Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

February 1, 2013

Pin Fail: Balloon Ice Balls

This was one of the first Pinterest ideas I ever pinned, early in 2012.  Unfortunately we had a very mild winter so I had to wait till this year.  You fill up balloons with dyed water, let them freeze and decorate the yard after removing the balloons to reveal the coloured ice balls.  Looks cool eh?

Don't die of shock, but I never filled up a water balloon before.  I had to ask my friends via Facebook.  Once that was solved, I filled my first balloon with water, then attempted to add the red dye.  Luckily I didn't lose control of the balloon because I got dowsed with red water, as did the counter.  Good thing I'd had the forethought to bring a towel.  Lesson learned:  Put the dye inside the balloon prior to filling with water.   I made the first one in red, and put it in the freezer.  

Russell saw my query on FB and suggested I try filling the balloon with a water bottle.  I dripped the blue dye inside the balloon, attached it to the water bottle, but it didn't have the pressure behind it to stretch the balloon.  I gave the water bottle a little squeeze to help it along.  After I let off my squeezing, blue dye shot up into the bottle from the balloon, then the balloon blew off and a spurt of water went so high that the drops landed right on top of my head and were all over my glasses.  I busted out laughing as I mopped up for the second time in 10 minutes. 

Eventually I was able to get a whole bunch of balloons filled with coloured water.  The balloons aren't much bigger than softballs.  I had them all in my freezer, but I got scared that once they started to freeze the balloons might burst and the slush would explode, just like pop cans have done in the freezer.  I moved them out to the deck at about 4:30 pm.

It was 26* with 100% chance of snow expected and a winter storm warning in effect.

This is at about 6:30 pm.  Not frozen yet.  I'm getting impatient, but one of my friends said it'd take hours. Overnight, even.

Then at 9:30 pm.  I prodded a couple but they were still liquid.

Woke up in the morning and checked them....nope, still not frozen!!  WTF?  So I put them in my freezer  for an hour, where my fears of the balloons breaking and floods occurring soon came true. Fortunately the one that burst was the clear water one.  I raced to get them into a pot when the purple watered balloon sprung a leak.

I got them outside and began to peel off the balloons, and each ice ball began to leak profusely, soaking my gloves.  The blue one on the far right completely emptied.

The green is almost entirely liquified inside.

Hard to tell, but that's a gaping hole in the side of the yellow, and the dyed water spilled out all over the ground.  Don't eat yellow snow!  lol

And here is where they will melt, under the tree.  That's as far as I could get them before my fingers froze inside my soaked gloves.  The blue one was the first casualty, as it fell apart when I took it off the railing.

So I believe that my experiment was a failure, but only due to poor freezing conditions.  It never got cold enough.  My friend Mary out in Idaho also tried this with her kids the same night I did mine, and because their region was in a massive cold snap with temps hovering near 2*F for days on end, hers froze solid outside.

This is what they looked like by about 3:00 p.m., all the liquid having drained into the snow below.

The bottoms of the balls with the dyed snow.

Will I try this again?  Maybe, but only if it's going to be in the teens.  Clearly this project needs the right outdoor temperature to work effectively, and putting them in the freezer isn't an option unless they are contained in a tray to catch any leaks.


  1. Wanna come up here? It will NOT fail.

    It's -45C with the windchill.

    (-33C not including windchill)

    So yeah, no problem at all with freezing....

    Love the colours though!

  2. They're still really pretty!

  3. JoJo, I'd get rid of the comment above mine, it looks like spam.

    I love this post and laughed at the balloon-filling problems. Our kids filled many a water balloon, hubs too, but me, not so much.

    Those photos are very very nice. They remind me of marbles, and I love coloured glass, especially blue.

  4. At first glance at the first picture I thought they were marbles in INTENSE close up - lol!

  5. Well, it might have worked...Gave me a good laugh, though. You know how to tell 'em!

  6. Jo! You find the COOLEST craft projects. I will totally try this some time if I see the weather is going to be cold enough!

  7. What an interesting idea! The colors were pretty, pity it didn't quite work out the way you'd hoped. Still, a fun (if messy) project! :-)

  8. I'd try it again, babe. It looks stunning with those colors. But as you say, wait for the right temperatures. It would look fantastic!

  9. wow...thats so creative...never tried it but would love to..
    It must be looking so beautiful :)
    though it did not work out completely like you thought but still...marvelous!

  10. I did this with my kids the other day and they loved it. Ours turned out great but we had -15 below windchill too. The kids had fun rolling their ice balls down the slide.


  11. I saw this on another blog they obviously hadn't really tried it. We haven't even had any snow yet but if we do I will try it and let you know what happened.

  12. I definitely don't think it was a fail, it looks really cool! Sorry it wasn't quite cold enough but they are still really pretty!

  13. wonderful colors! and idea is incredible! love it. you took beautiful pictures, first I thought those were glass balls:)
    have a lovely week!

  14. Brilliant idea, and they look amazing. Initially I thought they were glass beads or marbles when I saw the first photo.
    Love the colours.