Chanukah is a perfect time of year for the family to bring out dreidels, gelt, and craft supplies.
"While everyday day is a great time for crafting, it's extra-fun to get the family involved in arts and crafts around the holidays," says Rivky Koenig, author of Crafting Jewish (Artscroll 2008).
In her book, Koenig features various projects that revolve around the Jewish calendar. While all holidays beget crafts, Koenig loves Chanukah projects because they can double as lovely homemade gifts.
"I like making fun, decorative crafts that have practical uses," says Koenig. "Chanukah projects present a wonderful opportunity for kids to show off their creativity when family comes to visit."
As long as you have basic art supplies and a lot of imagination, the sky's the limit in terms of creative Chanukah projects the whole family can enjoy.
With everyone off from school and the holiday spirit in the air—not to mention the plummeting temperature—Chanukah is a great excuse to get cozy and get crafting.
Chanukah Crafts For Toddlers: Pasta Menorah
This easy craft utilizes materials normally found around the house. Spend time with your toddler making this pasta menorah, then enjoy a pasta dinner to round out the activity.
- 10 rigatoni pasta tubes with openings large enough to fit a candle
- 1 lasagna noodle
- Aluminum foil
- Chanukah candles
- Decorate the pasta with paint or glitter. Handle with care so they don't break!
- Place the lasagna noodle on your work surface. In a row, glue nine rigatoni noodles, pointing up, on the lasagna noodle. In order for the shamash to be taller than the rest, make it a double-decker by gluing a second rigatoni on top of the bottom one.
- Use paint and glitter to decorate the menorah.
- Wrap the bottom of each candle in a thin layer of foil so that a sliver of foil shows when inserted into the rigatoni. This way the pasta won't burn and you can easily pull out a melted candle.
Chanukah Crafts For Grade Schoolers: Chanukah Tray
This craft, created by Koenig, will be treasured for many Chanukahs to come as it becomes a family heirloom. The tray is perfect to display holiday essentials like menorahs, candles, wicks and olive oil. It can also be used to serve latkes or doughnuts.
- Large picture frame, with glass, 11 X 13 inches or larger
- Scrapbook paper or wrapping paper
- Glue Stick
- Cut letters, stickers or other embellishments
- 12 X 18 (or larger) piece of self-adhesive felt OR regular felt
- Take apart the picture frame and separate the backing, glass and frame. Put the glass and frame aside in a safe place for later. (If the backing of the frame has an easel back, remove the easel leg.)
- Measure a piece of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper to fit the backing of the frame. Trace the frame back onto the reverse side of the paper. Cut to fit (if you are using scrapbook paper, you may need more than one sheet to fit the back of the frame).
- Use a glue stick to glue the paper onto the front of the backing (the side that will show through the glass).
- Decorate the paper by gluing on lettering, pictures, stickers or other decorative embellishments of your choice.
- Put the picture frame back together.
- To ensure that the frame doesn't scratch the furniture, cut a piece of felt to fit the back of the frame. Turn the frame over and glue the felt to the back of the frame. If you are using self-adhesive felt, peel the paper from the felt and stick felt to the back of the frame.
Chanukah Crafts For Tweens: Latke Servers
Serve your latkes with style with this gorgeous project, one of the most popular crafts from Rivky Koneig's Crafting Jewish. This craft calls for E6000, which is a very strong glue used to adhere glass to glass, as well as to metals and other strong materials. It emits an odor, so make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area. Crafters Pick "The Ultimate Glue," which has less of an odor, can also be used.
- E6000 Adhesive* or Crafters Pick "The Ultimate Glue"
- Flat, colored glass marbles
- Inexpensive all-metal serving pieces, such as a slotted spoon, pancake server, or a large serving spoon
- Metal wire, 22-gauge
- Wire cutters or strong scissors
- UE6000 or Crafters Pick "The Ultimate Glue" to glue 4-5 marbles to the handle of each serving piece, leaving a narrow space between each stone. Let dry.
- Wrap the wire tightly approximately 6 times around the base of the handle, below the stone. Continue wrapping the wire in a pretty design around each stone, tightly looping the wire between them. Tightly loop the wire around the top stone. Use the write cutter to cut the wire. Tuck the cut end in under the wire loops.
- Let glue set for 24 hours before using utensils.
Chanukah Crafts For All Ages: Homemade Gift Wrap
Wrap your Chanukah presents in custom-made gift wrap and attach a matching card. Devised by Koenig, this is a great group activity because everyone can do the project on his or her level while spending time together.
Dreidel-Stamped Gift Wrap and Card
- Permanent marker
- 3 flat expandable sponges
- Dreidel-shaped cookie cutters, optional
- Bowl of water
- 1 roll of craft paper
- Acrylic or tempera paint
- Disposable plastic plates
- Blank cards and envelopes
- Use the permanent marker to draw dreidel shapes on the sponges. Or, trace a dreidel shape from a cookie cutter onto the sponges. Use scissors to cut out the sponge shapes.
- Roll out the amount of paper that you would like to stamp and cut to size.
- Squeeze or pour paint onto the plastic plates—one color per plate.
- Soak the sponges in water so that they expand. Then, wring out the sponges. Dip one flat side of a sponge into the paint, making sure to cover the entire surface with the paint.
- Place the sponge, paint side down, on the paper. Apply pressure to the sponge but don't rock it, then lift the sponge up gently.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with all the colors you are using, randomly stamping the surface of the paper. Allow the paper to dry.
- Stamp dreidels on the front of the cards the same way you did on the wrapping paper. You can stamp the envelopes as well. Allow to dry.