We used to make paper lanterns like this when I was at school.

I seem to remember holding a little torch inside them to see the light fan out in stripes across the room.

It felt utterly magical, this feeling of making something to shape and cast light into a winter room.


A friend taught me how to make ice lanterns.

These are made from tin cans, all cleaned out and with the labels removed.

(Do be careful not to cut your fingers on the sharp edge where the top of the can used to be.)

Fill the tin to the top with water and put itin the freezer until it is solid.

Hold it with a tea towel to stop your fingers burning with the coldness. Then hammer holes into it in patterns with nails, pulling the nails out when each hole is made. It will not collapse under the hammering because the ice let’s the tin hold its shape.

When you are happy with the pattern of holes that you have made, leave the tin in a place when the ice can thaw and drain away.

Let it dry, remember again that the puncture holes will leave sharp edges that will cut you, so take care.

Pop a lighted tea light candle into the bottom of the tin and it will send sparkles and shards of light out through the holes that you made.

This is a beautiful and safe way to use candles, especially outside to make starry patterns in the world around you.

About Mudchute

Mudchute Park & Farm. One of the largest city farms in London with 32 acres of countryside in the middle of the Isle of Dogs.

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