How To Make Ice Lanterns (Ice Candles)

If it’s below freezing where you live, these ice candles can just live on your front porch or front steps all winter! But even if they only last a day or two, ice lanterns are a beautiful way to welcome guests to your home for a holiday party!

When the weather is consistently below freezing most days, I think it’s the perfect time for ice lantern decorations! They’re really quick and easy to make, and so gorgeous. Today’s tutorial will show you how to make ice lanterns (or ice candles) in a few simple steps.

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Pin This!

These DIY ice lanterns are super easy to make, plus you can make them for under $5! All you need are a few recycled cans, water, and some faux greenery which you can find at your local craft store.

How To Make Ice Candles or Ice Lanterns

  • Time spent doing stuff: 15 minutes
  • Time spent waiting around: 6-8 hours (it takes a while for these to freeze!)
  • Total project time: 6-8 hours

Tools

Materials for DIY Ice Candles

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Instructions to make ice candles

Clean out your tin cans and remove the labels. Don’t worry about the sticky label residue; it won’t hurt the ice lanterns if it doesn’t all come off.

Put a small amount of water (about 1/2 C) into the larger tin can. Then put the smaller tin can inside the larger one. The smaller tin can should be floating inside the larger one at this point.

Add a few rocks to the smaller tin can to hold it down so that the tops of both cans are level. Then add tape on all four sides to help hold the smaller tin can centered in the larger one.

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Now cut apart your greenery and berries into smaller pieces and stick them down into the water between the two cans. The individual berries float, so I cut them into “sprigs” and just stuck the whole thing down the side of the can. This helped sort of wedge the greenery and berries between the two cans so they wouldn’t all float to the top.

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Once you’ve added greenery everywhere, add a little more water between the cans, until the water is about 1/2″ to 1″ below the top of the can. If your water is already too full, pour some out. Remember, water expands as it freezes, so don’t fill it too full or the water will overflow as it turns to ice.

If it’s below freezing where you live, stick the cans outside overnight to freeze. If it’s too warm outside, just put them in your freezer overnight.

Once the water is frozen, run slightly warm water over the outside of the can and inside of the smaller can to help loosen the ice. Once the outsides melt a little bit you should be able to slide the ice lanterns right out of the tin can molds!

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Stick a small tea light in the ice lantern, light it, and enjoy the glow of your ice candle! It’s just as pretty during the day too!

how to make ice lanterns or ice candles

Shop this project

faux greenery and berries
faux greenery and berries
husky 7 inch diagonal pliers
diagonal cutter

Want to share this project with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons at the top or bottom of this article to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

How To Make Ice Lanterns or Ice Candles

5 from 2 votes
Ice lanterns are a beautiful way to decorate for winter, and you can make these for under $5! Learn how to make ice candles by following these simple instructions.
Active Time 15 mins
Freezing Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Yield 1 candle
Cost $5

Equipment

  • diagonal cutters

Materials

  • 2 empty tin cans one small enough to fit inside the other with at least 1/2" of space between the two cans on hte sides and at hte bottom
  • faux greenery and berries
  • rocks or another small, heavy item
  • tape
  • 1 tea light candle

Instructions
 

  • Clean both tin cans and remove the labels. It's ok if some of the label residue remains.
  • Put a small amount of water (about 1/2 C) into the larger tin can. Then put the smaller tin can inside the larger one so that it floats on the water.
  • Add a few rocks to the smaller tin can to hold it down so that the tops of both cans are level. Then add tape on all four sides to help hold the smaller tin can centered within the larger one.
  • Cut apart the greenery and berries into "sprigs" and stick them down into the water between the two cans, wedging them between the cans so they don't all float to the top.
  • Add water between the cans until the water is about 1/2″ to 1″ below the top of the can.
  • Put the cans outside or in the freezer overnight to freeze.
  • Run slightly warm water over the outside of the larger can and inside of the smaller can to help loosen the ice. Once the outsides melt a little bit you should be able to slide the ice candle right out of the tin can mold.
  • Place a small tea light in the ice lantern, light it, and enjoy the glow of your ice candle!

