17 Hanukkah Crafts and Decorations for Eight Nights of Fun
As the sun sets, the lights begin to shine—and so does your creativity. This Hanukkah, host friends and family with a holiday of your own making. Craft paper stars of David and glittered garlands to greet everyone from the windows. Set the table with luminous decorations and modern serveware, for a buffet to serve all of your beloved holiday dishes (crisp potatoes, braised beef, and sweet donuts). The focal point, of course, is the menorah with its taper candles including the shamash at its heightened center. Some families, instead of using candles, use menorahs with small pots for oil in a more symbolic re-creation of the original Hanukkah miracle. But why stop there? Make a menorah of your own with gilded wooden blocks, wintry white chalk-painted greenery, or a silvered manzanita branch. As the candles are lit, the family recites a special prayer.
Over eight nights, the family gathers 'round for spinning games of dreidel and chocolate coins known as gelt. Enlist their help to choose the perfect card and wrap gifts (with nothing to be said of sending them in the mail on time). Crafts and activities are also a fun way for you to teach the children about their religious heritage. Inspire them to make their own menorahs, dreidels, and toys—all are bound to become the family's newly treasured heirlooms.
Our editors came up with these ideas using common craft materials and found natural objects. Improvise with the ribbons, jars, and colors of your choice. Then simply: paint, glue, and celebrate! All of easy projects put a colorful spin on classic decorations for the Festival of Lights.
Glass Vase Menorah
To set up this modern menorah, arrange eight bud vases in a row, with a taller one in the middle, and place tapers inside. For added stability, put a bit of candle glue in the bottom of each vase. Post-holiday, repurpose the vessels for greenery or small garden clippings.
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Red Oak Wooden-and-Copper Menorah
Our stylish copper-and-wood menorah is hand-constructed with materials easily found at most home improvement centers: a block of oak and small metal couplings (ordinarily used for joining plumbing pipes) for the main part, and a piece of oak hobby board and metallic trim for the base. To accommodate the shamash candle (the middle one that lights the others), we drilled a shallower hole in the middle so that it stands highest. Tip: To avoid spraying melted wax, place your index finger between flame and lips before blowing out each candle.
Velvet Flower Vases
Ordinary vases become elegant Hanukkah décor with this neat trick. We created a design by using an iron and rubber stamps to heat-emboss shapes onto velvet. Slip a sleeve on for your celebrations; slip it off afterward to store easily.
To make one, cut a piece of velvet fabric into a strip that's the circumference of the vase by its height plus one inch. Gently pull exposed threads along both edges to create fringe. Trim fringe to fit height of your vase. Spritz velvet and stamp with water. On a flat surface, lay velvet face-down on a geometric stamp (we used a square on its side and a circle). Set an iron on medium-high against back of fabric, 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat to make a pattern. Wrap velvet around vase and secure with double-sided tape.
Silver Branch Menorah
Find a branch at least 16 inches long, with a raised knot (for the shamash, the candle used to light the other candles). Mark nine evenly spaced dots with a pencil, one on top of the knot; drill holes with a 3/8-inch bit. (Hole size depends on candle size.) Paint with craft paint. Let dry, and affix self-adhesive bumpers to the bottom, if desired.
Olive Oil Lights Menorah
For a traditional twist, use oil lights. Cover the top halves of 8 small jars with masking tape. Using etching cream, etch the bottom halves according to product directions; remove tape. Fill the jars halfway with water. Add 1/8 inch of olive oil. Drop a floating wick into each jar, cork side down. Use a birthday candle in a small, narrow-necked bottle for the shamash.
Menorah by Mail
Start a new Hanukkah tradition for loved ones who live far away. Former crafts editor Jodi Levine made this washi tape menorah on a long envelope that accommodates eight smaller ones. (A long, skinny envelope works best.) She stamped the small envelopes one through eight (one for each night) and filled each one with a little gift, like a pair of earrings, a sheet of stickers, or a gift card.
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Use eight small favor boxes and one slightly larger box. Mark the center of the inside flap of each box with pencil. Punch a hole in each flap with a screw punch. Cut nine four-inch pieces of yellow ribbon. Fold each piece in half, and push ends through hole; hot-glue ends to flap. Attach four small boxes with double-sided tape. Wrap them in silver ribbon, hot-gluing ends to secure. Repeat with remaining four small boxes. Wrap the larger box in silver ribbon. Hot-glue the linked small boxes to either side of the larger box. Fill the eight small boxes with treats or small gifts, one for each night.
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Hanukkah Star And Dreidel Cards
Handcrafted Hanukkah greetings with cut-out patterns offer a fun, personalized way to present gift cards. To make the star card, print the star-card template onto lavender card stock, and cut out triangles. Fold a piece of pale-blue card stock in half. Tape the lavender card on top of the blue card. Slide a gift card into the star cutout. Make a slit at the edge of the card to insert the top corner of gift card.
To make the dreidel card, print the dreidel template on deep-yellow card stock, large rectangle on pale blue, and small rectangle on pale yellow. Fold deep-yellow card stock in half, and cut out dreidel shape. Cut out the small rectangle and tape behind the dreidel cutout as shown. Cut out large rectangle and tape to inside cover of card as shown. Slide the gift card into the pocket.
