Workshop Wednesday: Make Giant Ice Marbles

23 January 2013

One hot and sunny day last summer, someone posted an amazing photo on Facebook from Jolly Learning's page. A row of multi-coloured ice marbles arranged in the snow. Just a little something to cool us all down, but I was smitten with the idea. How cool would it be to make some?

It was a long wait. I think I may have been the only grown up in the entire UK who has been chanting 'please let it snow, please let it snow'. The 'marbles', which you can see pictured above, with the original photo that sparked it all below, are easy to do and lots of fun for the kids.

My son decided that his were ice eggs and they were going to hatch ice dragons. Read on to find out how you make them.

You need some food colouring, and some balloons. If the balloon has never been inflated before, blow it up so it is a bit elastic. Put the food colouring in first! I varied the amount to get a range of different hues, but you do need to use quite a bit. It gets messy so avoid ones that stain like Cochineal. Then put the opening of the balloon over a tap, and fill with water. I had a bowl underneath to support the balloon. Hold on tight to the balloon so it doesn't slip off and for the love of all that is sane, turn the tap off before you remove the balloon. Learn from my mistakes!

My friend put her's outside to freeze, and it took two days. We wanted ours faster than that so we put them in the freezer. Second top tip. Do not let little fingers prod too soon to see if it is frozen. The balloon splits and you get ice water everywhere (see previous tip about not using Cochineal). When frozen solid peel off the baloon and voila, you have your ice marble. Or ice dragon egg.

First we made a nest, but then we needed the drive, so we made a second nest and a snowman to keep guard. A lovely, fun way to brighten up a snowy garden! But also, they make fabulous 'marbles' for sliding about the footpath curling style! One of our eggs split in half but the others survived a wee kick about.

What do you think?

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