I have been trying to find incentive to get us out in these frigid temperatures and Pinterest has provided! The last few days we have been experimenting with making colorful icicles! Let me tell you, they are beautiful!

Tools:

  • Ziploc bags/Plastic bottles
  • Twine
  • Water
  • Coloring Agent (finger paint or food coloring)
  • Spray Bottle

This project has consisted of a lot of trial and error. There are only a couple of previous posts I found regarding people doing this project. One person used Ziploc bags to hold their liquids and one person used plastic bottles. We didn’t have any plastic bottles around our house, so Ziplocs it was!

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In our initial experiment we tried using a large Ziploc bag and connecting three icicle lines to it (as I had seen done by a PP). I do not recommend this. We had issues with the bags splitting open when we tried to break up some of the ice clogging them. This would cause all the water in the bag to come pouring out of the hole. Not only is there a lot more water in the large bags, but then it makes the bag useless for the other lines connected to it. We eventually settled on small Ziplocs with one line coming from each of them.

We started with making a very small hole in the corner of the Ziploc. Then we took our twine and tied a large knot in one end. We threaded the un-knotted end through the hole until the knot came to rest on the inside of the bag, just above the hole. We also connected lines of twine to the top of the Ziploc bag to hang it by.

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We hung most of our bags from the tree hanging over our back deck. Then we stretched the twine tight, angling it down, and tied it off to different things on our porch. Make sure your twine has no slack in it. We found through our experiments that the water will gather at the rounded part of the slack and wont move past it. Tight lines make for longer icicles.

We then mixed our colored water. We mixed our water with finger paint and food coloring. Both coloring agents seemed to work well. You will want your water to be cold. Even being at -20°f and -11°f on the respective days we did this project, warm water will melt your previously frozen icicles. Eventually we began to set the water we planned to use next outside, because even cold water from our tap was melting some of our previously formed icicles.

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Before pouring the water into the hanging Ziploc bags, we sprayed the twine lines with a spray bottle of water. This helps draw the water down the line. We poured the water into the Ziploc bags and then watched. Whenever the water seemed to “get stuck” on the line and begin to drip, we would spray that area with the spray bottle. This continues to help draw the water down the line, creating a longer icicle.

I think perhaps plastic bottles are a more sturdy option for this project. Each time our water would eventually freeze in our Ziploc bags, clogging the line and ceasing the creation of icicles. Often when we tried to break up this ice it would make the hole where the twine was leaving the bag break, ruining our project for any further icicle growth.

These icicles are beautiful, but I would have liked to of created larger icicles. Perhaps we will have more luck in slightly warmer weather, when the water doesn’t freeze so fast in our bags. I think next time we will find some plastic bottles and see if those are a better option than the Ziplocs.

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I enjoyed this project because of the beautiful icicles that were formed. I also thought it was a great opportunity for discussing color mixing with Jasper. By the end of the project he knew that mixing red and blue together made purple! I was very excited that he retained this information from our project! But really, what Jasper enjoyed most was when I took the icicles down and he got to crunch them up… So much for making something beautiful when you have a 4-year-old!

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