Things at Home You Can Use as an Ice Cube Tray Alternative
Ice is an often-overlooked element in your home and at parties. Ice cubes are a surprising source of décor, class, whimsy, and fun. Sure, ordinary ice cube trays aren’t any of these things; however, who says you have to restrict yourself to regular ice cube trays?
With some creative thinking, you can find things at home that will serve as ice molds. By seeking unique ice cube tray alternatives, you can also customize the size of your ice to your current use. Create tiny, small, medium, large, and extra-large chunks of ice to cool anything from small individual drink glasses to large punch bowls.
The following examples provide some examples to get you started. Build on these ideas with household objects of your own.
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If you want creative, fun, and conversation-inspiring ice, think outside of the box tray. While ice cube trays can be available in unique shapes like hearts or long cylinders for water bottles, most ice cube trays make standard cubes or cuboids.
Cubes are fine for everyday use, but on some occasions, you’re too hip to be square. Some events warrant a creative, unexpected touch. Delight guests at your gatherings for:
- Themed parties
- Kids’ birthday parties
- Sporting events
- Bridal showers
- Baby showers
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Think outside the box not just with the shape of your ice but when you use fun ice. Decorative ice doesn’t have to be reserved for partings and gatherings. Create theme nights to liven up mealtime. Have theme nights with certain types of foods, and decorate accordingly. Add a final, festive touch with related ice cubes made from candy molds.
Candy mold possibilities are seemingly endless. Movie-themed shapes, especially from Disney and Pixar, are widely available. Enchant your guests with specific products like Lego and board games. Many candy casts represent universities in athletics and academics; look for mascots, university names (acronyms), and more. Professional sports teams, too, have joined in the fun with mold trays of their own.
Create candy-mold ice in a vast array of generic shapes and themes. Ocean, beach, animals, flowers, geometric shapes, dinosaurs, trees, baby—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Can’t find precisely what you’re looking for among the vast array of candy molds? Personalize your party with homemade molds. Turn almost any object (a toy car, perhaps, or a brooch, or a pencil—possibilities are random and limited only by your imagination).
A drawback to using candy molds as an ice cube tray alternative is the potential difficulty in removing the ice. Some tips for doing so include:
- Start with a clean, dry mold
- Avoid filling it to the top
- When ready, run cool water (warm will quickly begin to melt the ice) briefly over the bottom of the container (hint: place a bowl in the sink to catch pieces that fall)
- If needed, dampen your fingertip and touch the ice to bind a piece of ice to your finger, allowing you to lift it out
Candy molds create a unique and entertaining touch to your gathering. Many, though, produce ice in small sizes. Some novelty molds create large pieces, but most molds make only four- or six chunks at a time. If you want to supplement your decorative ice with bigger pieces, turn to a silicone cupcake pan.
Silicone Cupcake Pan
Even though you are limited to two shapes (round and the less common triangle), a silicone cupcake pan can be an exceptional choice for creating ice for everyday use and special occasions.
One advantage to using a silicone cupcake pan is the ability to choose your size. For smaller pieces, use a mini-cupcake pan. If you need a larger size for bigger glasses and hot days, choose a product that makes standard-sized cupcakes. These afford you the freedom to manipulate ice size a bit by controlling how much water you pour into each cup. As a general rule for ease of removal, avoid filling to the brim.
Are you using a punch bowl and want a block of ice? Maybe you have a counter-top water dispenser that could benefit from the addition of a large piece of ice because smaller pieces melt faster. Whatever your serving container, use a giant cupcake mold.
A huge cupcake-shaped block of ice bobbing in your serving vessel serves as an interesting conversation piece and adds flair. It’s also practical, as it will melt gradually, thanks to its large surface area.
Removing ice from any tray can be a challenging task. Extracting your ice from silicone cupcake pans isn’t too laborious, however. The steps are similar to the removal process for candy molds. What’s nice about silicon is that it is flexible. Twist it, bend it, roll it, poke the individual molds and even turn them inside out—manipulate it any way necessary to detach the ice.
