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Make a winter lantern with plastic buckets.

February 08, 2013 at 5:37 PM

As we draw toward the end of what has been another long, cold winter, most of us heave a palpable sigh of relief. But before things (hopefully!) get a bit warmer, why not use the remaining cold days to try out a great new idea that's begun making an appearance in the UK this winter.

Ice lanterns, or luminaries are, essentially blocks of ice with a candle in them. They sound simple but they are an attractive and effective way of lighting up your garden on winter nights.

You will need a couple of plastic buckets - of course! One larger than the other. If you only have large buckets, other containers such as an ice cream container will do. Using the larger bucket, put two rocks in the bottom to create a shelf. Then, you need the smaller bucket to put inside the larger one. You'll need to place something on top of the rocks to ensure the smaller container is level with the top of the bucket.

Then, more rocks are required to go inside the smaller container, to hold it down. Pour water around it into the large plastic bucket. You may decide to add colouring at this point, to make the water an interesting colour. Some people even add glitter, fruit and other finishing touches to set the lantern apart.

Once you're happy with your creation you just need to leave it out in the ice cold weather, assuming it's still cold enough. If not, just pop it in the freezer.
When the lantern is completely frozen, remove the rocks from the smaller and pour in warm water.This lubricates the ice lantern so you can remove it. Once loose, flip the bucket upside down, preferably in a bath or sink, and trickle warm water on it. This helps removal of the lantern, a bit like taking ice cubes from a freezer tray.

If its very cold where you are, ie below freezing, you can try something called 'cracking the lantern'. This creates some nice variations to the light by changing the refraction of the ice. To do this, place your lantern on its side and pour some cold water on it from a jug or similar. Leave it for a few seconds (up to 30) and you should hear the lantern crack. The outer wall will appear fractured but still intact. Be aware that disaster can occasionally strike and they can break, so it may be wise to make backups!

Tags: plastic buckets plastic containers
Category: plastic buckets

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