Homemade Menorah Project – an experiment in bling

I’ve come up with some terribly unsuccessful menorah making projects as a teacher. There were the self-hardening clay menorahs that crumbled almost instantly, and the Model Magic menorahs that caught on fire, to name but a few. This year I tried out salt dough. They were easy to make and they look very festive. Admittedly, the verdict is still out on whether, or how, they will self-destruct. (Who by fire, who by water…?)

I mixed a standard salt dough – one part salt to two parts flour plus enough water to hold it all together. The kindergarteners (including my daughter, Zoe) rolled them into a log, added a ball to raise the shamash, and put nine candles in to make the holes. I put them in a 200 degree oven for about two hours, but when they didn’t seem dry enough, I left them in a 100 degree oven overnight.
The next day the children painted them with acrylic paint


and for a little seasonal bling added sequins with a hot glue gun. (Ok, actually I did that part, but they picked the sequins and showed me where they wanted them to go.) 
We lit ours tonight and it neither crumbled nor caught on fire. 
menorah with bling
However, the dough has become very damp and sticky on the bottom. (Who by water?) I don’t know why, and don’t know what problems that might cause down the road. So I’m not recommending salt dough menorahs. Yet. But stay tuned.
PS, doesn’t our kitchen look nice, blue CHANUKAH lights and all?
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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted December 1, 2010 at 9:20 pm

The lights! The homemade menorahs (good for a night). Love ’em!
From my friend’s status update on FB: “I like the Hanukah message from Teaching Tolerance: ‘Happy Hanukkah! Tonight begins the eight-day festival of lights. This is a time to reflect on all events that happen against the odds. Some call them miracles.'”
I like the idea of events that happen against the odds. I used it with Saskia tonight to explain the eight nights/candles. (And obviously, because she’s very wise, she got it entirely).

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Jennifer in MamaLand

posted December 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Guess it’s too late for us to make a clay menorah this year. Just wanted to comment that we have the same store-bought kiddie menorah with the lined-up shoes. We just opened it for the first time this year – my 3-year-old adores it!!!
Enjoy the last 2 days!

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Upstate NY Jewish Family

posted April 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

Just came across this blog. Interesting.
Our family has gone through the “spice it up” holiday time debate as well.
We do some unique, and some not unique, spice-ups. We too have chosen to use the blue lights to “enhance” our hanukkah display. Ironic, isn’t it, that the original “festival of lights” needs to ask permission about using extra lights.

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