Bored with making crystal clear, 2” ice cubes? There’s more creativity to be had using large, clear craft ice. Carving and pressing are two methods to transform clear ice into different shapes. We recently started to experiment with ice ball presses. These simple devices can transform a block of ice into beautiful new shapes in seconds by a combination of melting and pressure. An ice press should not be mistaken as an ice maker. The ice form must first be created in your freezer or Klaris Ice machine.
A few of the major ice press companies (photos shown below) on the market today include Spirits on Ice, Cirrus, Cumulus, Atmos.
Key attributes of an Ice Press
Size & Weight
Most presses are designed to generate spheres with diameters of 1.5” to 2.75”. They are typically formed from aluminum but sometimes copper is used. These typically weigh between 4 and 15 lbs.
These devices are usually machined from solid metal which can be costly. The price can range from a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars per press.
The size, weight, material, and operating temperature of the press affect the melt time required to create a new shape. More metal (thermal mass) with better heat transfer (thermal conductivity) using a higher temperature differential than the ice will press faster. Some presses can form new shapes in as little as 30 seconds while others can take minutes. Regardless of the press used, speed of ice making can be increased by warming the press with warm tap water between press cycles.
An ice ball press effectively melts the original ice form (cube) into the desired shape. The melted ice (water) needs to be captured to prevent making a mess. Some presses have built in drip trays to collect water while others leak water through designed openings.
Removing the ice shape from the press can be tricky. Some presses include a lever to “push out” the ice shape from the mold. Tongs can be used to remove the ice shape from other presses.
But there is more! Some ice press companies offer inserts to form custom logos while others have inserts allowing shapes like diamonds, hearts, and stars. The world is your oyster when it comes to creativity with clear ice!
Clear vs. Cloudy Ice Balls
Maybe we are a little bias, but regardless of the shape you choose, it's clear (pun intended) that clear craft ice creates a much bigger "Wow" factor than cloudy ice with a press. See for yourself!
Happy Ice Making & Pressing!