How To Make Ice Cubes Without A Tray – The Proven DIY Ways

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Have you ever thought about making ice cubes without a tray, by yourself? Why would you do so, one would ask. After all, ice cubes are the most common implements you will have around the house, right?

The thing is that sometimes, however, you may have a freezer that’s too small to fit an ice tray inside.

Sometimes you have a large enough fridge but you’ve just put so many things inside it that you don’t have any space for an ice tray.

diy ice cubes

It is times like these that you just wish you had some alternatives. When regular ice cube trays are not an option, what do you turn to?

It’s life hack time and we decided to look for the coolest and most practical DIY ways to make ice cubes without a tray.

Most of the items on this list are short term solutions to help out while you replace your tray or at least find it if it’s the list.

There are also a couple of long term solutions that you might want to try out every once in a while instead of the tray.

How To Make Ice Cubes Without A Tray

Make Ice With Ziploc Bags

Ziploc Bags are excellent solutions for when you don’t have an ice tray because they are simple and quick to deal with. They’re also pretty common and you’re likely to have some lying about the house.

To use a Ziploc bag, fill it with cold water and leave it in the freezer for several hours. The amount of ice you get will depend on the amount of water you put in the bag. If you fill the bag to the brim you’re going to get a large rock of ice.

You may need to crush it into smaller pieces to actually use it.

make ice cubes Ziploc Bags

A good trick is to fill up the Ziploc up quarter-way and then zip it up and lay it flat on the floor of the freezer. This will create a layer of ice that’s medium in thickness and easy to break up into smaller pieces.

The major downside that comes with Ziploc bags is that your ice will be shapeless, for the most part. But if you’re not worried about aesthetics, then that should not be a problem.

Make Ice Cubes With Silicone Molds

Silicone Molds diy ice making traySilicone molds are used for a variety of purposes, including baking cakes, bread, and making candy. They’re even used to make soap.

Thanks to how versatile they are, you can use them to make ice cubes too.

With silicone molds, you would do what you would normally do with ice trays.

Just fill the mold with water and let it sit in the freezer for several hours.

It’s recommendable that you leave it overnight as the ice is better frozen by then and doesn’t melt too quickly.

The best thing about silicone molds is that they come in a wide array of shapes, allowing you to create all sorts of cool ice cube shapes, from heart-shaped to crystal shells.

They’re definitely a lot more fun than Ziploc bags!

Make Ice Cubes With Egg Cartons

using Egg Cartons to make ice cubesEgg cartons are an eccentric solution, but they work. To be sure, they are more of an emergency solution than a permanent one, so don’t use them every day.

They should ideally only be used when you have no ice tray or silicone molds but still want well-shaped ice cubes.

However, to properly utilize them, you’re going to need aluminum foil.

Spread the aluminum foil on the bottom half of the egg carton, where the eggs typically rest. It should fit smoothly into them.

This is so that the foil can protect the carton from the water (the carton will fall apart if you add water directly to it, not to mention it will contaminate your water).

Now, with the foil on the carton, pour your water into the compartments and place the carton in the freezer, leaving it there for several hours for the ice to form and harden.

Built-In Freezer Ice Makers

Built-In Freezer Ice MakersThis is more of a long-term ice making solution that you can consider using even when you have an ice tray around.

Large fridges typically come with large freezers that have built-in ice-making kits. These kits dispense ice as needed.

The greatest benefit of built-in ice makers is that you can have ice whenever you need it.

You don’t have to wait for many hours for it to freeze. You also don’t have to do much because the ice maker makes ice automatically.

The major downside is that these fridges are pretty expensive. The built-in ice maker also needs lots of space in the freezer, eating up space for other things you might want to put in there.

The fridge itself is also pretty large and will, therefore, consume a lot of space in your kitchen.

Countertop Ice Makers

Igloo ICEB26WH Automatic Portable Electric... If you’re not a fan of dropping a lot of dollars on an expensive fridge but love the ice maker idea, you can consider getting a countertop ice maker. These icemakers, like this one from Igloo, are lightweight and compact, taking up very little real estate in your kitchen.

You can even take them along with you in your RV or boat, or even on your picnic. They do need a power source, however, so bear that in mind.

Icemakers come in varying capacities and so you can look for something that meets your needs. The smallest ones can make between 20 and 26 pounds a day while there are larger ones for parties and entire family use that make between 28 and 40 pounds a day.

Under-Counter and Freestanding Ice Makers

You can also consider getting large dedicated ice makers, of which there are 2 types: under-counter and freestanding.

The under-counter ice maker is compact and fits beneath a cabinet while a freestanding ice maker looks like a fridge.

They have very high production capacities of up to 85 pounds of ice a day, and so they are naturally more expensive than countertop ice makers.

These ice makers are best for when you have a huge family or are holding a large event.

DIY Ice Cube Trays – Some Other Creative Ways

There are other ideas you might consider for making ice cubes without an ice tray:

  • Lego pieces

    lego DIY ice cubesFor this, we recommend the square ones from Lego Duplo. Note, however, that it might be difficult to get the ice cube out of the plastic Lego tube. Consider putting it in warm water briefly to help the ice slide out.

  • Small Vodka Glasses

    This is yet another unconventional method but why not? You should also place these in warm water for a bit when they’re frozen to help the ice out.

  • Plastic Bottle Necks

    Picture tells more than a 1000 words, so here’s a video of a girl doing this practically:

Alternative: Use Whiskey Stones / Metal Ice Cubes

Set of 9 Grey Beverage Chilling Stones [Chill... This isn’t technically a way to make ice cubes without an ice tray. However, whiskey stones and metal ice cubes are still a great alternative to ice cubes.

Although some say that whiskey stones will never be as good as ice cubes, the fact is that they are reusable and you can take them with you when you’re traveling. That's a huge benefit. 

Another one is that they’re also a great option for when you want to cool your whiskey without diluting it.

If you would like to learn more about whiskey stones, check out our review of the best whiskey stones.

How To Make Ice Cubes Without a Tray – Bottom Line

And with that, we come to the end of our little blog post on how to make ice cubes without an ice tray.

As you can see, you’re only limited by your creativity and these are not nearly all the different ways you could make ice cubes. Hopefully, though, they give you options the next time you don’t have an ice tray around.

We wish you a cool (pun intended) ice-making session! See you next time at

Last update on 2021-09-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Luke is a co-founder of, a cooler expert and author of 70+ reviews on this website. Luke has a deep passion for sports and all-things-outdoors. From fishing to hiking, from family camping to solo bike trekking, Luke adores spending quality time enjoying nature, oftentimes checking out new coolers while doing so.

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