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Today I’m sharing how to make an easy DIY menorah that are easy enough for even toddlers and preschool children to make. These menorahs are made with air-dry clay, so no baking is necessary.How to make clay menorahs in preschool | TinkerLab

Supplies – Clay DIY Menorah

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  • Air Dry Clay
  • Small bowl of water
  • Clay tools such as popsicle sticks, rolling pins, and cookie cutters
  • Acrylic paints for painting the surface. Liquitex is a solid brand.
  • Mod Podge or acrylic clear coat to seal it with a shiny coating

A note on clay: Crayola Air Dry Clay feels just like the clay you throw pots on, and my kids were enthralled by the texture. So unlike play dough, and it has the potential to make long-lasting objects.

Steps

  1. Cover your work surface with a vinyl tablecloth or work on a non-precious surface that easily wipes clean.
  2. If you’re making a Hanukkiah (it holds nine candles, rather than seven), talk about the story of Chanukah and how the Chanukah menorah has eight candles + 1, the shamash, to represent the miracle that oil burned continuously for eight days. I like this kid-friendly version of the Hanukkah Story.
  3. Set up clay, water, and clay tools.
  4. Invite your child/ren to make menorahs. Encourage creativity and original thinking.

How we made our DIY Menorahs

air dry clay menorah with kids

  1. We looked at a metal Hanukkiah for inspiration, and talked about its shape and function.
  2. We rolled out some clay and I invited my preschool daughter to poke holes in it with a menorah candle. Menorahs hold nine candles, eight for the eight nights of Hanukkah, and a ninth called the shamash (meaning “attendant”) that lights the other candles.

air dry clay menorah with toddler

My toddler joined the fun, too! She’s been copying everything her sister does, and after seeing this magic, I wished I had given her a bigger piece of clay to play with.

air dry clay menorah with kids

3. To make room for the shamash, we decided to build a little mound by making a ball of clay, scoring both sides of where it would connect with hatch marks, and then pressing the pieces together.

air dry clay menorah with kids

4. We used a little water and a popsicle stick to smooth out the edges. I read that if there are cracks in this clay it can fall apart once dry, so we were sure to smooth all those cracks right out with water.

air dry clay menorah with kids

air dry clay menorah with kids

5. N decided to use a wooden stick to poke a pattern of holes all over the menorah.

air dry clay menorah with kids

6. She added a hole for the shamash.

air dry clay menorah with kids

My little one was happy to play with a small pot of water and the goopy clay.

We’re enjoying the season, and I think we’ll make salt dough ornaments tomorrow!

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20 Comments

  1. At our house, we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, so it is really nice to see a Hanukkah craft! I had not thought about making a menorah, so thanks for the great idea! Not sure if I want to fight the crowds to buy some clay, so maybe I will try the salt dough. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • I had the same salt dough idea. 🙂 Just this morning I asked N if she wanted to make a salt dough menorah and she said “no.” I think she’s had enough. I’d love to hear how it goes.

          • Ooooh, and it looks like you used marbleized play dough. So pretty. I never would have thought about play dough burning, but of course it would with all the oil in it…a Hanukkah miracle! 🙂

        • Word of caution – if you light the candles on your play doh menorah, blow them out before they get too low – play doh burns! LOL!

  2. What teacher supply store was it? We have a good one here in San Carlos, but I’m always looking for more resources for our homeschool adventures

    • I think that’s the same one, Anne! Morrisons. I’ve never been and it was *dangerous* walking through the aisles with my kids. My 3 year old wanted everything, and my 15 month old was thrilled to wander around and pull things off the shelves. Oh, and after spending $$, we finally headed home! My local favorites are RAFT and now Morrisons. Where do you shop?

      • Yep, Morrison’s is the one. 🙂 The staff is so nice there, even when my 12 month old is crawling around, dragging things off the shelves. I also love University Art for good quality paper and supplies.

  3. Now that there aren’t any little ones at home, we try to get as many friends and family as possible (even little ones) to help deliver food baskets and gifts to needy families through our local police & fire departments.  It’s a good lesson for all of us and the kids’ eyes (both those helping and those receiving) is a sight to behold.  BTW, I enjoyed the Hanukkah menorah craft.  It would make for a wonderful teaching moment — for all of us.  Thanks.

    • Lucy, this is a great tradition! Before kids I volunteered at a food kitchen, and it really helped me understand just how much I have. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Love crayola air dry clay….it is so similar to “real clay” . As an art teacher, I would use it for kids that missed clay lessons. BTW , love the bowl with the red splotches!

    • You’re such a good teacher to have an alternative clay for those lucky kids! I like the splotchy red bowl too, a gift from my tasteful MIL.

    • Oh no! This will give you enough clay to make at least four menorahs 😉 It’s a great value, though, and I like having extra clay for other projects throughout the year.

  5. What happens when the clay menorah cracks in half? Cam you use combustible super glue to put it back together or will that cause a fire when the menorah is lit?

    • Hi Wendy,
      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that your menorah cracked 🙁 I haven’t tested this solution, so I can’t say for certain if that will work. The great thing about air dry clay is that you can revive dry clay with water. My best advice is to make a slurry of clay (mix water into clay and turn it into a paste), and then use this to attach the pieces back together. Happy Chanukah!
      Rachelle

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