Snow Day? Create a Snow Luminary!

Snow Day? Create a Snow Luminary!

By Ann St. Martin Stout

Bring in some snow and make it glow! If you like building sand castles on the beach in the summer time, you’ll enjoy this fun project. Hosting a party? Here’s a festive and fun way to decorate for your event — inside or outside!


  • Towels or other absorbent table covering
  • Tray or large cookie sheet
  • Large plastic container (such as a large yogurt container)
  • Small plastic container (such as a small yogurt container)
  • Snow
  • Food coloring
  • Cold water
  • Freezer (or a below-freezing location outdoors)
  • Tea light candle


  1. If working indoors, cover your work surface (a table, your kitchen counter) with a towel.
  2. Using tray or cookie sheet, gather snow outside to bring indoors.
  3. Place snow loosely (not packed) in the large plastic container.
  4. Press smaller plastic cup into center of snow-filled container.
  5. Pack snow around small cup. Fill snow in between containers and pack firmly.
  6. Mix one drop of food coloring with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water.
  7. Dribble cold colored water into layer of snow, allowing it to absorb. Alternate colors to create vertical stripes, if desired.
  8. Place in freezer (or outside if the temperature is below freezing).
  9. After an hour or so, remove from freezer and gently remove small cup. Slightly warm the outside of the large container with your hands. Turn the container over onto a plate or other flat surface and gently shake it to release snow shape and then turn it upright.
  10. Return to freezer or outdoors until you are ready to use your luminary. Choose the coldest location available.
  11. When ready to use, drop a votive candle or tea light into center cavity and ask an adult to light it.
  12. Display on a plate or shallow bowl to collect water. If used outdoors, no bowl or drip container is necessary.
  13. Bask in the glow of your snow luminary!


  • In Steps 3 and 4, be sure to pack plenty of snow in the bottom of the large plastic container. A solid base helps hold finished luminary together. A solidly packed, thick bottom and sides and adequate freezing help ensure success.
  • Always mix food coloring with cold water before dripping onto snow or it might melt! Note that concentrated, undiluted food coloring will stain.
  • Try different shapes for the larger container and different colors for a varied display.
  • In Step 9, running a tiny bit of slightly warm water over the outside of the large container will help release the ice.
  • A glass votive cup can serve as a liner and candle holder inside the snow shape.

Ann St. Martin Stout, mother of seven and grandmother of five, enjoys finding new ways to celebrate the seasons with her family. She lives in Newport, N.H.

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