Before trading gifts or eating latkes, families gather together to light the candles in the menorah. In my family, we like to light several menorahs each night. One we received as a wedding gift, the glass one we bought on a family trip to Israel. The one with the teddy bears was a gift to my daughter. Each menorah has special memories invested in it and each year, my kids search for their favorite – the one they made in preschool; the one with the blue plastic gems on it or the one they almost dropped carrying it home.
For younger children, it’s fun to make a menorah that uses faux candles, so the child can “light” it themselves with no worries. This one uses nine popsicle sticks, topped with glitter (or orange marker) to stand in for the candles
- empty paper towel tube
- decorating items like markers, glitter, sequins, foam stickers or buttons
- glue or glue gun
- nine popsicle sticks
- one paper cup
- scissors or Exacto knife
First, a grown-up should use a pencil to mark the half-way spot on the paper tube. This is the place for the ninth candle, which is called the shamash, and is used to light all the other candles. Use the scissors or knife to carefully make four slits, each as wide as one of your popsicle sticks, evenly spaced, on either side of the center mark. Then cut a slit on the center spot. When you’re done, you should have nine slits in a row, down the tube. Now, let the child decorate the paper towel tube with the glitter, stickers, markers etc. Let dry if necessary.
Finally, use the upside down paper cup as the base of the menorah. Glue the tube, slits side up, to the bottom of the cup. Color the nine popsicle sticks with crayons or markers, making the top of each stick red or orange (or use glitter) for the “flame.” Each night, your child can “light” the menorah by placing an additional popsicle stick candle in the slits.
Nuts (no Bolts) Menorah
You’ll need to make a trip to the hardware store before you craft this next menorah, but I know you’ll agree it’s worth it when you see how a 3/8 inch nut makes a perfect-size Hanukkah candle holder.
- Scrap block of wood, about 10-12 inches long, to serve as the base. If you go to a craft store, you can buy a wooden plaque. Hardware stores will usually have a scrap bin where you can get pieces of wood for free. If you want to paint this base a solid color, do it before you start the project so it has time to dry. We spray-painted our wood block gold.
- One additional small block of wood, a spool or a small wood shape, like a star, to set the ninth candle a bit higher than the other eight.
- Mosaic craft tiles or other decorations to glue on, like plastic gems, sea glass or buttons.
- Nine 3/8-inch metal nuts
- Glue gun or multi-purpose cement. We used a glue gun to attach the nuts and Elmer’s
- Contact Cement for the tiles.
Glue the small block of wood or spool in the center of the large block. This is where the nut for the shamash candle will go. Then glue four nuts on either side of the shamash,in a row, on the top of the block. When the spool is dry, glue the last nut on top of it.Then decorate the base of the menorah by gluing on the mosaic tiles in shapes, patterns or random arrangements.