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Lighting the candles on the hanukkiah or “Hanukkah menorah” is the most central (and well known) of Hanukkah rituals. The hanukkiah has nine candles, eight candles for each night of Hanukkah as well as the shamash (or helper candle). While there is a commonly recognized shape, a hanukkiah can technically be made of any non-flammable material and often come in many varied shapes and sizes. The rule of thumb is that the eight candles are the same height and on the same level, while the shamash is placed higher or off to the side.
This year I decided to make a cute and geeky hanukkiah. I had a few different ideas, but in the end I decided to use Disney Tsum Tsums. They are just so adorable I couldn’t resist. The following instructions are obviously meant specifically for the Tsum Tsum sizes and shapes, but could easily be tweaked to suit a variety items, so feel free to adapt.
- Hot glue or Epoxy (I used my favorite hot glue and glue gun)
- 1 3/4″ square dowel cut to be 11 inches long
- mine was accidentally cut to be 10” long which is why there is some slight overhang on either edge
- 9 nuts (such as a hex or k-nut) relative to the size of your candles. I used k-nuts with a 1/2” diameter.
- Tweezers (optional)
- Assorted Tsum Tsum toys
- 9 large
- 1 medium
- 9 small
- Paint – in the color of your choosing
- I used Behr Ultra in “Sorcerers Hat” in a semi-gloss finish
- Small paint brush, such as a sponge tipped brush
- Small Hanukkiah/ menorah candles
- For the paint, I used Behr Ultra because it is a paint and primer in one, which means I didn’t need to prime my dowel before painting and only needed two coats to achieve my desired finish.
- Semi-gloss or high-gloss paints are great for this project because they are a bit studier and don’t mar easily when handled. plus, the slight glossiness visually pairs well with plastic toys as opposed to a flat or satin which can clash.
- Buy your paint in a “sample” size. You wont need a lot and this prevents you having to store or waste paint in the end. It’s also much more cost effective.
- Assemble your materials
- Paint your dowel and let dry
- While your dowel is drying, I suggest arranging your tsum tsums to make sure you like the layout. Once you start glueing, it’s hard to turn back.
- Glue your large tsum tsums to the dowel in whatever order you’ve chosen
- Take the medium tsum tsum and glue it on top of the center tsum tsum. This will be the shamash.
- Glue a nut on top of each small tsum tsum (you may want to use tweezers). You will want to glue the nuts down before you attach the small tsum tsums to the whole. Make sure each nut is fairly level as they will support your candles.
- Glue your smaller tsum tsum/nut combo to the larger. It helps to set the small tsum tsum back slightly so you can clearly see each character.
- Secure a candle to each of the nuts. There are two possible ways to do this… you can either drip a small amount of wax from an extra candle onto each nut and use the hot wax to secure the candles OR you can trim the bottom of each candle so it fits inside the nut.
- I used a combination of these two methods, I used wax to secure the eight main candles and trimmed the candle used for the shamash.
- If you anchor the candles with wax instead of trimming them, consider filling each Knut with a small dollop of glue to better support the candles
Ta-da! You have just created an adorable, geeky, Disney hanukkiah! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate the season, and a fantastic new year.