I have a bottle of vodka that I want to have the effect of being frozen with shards of ice on it.

If I lived in Alaska where I could leave it outside and drip water over the top every hour or so, that would be ideal. But I don't. I'm trying to figure out a way to use my freezer for this effect, and my question is how best to do this.

I need to keep the water on the bottle, so it will freeze to it. I've thought about a ziplock bag, which I'd peel off after it's frozen... then perhaps chisel away the ice so it doesn't look like it was in a bag (sharp edges, etc.).

Or, to do it so it looks like an ice cube with the bottle in the middle. For that, I was thinking to fill a baking dish and freeze it in that, and then heat the back side to release it from the baking dish. Has anyone done something like this and does anyone have advice or tips?

I'm thinking of everything in my mind and want to try the least amounts of times for fear of impacting the frosted look on the bottle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There are times when Photoshop seems like a downright sensible solution, eh? \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve Ross
    Sep 17, 2011 at 5:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind that if you want the ice to be glass-clear, you have to agitate it while it freezes, or degas the water before freezing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fake Name
    Sep 17, 2011 at 6:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I might be showing a miss spent youth here but, have you ever tried to freeze a bottle of vodka? 80 proof vodka will freeze at approximately -26.95 °C or -16.51 °F. 100 proof vodka will freeze at approximately -40.43 °C or -40.78 °F - in a normal freezer the bottle just wont get cold enough to freeze the water on the outside of the bottle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Sep 18, 2011 at 8:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rob - the temperature of the liquid and the bottle itself will still cool to -4 deg C, and any water on the bottle will also freeze. It's just the vodka that won't. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ it only has to look like a bottle of vodka, so you could drink the vodka, replace it with water, and freeze the water \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2011 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


I don't know how the kids are doing it these days, but in my day we used acrylic resin (available by the bucket in larger craft shops) for "ice" and clear Krylon (misted with water from a plant mister when necessary) for "frost".

Unlike food maquettes (such as using coloured Crisco and icing sugar for "ice cream") you aren't breaking any truth in advertising laws, and the "ice" will survive the lighting and staging process. Real ice poses a lot of problems. There is a relatively narrow range of temperatures in which it looks right (too cold and it lacks gloss, too warm and it melts too quickly), it takes textured fingerprints (or gloveprints) that you're forever having to torch out (while carefully trying to avoid soot deposits -- which can never be removed completely, and therefore mean starting over again).

In the end, the fake stuff usually looks more believable than the real.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Now I'm having issues with the bottle already being 'frosted' glass... I'm not sure if it should make a difference but it seems that where ever I put water and/or product to get effect, the bottle is darker under those areas and causes it to look... off. Should that normally make a difference? Thanks, @Stan Rogers. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2011 at 10:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Michelle: Yes, it should normally make a difference. The bottle appears frosted because of roughness at the glass/air boundary; when you add any material that has an index of refraction closer to that of glass than that of air, you are essentially "repairing" the glass surface optically. (That leaves out the effect of reflection at the surface of the substance.) That's one of those things you either have to live with reality or fake what you want in Photoshop. If it looks enough like water to play the part, it will have the same optical effect on the frosted glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Sep 26, 2011 at 11:46

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