.

    Tip 2: If you do not own a tiered cake plate, this detailed drawing shows how to make one using other household items. It is usually not as stable, but will often do in a pinch.

    Tip 3: Decorative flowers or greenery placed in bowl will displace water. If the display will be at an important function, test your interior display first and adjust accordingly by using a larger bowl or a smaller ice globe.

    Tip 4: Monitor indoor displays to prevent water from overflowing.

    How long will a globe ice lantern last INSIDE?

    The length of time a globe ice lantern will stay round in an indoor display will depends on how big you make it; how thick it is; where you display it; the room temperature; and what type of candle you use.

    Put a soccer ball-sized globe ice lantern (8-9" diameter) that is relatively thick (at least 3” thick walls) in an indoor drip tray display at room temperature and burn a standard clean-burning candle inside, and it could last 5-8 hours. Put a cool touch LED light inside the globe and your times could double.

    Put a basketball-sized globe ice lantern (10-12" diameter) that is relatively thick (at least 3” thick walls) in an indoor drip tray display at room temperature and burn a regular paraffin candle inside, and it could last 12-24 hours. Put a cool touch LED light inside the globe and your times could double.

    If you use a candle with a thicker wick so that it burns hotter and brighter, it will decrease the life of a globe displayed indoors.

    Note: As a globe ice lantern melts indoors, the chimney will grow until the globe resembles more of a cylinder, but the ice, as it thins, will start to show off all the interesting lines and crevasses. In other words, it will book amazing even as it falls apart!

    How long will a globe ice lantern last OUTSIDE?

    The length of time a globe ice lantern will stay beautiful depends on how big you make it; how thick it is; where you display it; the outside temperature; and what type of candle you use.

    Put a small or large, relatively thick (at least 3” thick walls) globe ice lantern outside in the shade during winter temperatures and occasionally burn a standard parafin candle in it, and it could last most of the winter.

    Put the same globe in the sun, and it will shrink slowly for a month or so, but the sun will etch beautiful lines into the globe so at night with a candle burning inside, the light will dance!

    Creation and Troubleshooting

    What kind of water is best to put in the balloons?

    The best kind of water is plain, unsoftened and tap water. 

    If your home has softened water, which can make globe ice lanterns cloudy, try the cold water tap in the laundry area as it is sometimes unsoftened. An outdoor hose tap will also be unsoftened. Ask a nice neighbor who has unsoftened water or ask if you can fill them at work.

    If all else fails, try this: Using your water faucet, fill a Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloon as full as you intend. Empty the water so you have a stretched out balloon that can take more water for the next step. With a funnel, fill the balloon with distilled or purified water until it starts to come out the top of the balloon. Then put the balloon back on your faucet head and fill the balloon the rest of the way using the pressure of the tap. Because pure water freezes first, the small amount of distilled or purified water will freeze first and most of your softened water will be flushed away when you open the globe.

    How big should the balloon be as it fills with water?

    Wintercraft balloons are very strong.  Only under very rare circumstances would one burst when making a globe to fit on the Wintercraft Large Freezing Base.   

    In general, the balloon should be filled until it rests comfortably on the freezing base (it should not wobble or roll off).  

    For a small base a balloon should be filled to about 8-10" in diameter or about 10-14 lbs of water. 

    For a large base a balloon should be filled to about 11-13" in diameter or about 20-40 lbs of water. 

    TIP: Fill the balloon in a laundry tub!

    If you are feeling adventurous, keep in mind that these heavy-weight balloons will burst around 65+ pounds of water … 

    The faucet heads are too big for the balloons?

    Newer faucet heads seem to come in all shapes and sizes

    The best places to find a smaller faucet head in an average house is in the laundry tub area or an outside hose tap.

    Why are my globe ice lanterns are cloudy?

    If your globe ice lanterns are cloudy it is likely that you are using higly softened water to fill the balloons. The salts in the water make the globe ice lantern take longer to freeze and can be white or cloudy.

    A cloudy globe ice lantern will glow nicely and be beautiful, but if that is not the look you are after try filling your balloons using the cold water tap in the laundry area as it is sometimes unsoftened. You can also use the outdoor hose tap, ask a nice neighbor who has unsoftened water, or ask if you can fill your ice lantern balloons at work.

    If all else fails, try this: Using your water faucet, fill a Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloon as full as you intend. Empty the water so you have a stretched out balloon that can take more water for the next step. With a funnel, fill the balloon with distilled or purified water until it starts to come out the top of the balloon. Then put the balloon back on your faucet head and fill the balloon the rest of the way using the pressure of the tap. Because pure water freezes first, the small amount of distilled or purified water will freeze first and most of your softened water will be flushed away when you open the globe.

    How do you get the hole inside?

    Imagine a tray of ice cubes taken out too soon. What do you find? Crusts of ice with water inside. Release the water, and voilà, miniature ice lanterns. A natural cavity is created where the candle is placed and lit.

    In other words, if you pop the balloon before all the water has a chance to freeze, and the unfrozen water is released, there will be a cavity of air where the candle or LED light is placed.

    How do you make the chimney?

    To create a hole (chimney) in the top of the ice globe, place it over a candle with plenty of air flow from underneath. Because the interior cavity is basically round, the melting ice will follow the contour of the cavity and not put the candle out. So the heat of the candle will create the hole.

    For a faster method, use a cordless drill (preferably 18 or 20 Volt) and the largest drill bit (a 1" bit for small globes and and 1.5" bit for large globes) to create a chimney. It is recommended that this option be completed by an adult wearing safety glasses.

    The best drill bit is often called a Spade Bit and it comes in many different diameters. 

