The menorah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Israel. The Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, is celebrated each year to commemorate the miracle where one day’s worth of the specially made oil remained lit for eight days until more could be made. Each year families light their own menorahs to celebrate. If you’d like to learn how to make a clay menorah, you can use it to celebrate Hanukkah this year.
To make a menorah, or hanukkiah, you’ll need the following items:
- Self-hardening polymer clay such as Fimo or Premo
- Butter knife to cut the clay
- Hanukkah candles
- Acrylic paints and paintbrushes (have a look at Acrylic Paint Sets)
How to make your clay menorah:
Use a clean work surface when making the menorah. Roll the self-hardening polymer clay into a cylinder which is about one inch in diameter. Make the roll as long as you can and then mark off ten lengths of about 1 1/2 inch each. Cut eight of the lengths off and leave the remaining two lengths together to make the Shamash. Re-roll the cylinders if they flattened out while cutting them.
Push one of the Hanukkah candles into one end of each cylinder so it will be able to hold the candle. Try to make sure each hole is created so each candle will stand about the same height. Reshape the cylinder if becomes flattened or misshapen.
Line the cylinders next to each other with the tallest cylinder in the middle. There will be four cylinders on each side of this one which is called the ‘helper’ candle or the Shamash. Brush a little bit of water on the cylinder and then gently press them together so they stick.
If you want your menorah to be taller, why not make small blocks of clay and adhere the cylinders to them? You can then brush water on the sides of the blocks to ensure they stay together.
Using other polymer clay, create decorations for your menorah. Create a very small coil and wrap it around the menorah, make a Star of David or other shapes which are customary for Hanukkah. If the clay isn’t sticking very well, use a little bit of water.
Allow the menorah to dry for several days. You can also use the directions on the clay package to bake them in the oven.
Paint the menorah using white, silver and blue paint and allow it to dry thoroughly. When you’re ready to begin lighting your candles, pick up the Shamash candle and light one candle each night starting on the left. You would light the Shamash which would then be used to light the candle all the way to the left. The next night you would use the Shamash to light the first and second candles from the left and so on until all candles are lit.
It is possible to find menorahs in many different materials. They can be metal, wood, stone or glass. They also come in all shapes and sizes. Learning how to make a clay menorah is something you can do to celebrate Hanukkah each year.