Chanukah (or Hanukkah) is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It is a celebration of the Maccabee’s victory over the Syrians during the second century (B.C.) that is commemorated by lighting a candle each night for eight nights. Today this holiday is celebrated by many throughout the world. There are many traditions that go along with lighting the Menorah like reading specific scriptures, singing hymns, and exchanging small gifts. Whether you’re celebrating Chanukah for the first time, the 70th, or you’re trying to be inclusive and educational with your family, there is one part of Chanukah that is universal: the Menorah. The Menorah is an elaborate candelabra that has eight branches for the eight nights and one for the shamash (servant) candle. They come in many forms and can be elaborate and intricate or simple in their design. Here are some ideas for DIY Menorahs as you prepare for Chanukah this year.
There are some requirements and then there are traditions. In order for a menorah to be kosher, here are the guidelines:
- 8 candles, plus one more (the shamash candle)
- Candles must be arranged in a straight line, not a semi-circle
- Candles should be of an even height or on an even slant, not random heights.
DIY Menorah 01: Deconstructed
If you’re unsure of space, or you’re trying to go simple, try creating a deconstructed Menorah. Grab nine glass cylinder vases here, some blue rocks here, and nine floating candles here. These would look lovely across a mantle, piano, or credenza. To make the setup kosher, measure the same amount of water into the first 8 containers and slightly more in the night so that the shamash candle is sitting slightly higher than the other eight.
If you want something a little taller, you could also opt to place taper candles in bottles and then arrange them in your space. Just make sure to keep it kosher by paying attention to the height. Grab a set of beautiful cobalt blue bottles here and get started!
DIY Menorah 02: Flameless
If you live somewhere that doesn’t allow open flames (or you have small children), there are still options!
Kid-Friendly DIY Menorah
This first option utilizes gummy candies, skewers, and a very basic piece of wood at the bottom to keep it all weighted. Start by getting a 12″ 2×4 piece of wood (or longer if you’d like). Every 1 1/3″ make a mark, this is where you will need to drill a hole for the skewers. Make sure the hole you drill is slightly smaller than your skewer so that it’s a tight fit. You can always add a dab of wood glue to help things be a little more stable. Then decorate each of the skewers using various types of candy-just make sure that one is higher than the rest. Last, using paper, create a single flame for each night that gets taped onto the end of the skewer.
This second option has a paper base but is simple and easy. Grab some assorted cardstock here. Then all you need is some scissors, a marker, glue, and 9 toothpicks. Begin by cutting 8 pieces of blue paper the same height and 1 an inch taller. Then wrap them around a marker to get your shape right, and glue closed. To create the flames, draw (or print) 9 teardrops on the orange paper, and slightly smaller teardrops on the yellow. Glue the yellow to the orange with a toothpick in between. Pop them in a box you buy or make and you’re set!
So, whether you opt for an elaborate setup, or something simple. Creating a menorah on your own is definitely doable. Have a very Happy Chanukah!