I was looking for Christmas Brunch make-ahead ideas on Pinterest and tripped over this really cool idea for making ice decorations using coloured water and balloons.
We dripped food colouring into regular balloons and then filled to the desired size at the tap. We tried a couple of plain old ice, but they kind of blend into the snow. We tried a number of different colours. Purple didn't work at all, although the water colour was good it came out a dark blue. We found they used a lot of food colouring, and I think next time we'd even use more!
It was rather warm out the day we made them (hovering just above 0C) so we left them out on the porch to freeze. Although the temperature went down well below zero that night it still took THREE days for them to freeze and quite a number were actually not totally frozen when we impatiently placed them in their final resting places. Guess the porch was too sheltered as the ones closest to the house were the least frozen. The site recommended that we use scissors to cut the balloons off, but most of ours had already burst in places so the balloons came off very easily. Unfortunately this meant that the bottom layer of balloons was frozen to the concrete, which made them challenging to remove. Next time we'll put them out right into the snow where they will not stain or freeze to the porch, and hopefully where they will freeze quickly!
We will also second the recommendation for dark coloured gloves, especially if some of your ice balloons don't freeze all the way through. My gloves got totally soaked. On the plus side we used the extra coloured water to pour over the plain ice balloons which made them look a lot better. I don't recommend just pouring coloured water over plain ice though, because the effect fades after a few days.