I love a simple, free projects. I have to be honest; this project was inspired largely by all the recycling we had piling up in the kitchen and the abundance of greens floating around from tree trimming and ONE bouquet of Christmassy flowers Brian bought for our December 4, engagement anniversary! (I make those suckers last.) I also have two annoyingly lid-less Camelbak water bottles floating around the kitchen waiting for me to Google whether you can buy just the lids. I’m too stubborn to throw them out until I know for sure!
Anyways, so I looked at the recycling, looked at the bottles, and looked at the greens and thought: ICE LANTERNS. Obviously. Because that is the first thing that springs to one’s mind, right? I thought they’d be perfect to welcome our Christmas party guests this weekend. Supplies were very basic. I didn’t snap any pics of the recyclables I used, but I’ll update with tomorrow’s batch of lanterns if you’re interested.
I recommend using a mixture of different textures and greens. These were a mix of clippings from our Christmas tree and some from that bouquet I mentioned. Make sure you incorporate bits of color too. I used some large berries (from the bouquet again!) as well as some smaller little bunches I gathered up off the ground after noticing them on a tree when we walked to downtown Kennebunkport from our hotel this weekend. Luckily I grabbed them right before all the snow.
A few tips if you want to try this yourself: While sourching your containers, picture a small votive or medium size pillar candle needing to fit inside. That’s how I selected my container “molds”. We only have one plastic pitcher but the size and depth is PERFECT if you have them. But I also had amazing luck with those coated plastic quart milk containers. The square shape gave a very modern, Crate-and-Barrel feel. I just sawed off the top 1/4 (just below where the milk cap is), gave it a good rinse, and then stuck my Camelbak bottle in. I used a giant sour cream container for a third one with a small Annie’s soup can in the middle, but didn’t have great results. I think I weighted the soup can down too much because the bottom broke away as I removed it. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE GLASS! Yikes.
Place the smaller inner container into the larger, use some rocks to keep it in place and fill JUST the outer container 1/2 way with water. I used a small bag of those river pebbles you can buy at Ikea for like 89 cents that I had laying around under the sink for my bamboo plants. The inner container should be floating a bit. You want a “bottom” to your lantern, remember. Then I just trimmed up the greens and stuffed them down the sides! I used the end of a long branch to move bits around and I focused the prettiest textures and colors toward the top, letting some poke above the water line. Don’t over-pack either. You want some candlelight to be able to shine through! Then I just stuck them outside, tucked into a snow back for 12 hours and that’s about it! I brought them onto the porch for a few hours, then gently loosed the outer container first, then the inner one. It’s a little warm out so they’re all chilling (hehe) in my freezer right now. (Brian will be so thrilled when he sees I’ve messed with his pride and joy. The man loves an organized freezer.) I’ll just pop a small battery-operated votive in it before guests start arriving and place them on our walkway.
Here we have the finished product: