Glowing Ice Sphere Tutorial

Glow in the Dark Crystal Ball Made from Ice

Quinine makes the ice ball glow blue under black light.
Quinine makes the ice ball glow blue under black light. yohan juliardi, Getty Images

There are a few different ways you can make a non-toxic glowing ice sphere. You can even make a glowing crystal ball that you can float in a bowl of punch to drink.

Glowing Ice Sphere Materials

The most important item for this project is a mold that you can use to make a sphere of ice. You can use a plastic snap-together ball, meant for making your own holiday ornaments or you can fill any hemisphere containers to put together two halves of a sphere. Look for ice cube trays that make rounded ice, small bowls, large measuring spoons, melon ballers, etc. Plastic and metal containers work well; don't use any container made from thin glass, since it may shatter when you are freezing the ice.

How to Make Water Glow for the Ice

You have a few different ways to make your ice glow.

  • Tonic Water - Blue
    Tonic water glows blue when it is exposed to a black light due to the fluorescence of quinine, the ingredient which gives tonic water its characteristic flavor. You can freeze tonic water and float your ice sphere in a punchbowl. This type of glowing ice is completely safe to eat or drink.
  • Highlighter Water - Any Color
    If you squeeze the ink from a non-toxic fluorescent highlighter pen into water and pour it into a mold, you can get an icy sphere that glows brightly under a black light. Although the ice is non-toxic, it isn't good to eat or drink. Use highlighter ink when you want a wide selection of colors or want brightly glowing ice.
  • Glowing Ice - Greenish Yellow
    If you mix a little non-toxic glowing paint into some water and make an ice sphere, you will have an ice ball that glows in the dark for an extended period of time. This type of ice makes a great snowball. Shave the ice or slush it up in a blender, pack it into a snowball shape, expose it to a bright light, then turn out the lights and have a snowball fight in the dark.

Watch a YouTube video tutorial showing how to make a glowing ice ball and see what they look like.