    While cracks in the ice can often be beautiful, too much pressure can break a globe in half. With a good sharp drill bit and a powerful drill, it should not be necessary to apply too much pressure. Let the drill bit do the work.

    Remember that ice is slippery, keep your hands at a safe distance and start drilling slowly until the bit grabs the ice.

    What kind of drill and bit works best?

    It is best on a drill if it is a 18 or 20 Volt. Ice is very hard and lower voltage drills can work, but I have seen a few struggle and burn up with the effort.

    The kind of drill bit that we use is called a Spade Bit. I usually use a 1" bit for small globes and and 1.5" bit for large globes. With an extender on them, it makes it easy to drill all the way through a forgotten globe that has frozen solid so one can run hot water through it to create a cavity that is big enough for a candle.

    Why is my ice globe lantern flat on top?

    IDEA #1: The top of your ice globe lantern is flat because there might have been a lot of air in the balloon before you clipped it shut. If you let the air out, the top of the globe will be rounder.

    IDEA #2: The top of your ice globe lantern is flat because the balloon might have had a cap of snow on it while it was freezing. Snow is an insulator and will alter the way the water freezes. Try to wipe the snow away from the top and sides of the balloon when possible.

    How can I make more globe ice lanterns at one time?

    The Wintercraft system for making round and beautiful Globe Ice Lanterns requires the use of one freezing base and one balloon. The freezing bases can be used again, so if you have 5 bases, you can make 5 at a time, and so on.

    We offer bulk purchases of all our globe ice lantern kit products:

    Balloons and Clips

    Candles

    Small and Large Freezing Bases

    Insulating Disks

    Also, feel free to check out our Bundles that we offer. They are perfect for Classroom Projects or for a Fun Neighborhood Party to bring people together!

    What is the best kit for making 20 centerpieces?

    It depends on if you want to freeze all 20 globes at one time or are willing to make, say 5 or 10 at a time. Each lantern requires the use of one freezing base and one balloon. The freezing bases can be used again, so if you have 5 bases, you can make 5 at a time, and so on.

    If you want to make primarily small globes, my suggestion would be to buy one Deluxe Pack because it has great directions for making centerpieces and 2 small freezing bases (it has 2 large bases too, but then you could make larger globes for the front door). Then you can buy extra freezing bases and extra balloons to make as many small globes as you want.

    Make them ahead of time to make sure they work for the centerpiece that you have created. Do a practice centerpiece if you can. Set it up the way you want it and light it. Does it work? Does the globe slide around? (A piece of white tissue paper in between slick surfaces disappears when wet and will create enough friction to keep a globe where you want it.)

    If the globe works for the centerpiece, then put them in plastic bags to store until they are needed. If they have been in a deep freezer or outside under 10 degrees, take them out an hour or so before you need them so they can defrost.

    My candle keeps going out or is dim?

    If a candle continues to go out there could be several issues.

    1. If the candle will not light or stay lit, it is not getting enough air.

    A. Put a small stick or other item under one side of the lantern (on the side away from the wind) to let in some air.

    B. If the lantern is sitting in snow, put on sticks or create a small air channel under the globe (on the side away from the wind)

    C. If the lantern is sitting on a flat hard surface, gently chip a small V in the bottom of the globe with a sharp tool or hammer. The hole  needs to be large enough to let in air and positioned on the side away from the wind.

    D. If the lantern is sitting on a flat hard surface, gently drill a hole in the side of the lantern near the bottom of the globe with a small drill bit (5/8" Spade bit). Position the globe with the hole on the side away from the wind.

    2. If the light from the candle is but dim, replace the candle.

    When a candle is outside in the cold and encased in ice, some candles just are not created to burn well in those conditions. For example, soy candles burn very clean and bright in warm indoor conditons, but produce a dim light in an ice lantern.

    Consider using Wintercraft® Ice Lantern Candles. They burn clean and bright in cold conditions.

    3. If the candle flame dances around and then goes out, it is getting too much air.

    A. Check around the bottom of the globe for air holes that are too large and plug with snow/leaves/greens. This is especially true on the side of the globe facing the wind.

    B. Lower the candle if possible or a shorter candle.

    #3 If the Globe Ice Lantern has been used repeatedly and the chimney is too large for high wind conditions.

    A. Lower the candle if possible or a shorter candle.

    B. If there is snow, put the lantern over a hole in the snow so the candle can be placed down into the hole. (If the votive candle in a candleholder is placed on an upside-down plastic cup, the candle will stay in place and not sink into the snowbank.)

    C. Use a taller candleholder that might even stick out the top of the lantern

    How do I save my globe ice lanterns when the weather gets warm?

    There are several ways to save globe ice lanterns. These recommendations are listed from easiest to challenging, but they all start by putting the globe ice lantern into a plastic bag.

    1.Put it in the freezer. If you do not have enough room - eat the pint of ice cream - then put it in the freezer.

    2.No freezer space? While in the plastic bag place it on its flat side on the north side of a house or tree.

    3.Temps are still too warm? If you have a snow bank, bury it (in the plastic bag) in the snow bank.

    When a globe is put in temps that are above freezing, there will always be some melting.  When a globe ice lantern emerges from a snow bank, it may be misshapen, but if there is still a cavity, it should light up beautifully.

    Retail Store Support

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    Also, be sure to visit us on youtube!

    I have a question that you did not address in the FAQ’s?

    As always, we love to hear from people - with both good (yeah!) and constructive criticism. All inquiries are helpful, so please feel free to contact us. Who knows, the next time you check, your question might be listed in the FAQs.