Thursday, December 11, 2014

Making an Ice Candle by Donna Duffy

My calendar and the thermometer are having a disagreement about what season this is. Even so, it really is winter, and the weather is bound to get cold again. When the day and nighttime temperatures stay well below freezing, you can make an ice candle (think Stock Show weather!). 

This candle became more textured as it melted
It’s so simple! All you need is a bucket, a votive candle and water. I use five-gallon buckets, but you could make several of different sizes. Smaller candles will freeze more quickly, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t freeze solid. Each time I've made an ice candle, they've turned out differently - and all have been beautiful when lit. Watch this short YouTube video, it demonstrates the simplest way to make the candle. 

One year I tried adding food coloring to the water, but it didn’t work very well. You’d have to use a LOT of food coloring, and it might stain concrete as it melts. A better option might be to squirt smaller amounts of food coloring on the candle after it’s frozen and removed from the bucket.

As a way to remember and honor the dead during Christmas as well as light up the darkest days of winter, there is a Finnish tradition of placing candles in the cemetery on Christmas Eve. Many Finns make ice candles for this tradition. Give it a try! Ice candles cast a beautiful glow, and are lovely on a front porch or along a deck.