Make Your Own Ice Candle

Create your own ice candle using materials you can find around home. You can use the candle as a festive decoration for your home or as a gift for someone special! During this activity, think about all of the animals that stay in Alberta all winter. What kinds of wildlife have you seen outside while it is cold?

What You'll Need

  • A tealight candle
  • Natural items: pinecones, berries, twigs, spruce tree needles, or other items you find outside
  • Containers: one larger tall one and a small one, a little bit bigger than the size of a tealight candle (e.g., a yogurt tub and a single serve yogurt cup are good sizes to use)
  • A rock or other heavy item that fits inside your small container
  • Water
  • A freezer or a cold day

What to Do

  1. Bundle up and head outside to find some natural items to put in your ice candle. Some items you could collect include: berries, pinecones, twigs, spruce tree needles, rocks, or other things you find while exploring.
  2. Put some of the natural items you found into your container. You will be creating your candle in layers, so make sure you leave some of the natural items for each layer.
  3. Add approximately 2 inches of water in the container. Freeze until solid.
  4. Add more natural items on top of the already frozen layer. Add another 2 inches of water and freeze until solid. Continue making layers by adding natural items and water until the candle is a few inches from the top.
  5. You will now create an indent where you can put the tealight. Place the smaller container on top of the frozen layers. Add some water around (not inside) the small container. Putting a rock in the small container will keep it from floating on top of the water. Freeze until solid - which will hold your small container in place.
  6. Finish filling your ice candle to the top of the large container, making sure no water gets in the small container. Freeze until solid.
  7. Once your candle is filled to the top and frozen solid, you can remove the small container from the ice, leaving an indent in the ice for your tealight to sit. Add the tealight.
  8. Ask an adult to light the candle and make sure there is always an adult around while the candle is lit.
    • Remember, this is an ice candle. It is going to melt once it warms up. It would be a good idea to burn the candle outside, so that you don't have a big mess when it melts. 

Ask Yourself

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  • Was it hard to find natural items like berries, twigs, and pinecones? Do you have to look under snow?
  • Can you imagine being an animal that lives in Alberta during the winter time? Think about what it must be like trying to find food.
  • What is it called when the water turns from a liquid into a solid? How about from a solid into a liquid?