Light Up The Holidays with Painted Ice Lanterns

DIY Painted Ice Lanterns

Ice Lanterns are magical stage-setters on their own. Add color to the mix and the results are dazzling! Painted Ice Lanterns are simple enough for all ages to make and look so cool, every member of the family will want to create their own. My kids and I painted the ones pictured in this post and had so much fun, our freezer is now filled with colorful globes. We can’t wait for you to do the same.


  • Latex balloons
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Food coloring, diluted with water
  • Paint brushes
  • Tea lights
  • Wax paper or freezer paper


DIY Painted Ice Lanterns

1. Slip the lip of the balloon over a faucet head.

2. Holding the lip of the balloon in place, carefully turn the faucet on and fill the balloon with water.

3. Once the balloon is filled with the desired amount of water, tie it closed. For bigger lanterns, fill the balloon with more water. For smaller lanterns, less water will do.

4. Place balloons flat in a freezer or if you live in an area with below-freezing temperatures, place them on a flat surface outside.

Note:  Freezing time will vary depending on freezers and the desired ice thickness. We froze our ice lanterns 4-6 hours — 4 hours for the smallest balloon, and 6 hours for the largest.

DIY Painted Ice Lanterns

5. Once the balloon is frozen, empty the remaining water inside and peel away the latex balloon shell.

6. Place the ice sculptures in an area readied for painting. I like to place a sheet of freezer paper or wax paper under these to protect your work surface and to easily move the lanterns after they’ve been painted.

7. Prepare dishes with food coloring and grab your brushes. It’s time to paint!

8. Paint directly onto the ice. Experiment with solid colors, patterns, and mixing and layering colors. If the ice begins to melt while you’re painting, simply move the lanterns back into the freezer on a piece of freezer or wax paper. Once frozen again, continue to paint.

Keep the lanterns frozen until you’re ready to use. Place them around outside and bring them to life with tea lights!