Damn You Pinterest

The above picture is what was on Pinterest.  It looked so easy/cool/fun/interesting/inspiring.  Multicoloured ice spheres, decorating your winter walkway.  Who wouldn’t want this?  How hard could it be?

The challenge I’ve had with Pinterest (and maybe I’m alone on this) is the lack of information.  It *seems* easy.  It *looks* doable.  However inspiration to reality is rarely as it seems.  There are no directions on this image.  What did they do?  For how long?  At what temperatures?

Freezing water isn’t hard so we decided to give it a go.  I started with a pack of balloons and food colouring.  I guessed that the balloons didn’t matter. Helium friendly or not, same thing when making water balloons right?  I guessed that I’d want the smaller 9″ rather than larger 12″.  Like most Mom’s, I had food colouring in the cabinet from some previous craft or food experiment.


6 drops of food colouring per balloon seemed good.  Again, it was a guess.  I then filled them up with water.  Guesstimating all the way for how full I wanted to make them.  I tried to keep track of what colours were in what so that each was unique.  Primary Colours 101: “Mommy?  What does blue, red, yellow and green make?”  “Um, want a cookie?”  Distraction parenting at its best I’m ashamed to admit.


It was winter in Ontario.  Cold enough right?  Heck, it was -2C that day, supposed to dip down to -13C that night.  I thought we had it covered.  Below 0 means freezing, they should simply freeze.  We set them up on the snow so that they’d all freeze with the same shape and air bubble at the top.


9:30am with guests arriving for a birthday party the next day at 3pm.  Almost 30 hours in subzero temperatures would be plenty of time!

The next day, we were running behind.  Guests had already arrived, drinks were being poured and Darn it!  The balloons!  Out I ran to peel them in hopes of revealing sparkling globes like my Pinterest inspriation pic.

Much to my dismay, they weren’t frozen.  Well, they were partially frozen, still liquid in the center and very fragile.  We opened 3 only to have them break in our hands.  We found ourselves with ice bowls rather than complete globes.  Disappointed but undaunted, we left the rest to continue to freeze.  Maybe it was due to the snow, partially insulating them.  Maybe I should have planned it several days in advance rather than the day before.

Two days later, a balloon was broken and the solid ice peeked through.  The kids and I were thrilled to see a blue globe, sparkling with darts of frozen bubbles within.


Being night and bedtime, we decided to delay the unveiling of the other 8 until the next day.  As both incentive for a quick bedtime and fun plans for the following day.

Below you’ll see our blue sphere beside one of the failed ‘bowls’, which is still pretty interesting.


We ended up with 4 distinctly different results:

1) Ice bowls, due to opening prematurely.  Note to self, if it doesn’t look frozen and you want it frozen?  Leave it to freeze!

2) Funky blue sphere, distinct blue bulb spidering into clear ice.

3) Almost balls of colour inside the spheres with clear ice all around.

4) Solid globes of colour, not translucent like the inspirational Pinterest globes. Almost cloudy.

IceBalloon6 IceBalloon7 IceBalloon8

We understand why we got #1, however we’re not quite sure why we have differences between numbers 2, 3 and 4.  Shouldn’t they all be the same if they were all treated the same?  #1 notwithstanding.  None of which by the way look like the Pinterest image.

In the future, we’ll leave them for 4 days (all sub zero, or if the weather man won’t agree, the freezer).  We also won’t place them on snow which seem to insulate them to a degree, leading to uneven freezing.  We’re pretty sure that the speed at which they freeze will also have an impact on the end product.

This experience allowed us to teach our girls about primary colours, temperatures, liquid into solids and most importantly, having fun together!  Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon if I say so myself.