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Creating your own Ice Sculptures

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Jan 2015; updated May 2023.

When the temperature falls below freezing, you can create your ice sculptures. This is a great activity to do with the kids at home.

When Jack Frost recently visited, we decided to run several 'experiments' to create ice sculptures. Here are our results...

How to make your own Ice Sculptures

Here's a great activity you can do at home with the kids when winter temperatures drop.

Ice Sculpture 1: Creating a Hanging Ice Pendant

Ice Pendant with Leaf

All you need for this are the following:

  • A plastic container
  • Something to embed in the pendant
  • Some string
  • And some water
Our experiment left out to freeze

Place the string at the top of the container, place what you want to embed in the ice in the middle, and fill the container with water. Leave it out to freeze overnight.

Ice Pendant with Ribbon

It's really up to you what you place inside the ice pendant.

Our kids chose some coloured ribbon (we'd just had Christmas, so some of this was still about) and a leaf.

I like the leaf.

The ice pendants first thing in the morning

When your pendants have frozen, the block of ice should pop out of the plastic container easily enough.

Take Caution with your Ice Pendant

Remember that ice is heavy, so if you hang your pendant somewhere, make sure that what you hang it from can take the weight.

If the temperature rises slightly, your pendant will slip off the string and come down with a crash, so don't hang it above anywhere that will get damaged when the ice falls.

When it does fall, your beautiful pendant will be smashed into smaller pieces, but the temporary nature of ice sculptures is part of their beauty.

Making Different Shaped Ice Pendants

Collect some different-shaped plastic containers and try making sculptures with these different shapes.

Get the kids to experiment to see if any shape works best, or get them to test the difference between larger and smaller containers.

If you are feeling really creative, get some plastic jelly moulds and go to town.

Ice Sculpture 2: Creating an Ice Bowl

Ice Bowl

The pendants are great, but the Ice Bowl is my favourite.

You will need the following:

  • A balloon (water balloons are best as normal balloons don't stretch as much)
  • Some water

Fill the balloon with water and leave it out to freeze.

The contents of the frozen balloons

Once the balloon is firmly frozen, peel off the balloon. You should be left with a round shape that's mainly hollow inside.

Our ice bowl at night with tea light

We made two of these, which turned out with slightly different patterns. Both looked like cut glass crystal bowls. It was an amazing result.

Ice bowls lighting the garden path

Both ice bowls were big enough to place tea lights inside, though we used some LED Tea Lights to avoid melting our ice sculptures.

Tip: LED Tea Lights are useful for many kids' art and craft projects.

Changing the Colour of the Ice

Coloured Ice

Mixing food dye with the water allows you to create slightly different coloured Ice Sculptures.

We tried this with some red food dye. I suspect a blue colour would certainly give the ice a colder look.

The red dye had turned clear but the ice was a different pattern

The red dye had turned clear but the ice was a different pattern

At first, you can see the ice is coloured, but as time passes, the ice returns to being transparent.