Home Winter Gardening Illuminate Your Winter Garden: A Guide to Making Magical Ice Luminaries

Illuminate Your Winter Garden: A Guide to Making Magical Ice Luminaries

by Donna
4 minutes read

Ice Luminaries: Brighten Your Winter Garden with Festive Crafts


As winter approaches, gardeners might feel a twinge of sadness as the growing season comes to an end. But fear not! Garden crafts can keep the gardening spirit alive and brighten up the cold, dark days. One of the most magical and festive crafts you can make for your winter garden is ice luminaries.

What are Ice Luminaries?

Think of ice luminaries as ice lanterns. Traditionally, luminaries are paper lanterns, often made by placing a candle in a paper bag. The most common use of luminaries is to celebrate Christmas, when many people and even entire towns line their streets with them on Christmas Eve.

The tradition of luminaries is thought to have originated in New Mexico, but it has since spread throughout the United States. Some people now use luminaries to decorate for other holidays, like Halloween, or throughout the winter season.

How to Make Ice Luminaries

Making ice luminaries is easier than you might think, and the results are simply spectacular. A traditional paper bag luminary is easy to make, but an ice lantern adds an extra special glow to your garden. You can even use plants from your garden to decorate them.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making an ice luminary:


  • Plastic containers of different sizes (buckets, cups, yogurt containers)
  • Water
  • Something to weigh down the smaller container (coins, pebbles)
  • Natural materials from the garden (twigs, berries, leaves)
  • Tea light candles or LED lights


  1. Prepare the containers: Find two plastic containers that can fit inside each other with a half-inch or more of space between them. The smaller container should be wide enough to fit a tea light candle or LED light.
  2. Fill the containers: Place the smaller container inside the larger one and fill the space between them with water. To prevent the smaller container from floating, place something inside it to weigh it down, such as coins or pebbles.
  3. Add decorations: Gather some pretty materials from your garden, such as twigs with red berries, evergreen twigs, or fall leaves. Arrange them in the water between the containers.
  4. Freeze the luminaries: Place the containers in the freezer until the water is solid.
  5. Remove the containers: To remove the containers from the ice, set them in a dish of room temperature water. After a couple of minutes, you should be able to slide the containers apart, leaving you with a solid ice luminary.
  6. Add the light: Place a tea light candle or LED light inside the luminary. An LED light is best to avoid melting the ice. Set the light on a flat stone in the bottom of the luminary to keep it dry.

Creative Ideas for Ice Luminaries

Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you can get creative with your ice luminaries. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use different sized and shaped containers to create unique designs.
  • Add food coloring to the water before freezing to create colored luminaries.
  • Embed small toys or figurines in the ice for a whimsical touch.
  • Use ice luminaries to line a garden path, creating a magical winter wonderland.
  • Hang ice luminaries from tree branches or shepherd’s hooks for a festive display.


Ice luminaries are a simple and beautiful way to add some winter cheer to your garden. They’re easy to make, inexpensive, and can be customized to fit your own style. So gather your materials, let your creativity flow, and enjoy the magical glow of ice luminaries in your winter garden.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More