How-To & Diy

DIY Ice Luminaries

January 17, 2014

Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.

This week: The most charming way to greet your winter guests? An outdoor party decoration that will weather the cold.

Shop the Story

It’s important, at this point in the winter, to stay positive about the fact that the weather is bitter cold and probably will be for a few more months. When the temperature dips below 20 degrees, you just have to keep your chin up, think warm thoughts, and hey -- planning a cozy party can’t hurt, right? After all, you’re just one pot of Honey-Pomegranate Mulled Wine and a few batches of Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives away from the perfect midwinter dinner party.

Believe it or not, the cold weather can actually be handy for party decorations. These ice luminaries thrive in the cold. If the temperature outside is below freezing, they will light up your stoop or doorway for a few hours before the tealight burns out. The bonus is that since they aren't made out of paper, as many luminaries are, you won't have to run outside every five minutes to make sure that they haven't gone up in flames.

You can make these with sprigs of green from your garden or with a few extra leaves, petals, or berries leftover from your flower arrangements. They're cheap and easy to make, so fill your freezer with them, and use them to line the steps to your house before your guests arrive.

Ice Luminaries

- several large tumbler glasses (or 14-ounce clean aluminum cans)
- several little juice glasses (or 6-ounce clean aluminum cans)
- a few rubber bands
- greenery, flowers, or berries
- tealights

Place a small glass inside of a larger one. Fill the space between the glasses with your greenery. Place a rubber band around the glasses to prevent the smaller glass from floating once you add the water. Fill the space between the glasses with water, and place the glasses in the freezer or outside if the temperature is below freezing.

After 3 or 4 hours, the luminary should be frozen. Slowly pour a little bit of warm water into the smaller glass, and gently swirl it around until the glass comes loose from the larger one. Run some warm water over the outside of the larger glass until the ice comes loose from inside. Return the ice luminary to the freezer until you are ready to use it.

Photos by Anna Hezel

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • rizzle
  • Ashley Marie
    Ashley Marie
Anna Hezel

Written by: Anna Hezel


rizzle January 28, 2014
These are so cool! I was thinking that they'd make lovely glasses too, but then you'd have cold, wet, drippy fingers. Party foul.
Ashley M. January 18, 2014
OMG I want to drink out of these every night.