Notes

Remember, water expands as it freezes, so don’t fill the cans too full or the water will overflow as it turns to ice.

Save your favorite projects!

Create a free account to easily save your favorite projects, tutorials, and recipes.

Create Account
Jessi signature

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

  1. Anu says

    1 year ago

    Since I reside in a warmer country this doesn’t even long for an hour it will turn into water

  2. Paulette Lyle says

    1 year ago

    These are really nice to keep white wine bottles chilled.–year round Use REAL greens, berries, blueberries INSTEAD OF PLASTIC, please.

  3. Toni Brown says

    2 years ago

    What a great idea. Beautiful and so simple to make

  4. Molly says

    3 years ago

    I’d skip the fake stuff and add real cranberry’s, evergreen branches, twigs, pine cones, for a really natural way!

  5. Rosemary says

    3 years ago

    Love this! I am going to have to buy something in a big can just to make it. I suppose other containers could be used, as long as one is bigger and they are the same shape. Can’t wait to make one!

  6. Sandee says

    4 years ago

    Where did you get the larger cans?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      3 years ago

      The small cans are like 12 oz soup cans, and the larger ones are the big 32 oz cans like pumpkin puree comes in.

  7. Brenda says

    4 years ago

    can you do this with wax instead of water

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 years ago

      If you do it with melted wax, it won’t end up being very clear in the finished product because wax tends to be milky when dry. But you could use a clear resin instead of water if you want it to be permanent!

  8. Lis Pitkethley says

    4 years ago

    Thank you for a beautiful idea and instructions. So clever!
    I almost wish we lived in a cold place so I could try it, no not really. Nowhere compares to New Zealand.

  9. Lindi says

    5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing all of your great tin can projects!! I’m pinning all of them! Be sure to make a great “coat hanger” DIY so that you can link up to the Create with Me party in March! Featured this project on fb today! Couldn’t find you on Instagram. Do you have it?

  10. Daisy says

    5 years ago

    Can you use a wax to make it last longer? Love the look of it. Totally cute idea.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      5 years ago

      I don’t know if a wax would help, but you could try making them out of epoxy or something similar if you want it to be permanent!

  11. Cheri says

    5 years ago

    These are so beautiful. I would love to create a line of these along the front porch.

  12. carol molnar says

    5 years ago

    I cauht a comment frm someone who used fake water and I would like to know how she got it out of the form she used. I want to make really bad for Chrstmas Will appreciate a reply!!!

  13. Maggie O'Brien says

    5 years ago

    I’m confused….. isn’t it going to melt?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      5 years ago

      Yes they will. I mentioned in the post that they’re temporary decorations. I made them when it was below freezing here in Chicago so they lasted quite a while, even when the candles were lit. But even if they only last a day or two, they are still pretty! And they’re easy enough to make that it didn’t seem like a waste to me.

  14. Fatima Lazarte says

    6 years ago

    es una muy buena idea,me encanta!se me ocurre hacerlo con otro material.gracias por el tutorial

  15. Thea says

    6 years ago

    This is sooo pretty. Christmas arrives soon but I think this would look really pretty for New Years Eve too. Thank you for the great tutorial!

  16. Toni says

    6 years ago

    this is a wonderful idea! Will def. try this.

  17. dj says

    6 years ago

    Beautiful. This might be a stupid question, but how exactly do you get them out of the tins once frozen? Thanks.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      Just run the tins under slightly warm water for a few seconds and it’ll slide right out!

  18. Meredith @ unOriginalMom says

    6 years ago

    Oh my gosh, Jessi, this is SO neat!! It’s beautiful…I’m only bummed that I can’t keep it in the house!

  19. keri @ shaken together says

    6 years ago

    Those are gorgeous – and they look SO great in the day and night! Love the pops of red and green in the ice!

Load more comments

Leave a Comment or Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rating