DIY: Cardboard Box Menorah

Living in Jordan over Hanukkah this year meant that finding a menorah for the approaching holiday was no easy task. So I decided to make my own using some things from around the house and a few inexpensive items from the local art supply shop. This is a great activity for children and adults alike and leaves a lot of room for creative inspiration!

What you need:

1 cardboard box

1 x-acto knife

4 sheets of sturdy white paper

1 set of watercolors or other paints

1 role of packing tape

1 glue stick

1 box of Hanukkah (or i my case birthday) candles

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Step 1:

Pick one side of the box for your design (this will form the 9 branches of the menorah)

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Step 2: 

Carve out your pieces (Be careful! This is a good part of the activity for an adult to do).

A handy thing about cardboard is that you can create a layered effect. I opted to take off the outer layer for the circles.

menorah3

 

Step 3:

Choose your colors and start painting! Blue and white are common colors in the Jewish tradition so I opted for these. If you’re using watercolors, you’ll need several layers (I’d recommend acrylic paint as I ended up doing 4 layers for the white paint and 3 for the blue which got a little tedious).

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Step 4: 

Cut out your “candles.” You’ll need 9 of them – one for each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah and 1 to serve as the Shamus candle, which occupies the highest place on the menorah and is lit every night.

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Steps 5 & 6:

Cut out the branches of the menorah in the shape of your choosing.

Paint your candles! I chose to do warm, bright, fire-y colors.

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Step 7:

Get a sense of the layout you want. I played around with a few designs, but ultimately settled on this one:

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Step 8:

Design, cut out, and paint the base of your menorah from the remaining cardboard. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, just something from which to display the branches. (See mine below)

Step 9:

Design your background. I wanted to be consistent with the colors of my branches, but also wanted the background to be a little softer. I used several shades of blue to get a blended effect on the white paper.

menorah9

 

Step 10:

Assemble! Using the packing tape, tape the seams of your 4 sheets of paper together (on the back side). I added a few diagonal strips of tape along the back for extra support.

Flip your background back over and glue your menorah down.

Find a prime location and tape or pin it to the wall.

menorah12

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Step 11 (optional): 

Your cardboard candles can be glued down one night at a time over the 8 nights of Hanukkah to serve as the lighting of the menorah. Or you can do as I did and create a simple cardboard base (two rectangular pieces of cardboard glued together and painted blue) and glue the candles into that using super glue. Be aware: turns out this is kind of a fire hazard so if you opt for this, keep a close eye on it until the candles go out. 

Step 12:

Enjoy the lights of Hanukkah!!!

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