Tina Lewin is a master ice lantern maker. Each year she makes them for the Christmas Eve service at the little church in her village (where my parents and my brother and sister-in-law also live). Last year she told me how to make them and I am just getting them going (a little late…but it’s cold out there!).
All you need is a five gallon bucket, water, and below-freezing outdoor temperatures. (You can also make them in smaller heavy plastic buckets.)
Fill the buckets with water and leave them outside. The ice will freeze from the outside inward in 24 to 48 hours. The ground will insulate the bottom and leave it unfrozen. The water at the top of your bucket will be frozen, and become the bottom of your lantern.
When the walls of ice seem to be getting thick (Tina’s lantern walls range from 3″-6″ thick), bring the buckets inside long enough to melt them a little so you can get the ice out of the buckets. Take them back outside when they loosen up at the edges and are ready to turn out. Empty out any water left in the center.
Place the ice lanterns outside your door, down your walkway, on your porch….
Put a candle in the hollow of each lantern and light the wick.
Shed a golden glow out into the deep, dark, December night.