Glow Cones


I can’t believe my baby is about to turn one. We’ve been planning a big bash to celebrate, and have been trying to think of something fun to do. Preferably something that involves being outside on a summer night—do you agree with me that there’s nothing better than summer twilight?—and probably involving a movie under the stars with lots of cousins running around. Yesterday, while we were taking in the free indoor summer movie at the local theater, my son pulled out a glow ring, and we had an idea.

We pulled out the snow cone machine.

We gathered cups, one clear plastic cup to fit inside each paper cup.

We waited until dusk.

And then it was time! (Brent did not make it home from work until late, so all photos you see are taken with a baby in one arm and a camera in the other. I’ll see if I can snap some better pictures for you tonight.)

We put a glow stick inside each paper cup and nested a plastic cup inside,

scooped in shaved ice,  and had our first ever glow cones.
(I finally told the kids to watch out for coyotes and ran inside get the tripod, baby in toe, since he’s the only one small enough to be a coyote snack.)

The perfect excuse for being outside on a summer night. Testing the different colored syrups with the different colored glow sticks was spectacular. If you get the chance, you must try. I think we’ll make more again tonight when I have a baby holder around and see if we can get some better shots.
I also think these would be the perfect snack to go with a night-time shadow puppet show.


p.s. I know I promised you one more photo game idea for our photography shoot along, but we didn’t quite finish the project due to staying up late gorging on glowing snow cones. I have the project in the works though and promise to share soon. I also have many other fun photo ideas I plan to crank out, and Carrie has a new photography tutorial underway. Stay tuned. And if you have any burning photography questions, it’s not too late to add them.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Hil July 28, 2010 at 8:20 am

Brilliant! Seriously love this idea. How fun and creative is that?


meaghan (chic cookies) July 28, 2010 at 8:34 am

Genius! had to post a link on Genius!!


Whitney @ Whisker Graphics July 28, 2010 at 9:42 am

I love your simply brilliant idea! It’s magical, kinda like bubbles are. Well done!


Michelle July 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

What a fun idea.
Where did a year go? I can’t believe I’ve been following your blog so long. You were pregnant when I first discovered your awesome blog. : )


Werner Hoeger July 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Unbelievable. I am off to buy glow sticks!!!!


Sarah July 28, 2010 at 3:29 pm

AWESOME! Makes me want to run out and get a snow cone maker just so I can do this :)


Emily July 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

These are awesome! I’m definitely going to try them. Thanks for sharing!


Lorie July 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

This might be the funnest idea EVER! I am going to have to pick up some glow sticks so that we can do this before school starts.

I am actually trying to figure out an excuse to have a party so that I can do this with a big group of kids!!


Merywendy Fuentes July 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I like this idea. It’s very fun and original.


Amy July 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I LOVE this idea! My kids would think I was the best mom ever! I am totally stealing this idea just for the glory :)! Thank you!


Caroline July 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Amber, I love love love this idea!!! Can’t wait to do it with my grandkids. You are a genius!


AmberLee July 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Hi Caroline! So fun to hear from you! I hope your cute grandkids like it!


Jen July 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Love this idea, love it! Just wondering where you would get a shave ice machine though – yours looks authentic :-)


AmberLee July 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Hi Jen,
The ice machine I found on ebay. I grew up with my parents having one and wanted my own for years (it’s great and totally indestructible, incase you can’t tell). The only problem is mine came unassembled with dozens of pieces and very, very brief instructions in another language. Once we finally puzzled it out it was great though!


marta July 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm

i gasped when i saw this post. you are just the cutest creative mom in the world. loving that photo of you and the little one. thank you, thank you for sharing your fabulous ideas. who’d a thought?!!


Erin @ Letter Soup July 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

This is AWESOME! We have an outdoor movie night coming up and these will be perfect! Thanks!


Jenny July 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

How fun! How creative! Thanks for sharing~


Dreamer July 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

mmmmmm, radio active tasty summer treat. I love it!


Dona August 4, 2010 at 6:37 am

Great star gazing treat!


Aimee August 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Such a clever idea! Can’t wait to pull these off in summers to come. I had to share it – I featured you here.


Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home August 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

What a cool idea!


Bess August 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

Just had to add that we do “Dark Bath” with our glow sticks. They are always cheap at Halloween at Target, so we buy lots and lots of packages. We then throw 2 or 3 per child into the bath and turn out the lights at tub time. It makes for an interesting bath time and helps the dark seem a lot less scary. :)

This idea originally happened because I wanted to share the glow sticks with my 1 1/2 year old (now 5) but wanted to make sure he was in a controlled environment so they wouldn’t end up in his tummy. :)


Tonja Meier August 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for the idea!!!!! My (almost) 16 yr old and her friends were all being silly this summer and they all bought snowcone makers! YUM! We are planning a surprise midnight boat ride for her with her friends, the night she turns 16…these will be the perfect treat….just have to figure out how to keep the ice from melting before we get on the lake!


Lizzy June 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

My aunt actually had a snow cone business called ‘Glocones’ where we sold snow cones with glowing bracelets…. This was 10 years ago in Oklahoma.


candace rutledge June 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

can you tell me what size cups were used to make these? I am having trouble finding what size cups to use. Thanks.


AmberLee June 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Hi Candace,
I’m sorry it has taken me a while to respond! I dug up my cups that I used last year to check. I couldn’t find a size on them. But both were a standard, party size cup. The solid cups I bought at the dollar store, and the clear cups I just picked up at my grocery store. As long as the clear cups nests in the solid cup, you should be good. Am I being helpful at all? Good luck!!


candace rutledge June 14, 2011 at 8:46 am


yes that help alot. Do you know if they outside cups were paper or the plastic cups? Sorry so many questions but we are doing this as a fundraiser for Relay for Life in 3 weeks. I am so excited.. I think the kids are gonna love it!


AmberLee June 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hi Candace!
The outside cups were paper, and the inside were clear plastic. Just nest the glow stick between them so it glows into the cup. Good luck with your event! It sounds fantastic.


Laura@ComeTogetherKids June 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I found you through Pinterest and LOVED this idea. I made them tonight with my kids and they loved it. I didn’t have shaved ice so we just used Sprite, but they loved it nonetheless.

I hope you don’t mind that I linked back to you in my post.


Kelly August 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

what color did you use for the paper cups? white or a color? Thanks!


AmberLee August 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for the note, Kelly!! The cups I used were red on the outside, white on the inside! I think the white inside helped. Good luck!!


Genevieve September 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Lovely idea but the plastic isn’t food safe, So not such a good idea ,


AmberLee September 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hi Genevieve,
Thanks for the note! I actually add a clear cup over the glow stick, so the only think the snow cone ever touches is the clear cup! never the glow stick. I like to play it safe : )


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