Popsicle Stick Menorah

Overview:

Celebrating the Festival of Lights is even more fun when you have your own handmade, personalized menorah! After creating the basic structure, children are free to decorate their menorahs any way they want. Simple birthday candles make these menorahs fully functional, making the nightly ritual even more special.

Description:
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with your own homemade menorah!
You Will Need:
  1. Large popsicle stick or tongue depressor
  2. Hot glue (requires adult supervision)
  3. 9 craft spools
  4. 9 metal hex nuts, 1/4" size (very important)
  5. 9 birthday cake candles
  6. Something for a base: a wooden block or another larger spool
  7. Decor items: ribbon, beads, rhinestones, etc. (optional)
Supervision:
1 adult per 5 children
Difficulty:
Use your noodle! (challenging; focus required)
Age:
School-age, Tween, Teen
Mess Factor:
Dustpan, please
Prep Time:
5 - 10 minutes
Activity Length:
15 - 30 minutes
Step 1:
First, you'll hot glue the base to the center of the large popsicle stick. Glue the top of your base (we're using a large craft spool) to the underside of your stick. Remember, adults should be the ones to use the hot glue gun!
Step 2:
Allow your glue to set, then flip your menorah over.
Step 3:
Starting from the center, hot glue the spools on the top of the popsicle stick to act as candle holders. Your shamash will be in the center, with four additional spools on either side. If you wish, you can use a slightly larger spool for your shamash.
Step 4:
When you're done, your menorah-in-progress should look like this. Allow the glue to set.
Step 5:
Hot glue one hex nut to the top of each spool, taking care not to fill the hole in the center with hot glue. Please note that it is important to use the hex nuts; not only do they serve as the perfect candle base for a small birthday candle, but they create a metal barrier between the candle and the wooden base. You never want candles to come into direct contact with anything flammable.
Step 6:
When your hot glue is set, you can see how well the birthday cake candles fit!
Step 7:
Now you're free to decorate your menorah! You can color it with markers, paint it, hot glue other decorations to it -- whatever you want!
Step 8:
Each night of Hanukkah, light your candles and enjoy your wonderful, personalized menorah! If you wish to use your menorah each night of Hanukkah, you will need a total of 45 birthday candles.
Video:
Tips:

1. If you're making your menorahs at an event, be sure to provide candles to your guests so that they can use their menorah as soon as they get home! Here, we've packaged them in a cellophane bag with a paper label. You will need 45 candles to cover each night of Hanukkah.
2. Any time there's flame, an adult should supervise any children. Never leave flames unattended -- always make sure that the candles have burned themselves out or been put out before leaving it unattended.
3. If you can't find super-sized popsicle sticks you can use 3 regular ones. Use one stick as the base, and glue the other two sticks end to end on top of the first stick -- it will double their length.
4. Let kids get creative in their designs! As long as you have a very solid and strong base, kids can make their menorah in levels and layers. The candles don't all have to appear in a straight line, just make sure your base is solid.

Variations:

Here are a few decorated menorahs that I've decorated!
Remember, your candle holder can also be adjusted to work for Kwanzaa (use 7 candles) or Christmas (use 12 candles for the 12 days of Christmas) or any other festival of light that uses a candleabra.

Materials List:
  1. Large popsicle stick or tongue depressor
  2. Hot glue (requires adult supervision)
  3. 9 craft spools
  4. 9 metal hex nuts, 1/4" size (very important)
  5. 9 birthday cake candles
  6. Something for a base: a wooden block or another larger spool
  7. Decor items: ribbon, beads, rhinestones, etc. (optional)