Saving Ice Lanterns from a Winter's Thaw

Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 11 December, 2014 | 1 Comment

Melting Ice Lanterns at Middlemoon Creekwalk 2012, Bucket Ice Lanterns, Melting Ice Luminaries are Beautiful, Wintercraft, Ice Lanterns, Globe Ice Lanterns, Ice Luminaries

When one makes Ice Lanterns outside--using Mother Nature's freezer--once in a while things can go awry. On any beautifully cold winter day, it could be predicted that the next day will be 20 degrees warmer. But, you say, I just made a few gloriously enchanting Globe Ice Lanterns for a party we are having this weekend. Normally, you would put them in plastic bags and store them on the north side of the house or in the shade until they are needed, but with above freezing temps on the way, what should you do?


There are few things you can do to save ice lanterns from excessive heat.


1. Put the ice lanterns in a freezer if possible. If you don't have freezer space, maybe your sister has room . . . or that nice new neighbor that you have been meaning to get to know. What better way to break the ice than to ask to store some ice in their freezer. Whoever you ask, make sure to invite them to the party.


2. The next best option is to bury your ice lanterns in a snowbank - preferably on the north side of the house. The ice lanterns will most likely melt a little, but if the snowbank does not melt away, the ice lanterns could still be usable.


3. If you don't have any snow left and there is no room in the freezer, the last option is to leave your ice lanterns on the north side of the house or in the shade of a tree. But, be sure to take them out of the plastic bag and sit them on top of the bag. Then, if only a little melting occurs, the ice lantern will not be sitting in a pool of water in the bag, which could then refreeze and make it challenging to use the ice lantern later.


With a thaw approaching that could see temperatures nearing 50°F (10°C) and our three (3!) large freezers full and not enough snow to work with, the photo below shows the sad globes ice lanterns that are going to have to wait out the heat on the north side of our house.


Storing Globe Ice Lanterns on the North side of the house or in the shade, Wintercraft, Solutions to heat with ice lanterns


But if all else fails, try to use your ice lanterns while you have the chance and then make some more when it gets cold again! The threat of warm weather was the impetus for our first Lover's Lane Creek Walk (now called Middlemoon Creekwalk) a few years ago. We had made many, many globe ice lanterns, bucket ice lanterns and tons of ice glass when the weather report came in for a sudden and dramatic thaw. Well, barring the use of someone's walk-in freezer, we just decided to put them down by the creek where the trees would shelter them from the sun during the day and light them up for the neighbors. It was a blast!

And, because there is usually at least one thaw per winter, it has become a recurring event. To receive a notice of our spontaneous creek lightings, be sure to sign up for the email list (found at the bottom of every page of the Wintercraft website) and/or watch for an alert on the Wintercraft Facebook page


And on a positive note, ice lanterns that have been exposed to the sun or heat, develop beautiful lines and jack frost-like patterns that, when they refreeze and are lit with candles or LED lights, are truly spectacular! Try it and see . . .

Wintercraft Middlemoon Creekwalk, a spontaneous luminary lightingWintercraft Middlemoon Creekwalk, spontaneous luminary lighting, solitary globe ice lantern lit on the sandbar


Enjoy the Glow!


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Comments (1 Response)

25 January, 2015

Susan Lenfestey

Made a big crop for a winter solstice party, then came a dreary, rainy thaw. Luckily, I had a friend with a deep freezer and lots of space. We took what was left, mostly eggshell-thin, and froze them until the day of the party. Plus I made a bunch more in the final days as it cooled down. The thawed ones were like egg shells, but rather beautiful in their thin clear fragility. Hope to catch middlemoon creekwalk.

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