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Create Frozen Luminarias

Marjory Blare, Master Gardeners

Frozen luminaries are both fun and beautiful to create. This article will give you suggestions on using materials you may have around the house and in your winter garden to create a frozen luminary.

Create Frozen Luminarias

Here are two easy winter crafts that you can do with your little ones!


Frozen Luminarias

You will need:

  • A large shallow container, at least 3” deep, perhaps 18”x14” or so.

  • Vegetation; weeds, twigs, leaves, evergreen cuttings and so on.

  • A pitcher or bucket to pour water into your container

  • A tea candle or an electric candle in a mason jar. (If you choose a real candle you will also need a long lighter such as you would use for a grill. After making sure the candle is firmly fixed in the bottom of the jar, tip it sideways to light.) Make sure you take pictures of the process!

Kids enjoy helping to collect the weeds. Cut them a bit longer than your container. Look for bold contrasting shapes. Colors are a bonus but not required. A monochromatic palette also creates beautiful results.

Have your child arrange the various pieces in the shallow container. You might have them choose three long pieces, five medium pieces and seven or more short pieces. Cut them to fit the container. Odd numbers of pieces generally result in a pleasing composition. It can be easy to put too much into the container: you want light to be able to show through the finished composition. Don't worry about having the bottom edge all neat, this part will be buried in the snow.


Gently pour about two to three inches of water over the vegetation and press down anything that floats, trying to keep them mostly below the surface. You may want to do this yourself, or make sure if your child spills, you've got a towel under it. Letting it soak indoors for a day before putting it outside can help the vegetation become waterlogged and submerge better.

Put the container outdoors in a place where snow and/or other debris can't get into it, or alternately, cover it. Don't move it again until it's frozen solid or you will get cracks and air in it. After it's frozen solid, gently tap the frozen piece out of the container. Set it upright in a snow bank, packing snow at the base to help hold it upright.

You can place it so that sun streams through it during the day or wait until dark, then light and place the candle behind your frozen weeds.


Stand back and admire!

Weeds and Buckets

You will need:

  • one or more buckets

  • Vegetation, as above. You can use much larger and longer pieces of vegetation.- Enough water to fill the buckets about 4-5" deep.

Place the tallest pieces in first, then medium, and finally the shortest pieces around the outside. You will need enough of the shorter pieces to hold the taller pieces upright, although some graceful arching is very pleasing too. Allow the water to freeze and then gently tap to remove. Place on your front porch or wherever you'd like decorations.

Photo credits: Marjory Blare (all)

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