Sunday, December 6, 2009

Solar Power

Given that the sun has the ability to stop time--in ice lantern freezing time, that is--consider when to put out your filled balloons. If it is going to be around 10° overnight and my goal is to make medium-sized ice lanterns (about the size of a basketball), I will put them out during the day so the water in the balloons gets a "cold boost". The water inside will not get cold enough to freeze, but the water is cooled down significantly so when the sun goes down and the temperature drops, night time freezing speeds up, so in the morning, they MIGHT be ready to open.

Smaller lanterns freeze faster, so if I am making small lanterns (approx. soccer ball) during 10° or less, I put out when I go to bed with the idea that I will check when I wake up. If the temperature is warmer, I will put out earlier in the day (maybe right after work) and check when I wake up the next day.

The ways that I check to see if the balloons are ready to open?

#1: I push on the balloon*--can it support me pushing with most of my weight? Don't attempt this with low quality balloons (I sell top quality, heavyweight balloons) as their rubber is less likely to be able to handle the rough treatment.
*In a future post, will talk about what you can do when the ice crust cracks - it's a good thing!

If yes, then #2: I carefully cut the top off one of the balloons to have a look inside.

Then #3: If the balloon retains its shape when popped and you want to leave it longer, go for it. But, once the balloon is cut or popped, a slow leak can develop. Again, if you think laterally, a slow leak can make the lantern freeze in interesting ways. It could develop a layered look. It could develop an interesting Jack Frosty look. It all depends on how cold it is and where it placed--sun or shade.

It is like opening a present--you don't know what you will find!

Enjoy the mystery and the glow . . .

Contact me with questions, suggestions or photos!

1 comment:

  1. When I've broken the top - I sometimes find a flashlight can help me when "looking inside"... especially at night! it can be difficult to know exactly, but as you have implied -every lantern is beautiful in its own way