Starry Stamped Runner
Delicate yellow stars glow against a simple white runner. To make it, print and cut out triangle and hexagon template. Trace a triangle onto an eraser (measuring at least 1 inch square) and cut out. Trace a hexagon onto card stock, and cut out. Place on fabric. Use a foam brush to paint one side of the triangle. Stamp a triangle along each side of hexagon to make a star. Repeat.
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Hanukkah Place Cards
Give simple table settings a touch of finery with craft-punched place cards backed with silver paper. We used menorah, Star of David, and dreidel craft punches to make Hanukkah place cards, but this idea can be adapted easily for any holiday.
To make them, cut a 3-by-4-inch rectangle of kraft paper, and fold in half using a bone folder. Use the craft punch to cut out a design on one side of the card. Cut a circle of silver paper and place it behind the cutout, affixing with glue. Cut a piece of ribbon slightly longer than the card, and glue along the bottom edge; hide the ends by folding them around the edges. Write your guest's name beside the punched design.
Star-Punched Paper Hurricanes
Clean-lined dishes and glassware form this modern and elegant tablescape. Hurricane vases and votive candle holders are wrapped in star-punched paper—an easy way to suffuse your party with warmth. First download the stars template, and print to desired size. Cut decorative paper so it's flush with the top of the hurricane vase and the paper ends overlap by about 1/2 inch. Lay the template on top of decorative paper, then place both on top of dry sponge. Use an awl to transfer the pattern. Following the pattern, punch the decorative paper with Japanese hole punch. Wrap the paper around a hurricane vase, and secure with tape.
Hanukkah Clip-Art Favor Boxes
Silver gelt, chocolate coins wrapped in foil, make charming favors when presented in clip-art card stock boxes tied with ribbon and a Star of David. To make them, download clip-art and print onto matte heavyweight paper; cut out. Score along the dotted lines with a bone folder. For straight lines, use a ruler for guidance. Fold the box, first along straight lines, then on one end to close. Fill the box with gelt and close its open end. Using a craft punch, punch out a star from silver paper. Wrap ribbon around the box, and secure with a star using double-sided tape. Trim the ends of ribbon on the diagonal.
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Dreidel Place Cards and Gelt Envelopes
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel—I made it out of card stock! (And there's no glue required, so it's already dry and ready.) Print dreidel template, and cut out. Trace dreidel sections onto lavender card stock, and cut out. Cut slits as indicated on templates. Write the guest's name on one piece. Slide pieces together.
Stamped designs make plain envelopes holiday-worthy. Using a blue ink pad and a menorah rubber stamp, stamp glassine envelopes. Let dry for 10 minutes before filling with gelt.
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Eating fried foods is, of course, one of Hanukkah's delicious traditions. Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, can be given out as party favors when arranged in cupcake liners and packaged in cellophane bags. These are sealed with double-sided tape and finished with patterned pastel paper.
Silver Glittered Menorah
For the base, you'll need a piece of wood cut to about 8 by 1 5/8 by 3/4 inches and, for the candleholders, ten 1/4-inch nuts. Using wood glue, attach 10 nuts to the wooden base: a stack of two in the middle, with four on each side. Let dry. Brush all but the underside of the base with clear drying white glue. Sprinkle with glitter; let dry. To add colored details, use a toothpick to dot the edges of base with glue, and sprinkle with a contrasting color of glitter.
Candlelit Branch and Ribbon Star of David
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with this manzanita-branch menorah, sprayed shimmering silver and trimmed with candles. Plus, in keeping with holiday tradition, a small gift awaits each guest. But what's inside each box topped with a ribbon star is not the only surprise: Hidden within the napkin folds is chocolate gelt.
To make the candlelit branch, working on a covered surface, coat a manzanita branch with silver floral spray; let dry. Attach nine candle clips along branch, with one higher than the rest (for the shamash candle). With a pencil, trace star template nine times onto blue vellum; cut out. Using a 3/4-inch circle craft punch, remove the center of each star. Cut along the line on the template. Slide stars onto clips. Insert Hanukkah candles.
To make a ribbon Star of David, start by cutting 1-inch-wide ribbon into two 17-inch lengths. Lay one ribbon vertically. Measure 1 inch from the top; mark on right edge with a disappearing ink pen. Mark again 4 inches below first dot; mark a third dot 4 inches below that. With the disappearing-ink pen, extend each mark into an equilateral triangle. Starting at the top, fold ribbon along the first marked triangle; using a hot-glue gun, glue beneath fold to secure. Repeat at next 2 marked triangles, folding the top end first and gluing the bottom-end fold. Trim ribbon even with side of resulting triangle; tuck under the first point. With a second ribbon, repeat the above steps. Weave the folded point of the second ribbon under the left side of the completed triangle, over right side. With the disappearing-ink pen, mark top point of triangle for orientation. Fold the ribbon at its second marked triangle. Weave the ribbon under the bottom side of the triangle. Fold the ribbon at its third marked triangle. Weave the ribbon under its lower-right point of triangle. Trim the ribbon; tuck under its upper-right point.
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Hanukkah Gift Card Holder
Give someone the star treatment by presenting a gift card in this easy-to-make paper holder. You can also use the decoration instead of a bow to jazz up a plainly wrapped package. Cut out a pair of paper triangles using our template, one blue and one white. Using a craft knife, make a slit wide enough to fit a gift card in one triangle. Attach triangles with double-sided tape, creating a pouch. Using a ruler and blue ink, draw borders. Insert gift your card.
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