Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ice Candles 101

I had a comment after yesterday's post asking how ice candles were made. I thought I'd give a little tutorial with photos. The process is very easy. Finding the proper materials is the difficult part.

There are two materials required. One is a container that is used to hold water to create a large ice cube. The second is a container that is used to displace water in the center of this cube. Both must be able to freeze and item number two must be able to be easily removed from the ice-filled mold. I started one today and here is what I used. I have a large plastic salad bowl and a container that is used to hold a corn set. It is plastic as well, and floats in the water so I have it filled with rocks to weigh it down.

I'm sure you could come up with some unique containers. The center one is more difficult to find. If the mold is shallow a wine or beer bottle filled with sand or partially filled with water (to allow expansion room to prevent the bottle from breaking) might be used. Soft plastic is better as it is flexible. My molds are all too deep so the bottles don't work.

I have only one layer of water in the photo below. When this freezes I can add a layer of coloured water, let it freeze, add another colour or clear and go on that way making stripes. Or, I could add a material here. Glass shards which I have tons of, marbles or glass nuggets, plastic flowers. Again use your cre8ivity to come up with something that fits your theme. Clear is perfectly fine too. When the center container is sitting in the bowl of water some water will seep underneath and a thin film of ice can form. It is easily tapped out or melted out with a torch.

The hard part is waiting for the freeze. If you know you are going to have super cold temps you can crank them out. If you have a large freezer you can store them during a thaw. Depending on the size of the center hole, a tealight or larger pillar candle can be lit. Of course rain and snow put them out but you may have a sheltered spot you can display it in every night. You can make as many as you can get to freeze and line your walkway with them.

They do melt and this is what I've done with a partially melted one: I made a bird feeder out of it. Until it melts the birds can have little skating parties and invite their friends.

For today's music I went to my Melanie file. I know I just played her on Wednesday but I thought I had her song Candle in the Rain. I do not but wish I did. It would be perfect. I've been singing it in my head since I started the post. The only thing off hand I can think of is Buena Vista Social Club with Candela. I probably have other candle songs but am not coming up with anything quickly. So....... Tonight is supposed to be the biggest full moon of the year so we will have a song for that, Clair de Lune by Django Reinhardt. This is an instrumental - not the song you are probably familiar with. Happy candle making - unless you live in California or Sapin or Florida or Mexico or anyplace that is not freezing.


Ralph said...

Cool candles! Wish it would stay cold enough here.

Cuidado said...

That's it, Ralph. The weather has to be right. In some places they make whole hotels, etc. You could never do that here, with any amount of permanence.

Ralph said...

I've seen pictures of those amazing ice cities they do in--Sweden? Norway? Would love to visit. (But not live there!)

Carol Tiffin James said...

How intriguing! Thanks for the explanation; I had never heard of them until your post.

Here it's supposed to get to single digits for highs the second half of the week....Brrr!

Cuidado said...

It would be fun to build those cities, Ralph. They must have perfected their molds.

Cuidado said...

Carol, what a perfect opportunity to try some candles. I forgot to pot my middle coloured layer in last night before I went to bed. I was expecting to put the last layer on this morning.

Anonymous said...

There is a ice hotel in Quebec every year and it just happened to open this weekend for the season..


Cuidado said...

Yes, I'm familiar with that one too, Alf. Wouldn't it be cool to construct it?