Some people are concerned about silicone’s safety for food use. While research is still limited, thus far studies haven’t found toxicity. It’s noteworthy to mention that this synthetic rubber is made of the natural elements silicone and oxygen. The likelihood of harm is low.
Still, some people with heightened sensitivity to chemicals can have adverse reactions to silicone when it’s heated. Nothing negative has yet been correlated with freezing the product. It’s entirely reasonable to assert that silicon cupcake trays are safe for ice production.
Styrofoam Egg Cartons
Using Styrofoam (Polystyrene) egg cartons as ice cube tray alternatives serves a dual purpose. They yield fun ice cubes—or, rather, ice ovals. Additionally, turning egg holders into ice holders is a way of reusing a container that is almost wholly non-recyclable, as most communities don’t recycle Styrofoam.
Paper egg cartons make terrible ice molds because water will soak and ruin the package long before the water freezes, leaving a mess and ice infused with pulpy mush. Styrofoam egg cartons, though, hold up in the freezer and will yield eggs of ice big enough to provide a slow melt on a hot day.
If you have an aversion to Styrofoam, this probably isn’t the mold for you. Styrofoam carries with it environmental concerns as well as health fears; however, manufacturers and individuals alike use it widely despite these issues. Making ice in an egg carton isn’t more of a health hazard than eating on Styrofoam surfaces or dairy containers (made from a form of Polystyrene).
Styrofoam egg cartons are convenient ice cube trays and let you reuse a resource. Whether or not you find them safe to use is a matter of personal preference. The jury is still out on the health risks of Styrofoam.
Not all plastics are the same, and some are very safe to use.
Chocolate Box Tray
Just as ice cube trays are makeshift chocolate candy molds, chocolate box trays can be alternative ice cube trays. Use empty trays to create ice cubes perfectly sized for a glass of your favorite beverage.
Rather than disposing of them or even tossing them into the recycling bin, repurpose the plastic blister trays that house delectable pieces of chocolate. The chocolate box inserts yield ice cubes that aren’t your ordinary ice.
While the designs aren’t as varied as those of candy molds, candy box trays do make your ice a little fancier. Cavities are frequently in these shapes:
- Rounded wedge
- Miscellaneous unique forms
They’re basic but artsy. Additional ice character comes from the sides of the mold. Cavities can be smooth or ribbed. The grooves form vertical lines on the sides of your ice piece. The effect is a subtle elegance that people will enjoy.
Trays like these are flexible, albeit a bit noisy. If you don’t mind hearing the crinkling and crunching of cold, thin plastic, then these could be a useful choice for your ice making needs. Removing the ice from the tray is fairly easy. Manipulate the tray to isolate a piece of ice, and then push it out with your thumbs. If needed, you can run cool water over the bottom of the tray to loosen the ice.
There is one significant advantage to using chocolate box trays as ice cube trays that shouldn’t be overlooked. You have an excuse to buy and eat chocolates to build a collection of ice cube trays. You likely need a lot of trays.
- Sized for small freezers
- Small size freezes quickly
- 9" x 4" x 2"
- Comes in a pack of 2
- Trays stack without bottom of top tray touching cubes in the tray below
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Overall, there are many reasons to seek ice cube tray alternatives:
- Repurposing items keeps them out of the landfill.
- You can find perfectly sized molds and cavities to tailor your ice to your needs.
- Creating ice in fun, unique, themed shapes adds pizazz to your party and pleases people of all ages.
- Molds don’t have to be whimsical; they can be elegant.
- Your ice will act as an icebreaker, as it lends itself well to the role of conversation starter.
Have fun with ice, and turn hum-drum into fun. When people call you the Ice Queen or Ice King, it will be a compliment. Greatness happens when you use things at home as ice cube tray alternatives.
Feature image via google image Well+Good