The menorah is an important symbol throughout the eight-day observance of Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights in the Jewish religion. This centuries-long symbol has evolved; you can make one without effort or expense. There are many ways to make your own Hanukkah menorah by adding your unique style and personality.
What Is a Hanukkah Menorah?
In Judaism, there are two types of menorahs or candelabra—seven-branched and nine-branched. The nine-branched Hanukkah menorah, or hanukkiah, is used to celebrate the victory of the Jewish Maccabees over oppression and the miraculous light that stayed lit for eight days on a day's worth of oil.
Before You Begin
To be kosher or proper according to Jewish custom, a taller candle is used for the shamash or "helper" candle in the middle of the menorah, or you can make the shamash lower than all the other candles. This helper candle is used to light the rest of the menorah.
A do-it-yourself menorah is a good option if you need a kid-friendly candelabra (minus the flames), live in a dormitory where candles are prohibited, or want a more modern look. These DIY menorahs are simple to make, and the process of creating one is a great way to honor the miracle of Hanukkah.
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This elegant contemporary menorah lined up on a fireplace mantel is a DIY menorah that makes a beautiful focal point. It utilizes inexpensive pillar candles, and candle holders found at a dollar store. Notice the candle holder in the middle is taller than all the rest.
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An olive oil menorah is preferred to one that uses candles since the miracle of Hanukkah happened when one day's worth of olive oil lasted for eight days. Other good reasons to use olive oil: the light from olive oil is pure and clear, and the oil draws easily up the wick. This simple yet beautiful menorah utilizes upcycled jars, bottles, and a tray.
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These tiny salt and pepper shakers are filled with light-blue-colored sand, which weighs down and anchors the candles. The color blue is associated with Hanukkah likely because of the "tallit" or Jewish prayer shawls that traditionally have blue stripes historically made from the blue ink of sea snails, according to holy texts.
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This colorful and kid-friendly menorah is crafted with painted wooden spools, small dowels (or colored pencils) for candles, and pencil erasers for flames. Small children will love "lighting" the candles of this DIY menorah. This decorative menorah is a beautiful way to teach the wonder of Hanukkah. This playful menorah will supplement the traditional candle or oil-fueled menorah displayed in the home and lit as a family for eight nights during the season.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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You only need a short trip to the hardware store to make a beautiful, streamlined menorah. Copper plumbing parts like fittings and couplings can be glued to a copper bar or sheet platform to make a simple, contemporary statement. Each candle part varies from 50 cents to $5, so remember to multiply that by nine.
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While at the hardware store, swing by the nuts and bolts aisle. This menorah was constructed by hot gluing hex nuts and washers to a pre-made box. The box is handy for storing matches and candle supplies. This design proves you can make a menorah (provided you already have the box) within a few hours.
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The clean lines of this pretty menorah are simple to recreate, although you might need 44 votive candles to span the eight nights of Hanukkah. The DIY project utilizes scrap wood painted silver drilled with a spade bit to fit a row of straight-sided votive candles. To be kosher, drill the hole for the shamash candle more shallowly than the others.