The Beauty of Frozen Light

Ah the darkness of winter.  It can feel a bit sad.  But there is beauty in light.  And take heart, the light will return – even if its just a few minutes a day after the winter solstice.  In the meanwhile, why not lighten up this Christmas season with a few simple crafts that use the beauty and magic of ice.

Try this:

Make Ice Lanterns: You’ll need balloons (any size), colored dye (optional), a large bowl, water and tea light candles.  If you want to use dye, add a few drops inside the balloon. Attach the balloon to a water faucet and fill to desired size. Tie off the balloon. Put the balloon in a bowl and place it either outside or in a freezer for six hours or until the outside of the balloon is frozen but there is still water inside. Carefully cut and peel away the balloon. Working over a sink or outside, drain the water away by making a hole in the weakest part of the base using a kitchen knife.  The hole will have to be large enough to place in the tea candle. Refreeze the globe until completely solid.  Slip in your candle and watch your ice lantern provide a warm glow in the dark of a winter’s night.  Make a series of these and place the ice lanterns along a walkway to light your way.

Make Frozen Mandalas: Take sprigs of your favorite winter plants (suggestions: dogwood, rowan tree berries, winter green, holly, evergreens such as spruce, balsam fir, hemlock). Use a flat and shallow container (old tuna tins, Tupperware).  Fill with fresh water.  Place your plant inside.  Place a twig in the upper middle and allow this to freeze overnight. The next day, gently ease your decoration from the container.  Remove the twig.  Place a ribbon or twine in the hole and create a loop.  This will create a handy hanger.  Hang on nearest tree.  Watch as the winter side light filters through the beautiful textures of ice and plant material.

Submitted by Jacob Rodenburg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha, an award-winning outdoor education centre and summer camp.