I think this is one of my very favorite projects.
How could it not be?
We try to do it every year for Solstice, but the weather doesn't always comply!
You'll need small and large containers, cold, something heavy, and bits from nature.
The Gathering is a favorite part, to be sure.
For the containers, you can use buckets, the bottoms of orange juice or milk cartons, bowls... whatever you have on hand-- just make sure there are no ripples or any lines to keep your ice from flowing freely out of the container.
Place your small container inside your large one,
and then between the two place your pretties-
evergreens, rosehips, glitters if you like, pine, berries...
Weigh down your inner container with something heavy (rocks, marbles, whatever) and then pour water into your outside container.
Set them outside to freeze.
When they're frozen throughout (possibly it will take 24 hours), bring them in and empty your inner container of its weights, then run hot water on the outside container until the ice is released from the container.
Do the same thing for the inner container- place hot water inside so it will release from the ice surrounding it.
I planned to use tealights, so I wanted a 'shelf' in the ice ring to place my candle upon, so I filled it with a couple inches of water (depending on the height of the lantern) and then placed it back outside to freeze.
note: if it's a 'ring' only (there is no bottom for the candle) and you want a shelf, just put the whole thing back into it's original container, and fill it up with water until the 'shelf' will be at the desired height. Then place it outside to freeze.
You could do this the opposite way too - first filling an empty container with a couple inches of water (and pines, holly, and berries) and letting it freeze, then bringing it inside to put in the smaller container and the rest of the embellishments. Then of course put it back outside to finish freezing the lantern.
I am so thoroughly charmed by this project, and have decided that this will definitely be a part of our Solstice celebrations every year.
Light the way.