Hanukkah is one of my favorite holidays. It's hard not to like donuts and fried potatoes. But what I really love is the candle light that fills our house during this Festival of Lights.
 
Light is a powerful symbol that can represent hope, spirit, enlightenment, strength, warmth, beginning, vitality, vision, and kindness. Those are all great things to bring into your home, so in our house we actually light several menorahs. This year, my daughters and I have been playing around with plaster and molds, making very simple menorahs that can decorate your table or be a beautiful gift.

You will need:

Plaster of Paris (can be purchased in any hardware or craft store)
Water
A mixing bowl
A short stirring stick
A bag of tea light candles
9 paper cups
Felt
Scissors
A marker
White glue
Optional:
Liquid watercolor paint or food coloring
Glitter or sparkles
Ribbon
Varnish

Instructions:

You’ll be making nine individual candle-holders which you and your kids can arrange in any way you like for each of the eight nights.

1. Place the tea light upside down in the base of the paper cup (which will be your mold). Prepare all nine tea lights in their molds before moving on to step 2.

2. Get ready to mix your plaster. (If you want to add some color, mix a little bit of liquid watercolor paint or food coloring into the water before adding it to the plaster). Mix the plaster with water until you achieve a cream-like consistency (you need to be able to pour it into the paper-cup molds). 

3.  Pour plaster into the paper cups and gently tap the mold to even out the surface. Be sure that your shamash (helper) candle mold has more plaster than the others (so that it is higher).

4. Let it sit for about half an hour until it hardens.

5. Remove the cups from your mold—simply tear them off.

6. Clean excess plaster from the candle; you can use a dull knife or sand-paper.

7. Turn the molds over and trace the base of the candle holder onto felt, cut it out and glue it to the base. This will give a more finished look to the menorah as well as protect your table. 

8. Once the candle burns, just replace it with another candle. The metal holder will stay embedded within the plaster so you can just replace the candle.

9. Enjoy! Arrange the candles as you’d like for each night of Hanukkah to make an interactive menorah.
 

Variations:

•    Paint the candle holders after they’ve set in their molds.
•    Tie bows around the candle holders.
•    Apply a layer of varnish for some shimmer.
•    Sprinkle sparkles or beads to the base of the mold before pouring the plaster (or glue some glitter onto the finished molds).

Happy Hanukkah!

 

Tali Buchler

Tali is a trained architect, artist, and mother of three who recently moved from Los Angeles to Israel. She blogs at www.matzoballsoup.com and www.growingupcreative.com .