Sugar Cube Light

I love making this kind of winter / christmas decoration together with my son because it is very easy to do, yet so beautiful to look at. Alright alright, I did have to convince the almost 10-y/o of doing this project again in 2022 but once we started, he actually had a lot of fun! The fact that this piece of decoration is so simple to craft, makes it the ideal project even if you have younger kids because it is not complicated at all and the worst that can happen is sticky fingers and probably a rather sticky table and/or work surface. All you need is:

  • sugar cubes (1 box of 500g)
  • powdered sugar
  • some water
  • a small bowl 
  • a small plate or similar with a relatively flat surface
  • any light (tea light, small candle, led light)

Where to begin?

Once you have everything you need, mix some of the powdered sugar (2-3 tablespoons) with a little bit of water at a time to create the icing that you are going to use as edible glue. Be warned: some of that icing will inevitably find its way into the mouth of your child 😂 but you probably expected that already. 

Make sure the icing is not too watery because then the mess will be much bigger and the sugar cubes might dissolve during the process. Create a thin layer of icing on the inner rim of the item of your choice (we used a small decorative plate) and place the sugar cubes in a circle, always leaving some space between them so the light can shine through the gaps. 

When the first layer is finished, distribute some more icing on the cubes and place the next ones on top, again with a tiny offset. Continue like this until the light has reached the desired height or until you have used up all the sugar cubes. With us, 500g was enough for 9 layers. Finally, place the candle/ (led) light in the center and light it up. 

Another great thing about this sugar cube light project (and many other projects really) is the fact, that kids, as they grow up, develop in their creativity and their way of thinking. Consequently, this project might look differently every year (smaller/bigger, round/rectangular, messy/neat) depending on the age and development of your child and that’s wonderful to see. 

This year, mine started to wonder whether the sugar cubes wouldn’t melt if we lit a candle in the center of the lantern. I explained to him that it depended of course on the level of heat and we also made a small experiment to satisfy his curiosity. To demonstrate what (extreme) heat could do to the sugar, I held the flame of a candle lighter to one of the remaining sugar cubes. We noticed that it took a few seconds before the sugar started to melt and the result were tiny drops of caramel 😉 What a pleasant and fragrant surprise.