For the last of my ‘icy’ posts I thought I would include the ice lantern which we made over Christmas. Ice lanterns and ice bowls have been around for quite a while, and it seems the lanterns are even ‘traditional’ in some parts of the world. A few years ago I even had a commercially made, star-shaped mould for making one, until it unaccountably got distorted so that it was impossible to remove the ice, and had to be binned.
Nowadays with freezers, you can make these at any season of the year, using whatever natural materials are available: flowers in the spring and summer, colourful autumn leaves, or in winter evergreens and berries. Moving away from the natural look, you can even add colour to the water to make a coloured lantern. I quite like the idea of this, though it’s not something I’ve tried.
To get into the true spirit of creating something ‘natural’ you should probably freeze it outdoors on a really icy night, but I’m afraid I cheated and put mine in the freezer. I used an old ice-cream tub, with a tall plastic beaker placed in the centre (weighted down with some pebbles), I then filled the space with water, put the plant material into it and placed it in the freezer.
Ice lanterns are easy to create and make a wonderful decoration indoors or out, for evenings at any time of the year. They also last a surprisingly long time, even indoors – dependent of course upon their size and the environment they’re in. Make sure you place the lantern in a shallow dish though, because you will have to keep on emptying the water as it melts!