How To: Instant Ice! How to Waterbend in Real Life

Instant Ice! How to Waterbend in Real Life

In one of my previous articles, I showed off how to make water freeze into ice instantaneously. In this article, I'd like to elaborate on this, and show how a glass of water can turn to ice instantly on command. What exactly is this supernatural power? Discover the secrets to ice-bending—in real life.

A couple of years ago, a friend at work told me he left water bottles outside overnight in freezing temperatures. Then he got the water to freeze instantly by shaking them. I was fascinated by the idea, and began to research the online resources demonstrating the effect of supercooled water and began to experiment with it on my own.

I can confirm, along with hundreds of others, that this phenomenon is legit, and here's how you can do it at home, step by step!

  1. Find some purified water (the easiest place to find this is an unopened bottle of water).
  2. Put it in the freezer for the exact amount of time to supercool it (more on this later).
  3. Initiate nucleation of the ice crystals (rasier than it sounds).

Every bottle is going to be a little bit different. Some factors that affect the time to freeze are:

  • Volume of water in the bottle
  • Size and shape of the bottle
  • Temperature of water before it goes in the freezer
  • Temperature of the freezer
  • Position of the bottle in the freezer

The easiest way to find out the ideal freeze time for your bottles is to start with bottles at room temperature and put multiple bottles in the freezer at the same time. This will increase your chances for success.

To determine the formula for your specific bottles:

  • Make a note of the time.
  • Check your bottles after 90 minutes, and thereafter every 15 minutes until one freezes.
  • Mark the time of the frozen bottle, and subtract 15 minutes.

Your specific bottles should work within this window of opportunity.

In my case, the first bottle froze after 2 hours and 45 minutes, and I found all the bottles worked consistently between 2½ and 2¾ hours.

The rest of the unfrozen bottles in the freezer should be supercooled and ready for action. When you take them from the freezer, be very gentle; they are super sensitive and can freeze with even the slightest jolt.

To test one, just give it a whack on the bottle, anywhere you want. If you hit it hard enough, you should see the water instantly begin to freeze from the top to the bottom. The result will be a clear liquid turning to an opaque white, as seen in the pictures below.

You can also freeze the water using a piece of ice as a nucleation point. Just pour the water on top of the ice, and watch your ice pillars grow right before your eyes!

If they don't grow very fast, try leaving your bottles in the freezer for another 10 minutes. If your bottles are freezing with only a slight touch, or before you want them to, try taking your bottles out of the freezer 5 minutes earlier.

As the water freezes, it actually releases latent heat into the ice and the temperature warms up to just below freezing. This leaves you with a delicious edible slush with the consistency of a wet snowball.

You can try pouring your water into an extremely clean glass. If it's still liquid at this point, try dropping an ice-cube into the center, and watch the whole thing crystalize.

You can do the same thing by just holding an ice cube on the surface of the water, and watch it get frozen in place.

I found you could color your crystallization by adding a couple of drops of food coloring to the water before they go in the freezer. In this case, I used 2 drops of blue food coloring.

Image via

I tried pouring out an entire bottle on a bed of ice to form an "instant snow-cone", then used some juice from melted freeze-pops as a makeshift syrup.

A fun and entertaining treat for a hot summers day!

Well, there you have it! That's how to freeze water instantly like a water-bending master (or would it be ice-bending?). If you haven't see the video yet, it's not too late. See it here!

If you like this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out here on WonderHowTo or over at

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