Make Your Own Easy Hanukkah (Chanukah) Decorations

Updated on May 19, 2016
Raffia "latkes" look great served up on a platter.
Raffia "latkes" look great served up on a platter. | Source

"Oh, no! Honey, what did you do with the Hanukkah decorations?"

"What do you mean? I thought YOU knew where they were!"

Does this sound familiar?

One of the great things about the these projects is that you can make them from items you probably already have around the home. And if you have little kids, so much the better. You'll likely be finished with these easy Hanukkah decorations by the time it takes your significant other to find your great-grandmother's menorah.

Do you prefer to make your Hanukkah decorations, or buy them?

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Why Make Your Own Decorations?

There are lots of reasons why families would be tempted to make their own decorations:

  • they show their children's handiwork as they grow
  • they are great for posterity
  • it's a gratifying way to bond with your kids
  • they are inexpensive
  • they are your own designs
  • and most of all, it's fun!

So let's get to decorating!

"Latkes on a Plate" Hanukkah Decoration

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bundle your raffia strands in piles, then secure with glue.Once dry, snip into rounded shapes (optional). Serve on a plate, or cut out a "griddle" from construction paper and hang on the wall. Attach to a mobile for a flying latke feast for the eyes.
Bundle your raffia strands in piles, then secure with glue.
Bundle your raffia strands in piles, then secure with glue. | Source
Once dry, snip into rounded shapes (optional).
Once dry, snip into rounded shapes (optional). | Source
Serve on a plate, or cut out a "griddle" from construction paper and hang on the wall. Attach to a mobile for a flying latke feast for the eyes.
Serve on a plate, or cut out a "griddle" from construction paper and hang on the wall. Attach to a mobile for a flying latke feast for the eyes. | Source

Substitutions

For the Latkes

  • Brown or tan corrugated paper crimps
  • Strips of natural raffia
  • Shred your own strips by running construction paper through a shredder

For the Plate

  • Decorate the edges of a plastic, paper, or glass plate with Sharpie markers
  • A "fancy" or "metallic" plate will prettify your home
  • Fashion a wire hanger into a mobile and hang the latkes from that

One of the easiest and most charming decorations is to make "latkes".

Raid your craft closet for natural raffia strips, then cut them into three- or four-inch lengths. Place them in little piles so they resemble latkes. Use Mod Podge or white glue to stick them together (don't worry about lumpy latkes... you want them to look natural). Allow to dry, and serve them up on a silver platter!

Place them on a plate (I used a "fancy silver charger" from my local dollar store), but you could also attach them to a paper plate or fashion a "frying pan" or " griddle" from black construction paper and hang on the wall, or even make a "latke mobile" that will sway in the breeze.

For more ideas, see the substitutions to the right. Bon app├ętit!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A completed Maccabee Helmet, complete with a fierce lion on the front.Be sure to choose the right bucket for your helmet.Carefully cut out eye holes, then file with sandpaper or cover sharp edges with duct tape.The author wearing her helmet, looking ever so slightly like Bender from Futurama.
A completed Maccabee Helmet, complete with a fierce lion on the front.
A completed Maccabee Helmet, complete with a fierce lion on the front. | Source
Be sure to choose the right bucket for your helmet.
Be sure to choose the right bucket for your helmet. | Source
Carefully cut out eye holes, then file with sandpaper or cover sharp edges with duct tape.
Carefully cut out eye holes, then file with sandpaper or cover sharp edges with duct tape. | Source
The author wearing her helmet, looking ever so slightly like Bender from Futurama.
The author wearing her helmet, looking ever so slightly like Bender from Futurama. | Source

Maccabee Helmet Hanukkah Decoration

For this project, you will need one blue or white bucket per person, a pair of scissors or a craft knife, duct tape or a piece of sandpaper, and markers. (Mod Podge or glue and magazines or scrapped books can also serve as decoration inspiration, but are not necessary.)

This is a fun little project for the Maccabees among us. Who doesn't need a Hanukkah helmet?

I bought a blue sand bucket with handle at my local dollar store (of course!), thinking the handle could be utilized as a chin strap. I measured where my eyes and nose would be, and cut a hole large enough for me to see out of clearly. Alternatively, you could leave a strip to protect the nose, but it really depends on the size of the bucket. If you plan to make this with your children, consider their head sizes when you buy your buckets.

File down the cut edges with sandpaper, or snip silver duct tape to fit over the cut edges, so no one gets scratched. Write or draw something meaningful on the helmet, like "Maccabee", a lion, or just an interesting design... whatever floats your boat.

If you have a little more time or want to keep the kids occupied, have them search online or through old magazines for images of lions or metallic designs they would like to decorate their helmets with. And why not start a new tradition and wear your helmets for the lighting of the Hanukkah candles?

Hanukkah Banner Decoration

However you choose to spell Chanukah on your banner is fine!
However you choose to spell Chanukah on your banner is fine! | Source
The author's Chanukah/Hanukkah banner lit by festive glowing candles.
The author's Chanukah/Hanukkah banner lit by festive glowing candles. | Source

The best thing about this "banner" is that it's very useful for apartments or living quarters that don't have a lot of wall space. You can hang it vertically or horizontally, whatever your space requires... because it's all separate!

Gather blue and white patterned scrapbook paper (individual sheets run from about $.89 each sheet and up) or specialty paper scraps (yes, craft stores do sell scraps!) and procure several sheets of punch-out letters. Cut up the scrapbook sheets into various sizes (3"x5", 4"x6", etc.), then poke out the letters and attach to the paper scraps with glue or Mod Podge. Allow to dry, then add tape to the back and stick them wherever your heart desires, or add a a string and hang them from the ceiling for a banner that floats.

Substitutions

For the Letters

  • Cut letters out of foam sheets or fabric
  • Dried beans, pasta, or colored rice (affix with glue or Mod Podge)
  • Apply stickers

For the Paper

  • Construction paper cut into rectangles or other interesting shapes
  • Foam core
  • Oaktag, cardboard, or card stock

Dreidel (Dreydel) Box Hanukkah Decoration

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A dreidel box will come in handy. Decorate this one with white and colored rice.Cut out the Hebrew letters...... and affix to the box. Make sure you keep the cover on in order to center the letter properly. Use glue or Mod Podge to attach to the box.It's sticky!Heavily coat the letter with more glue...... then dip into your colored rice.Use a big enough bowl. This bowl is much too small.Clean up the edges and then either leave as is, or fill in the rest of the side with white rice using the same technique.
A dreidel box will come in handy. Decorate this one with white and colored rice.
A dreidel box will come in handy. Decorate this one with white and colored rice. | Source
Cut out the Hebrew letters...
Cut out the Hebrew letters... | Source
... and affix to the box. Make sure you keep the cover on in order to center the letter properly.
... and affix to the box. Make sure you keep the cover on in order to center the letter properly. | Source
Use glue or Mod Podge to attach to the box.
Use glue or Mod Podge to attach to the box. | Source
It's sticky!
It's sticky! | Source
Heavily coat the letter with more glue...
Heavily coat the letter with more glue... | Source
... then dip into your colored rice.
... then dip into your colored rice. | Source
Use a big enough bowl. This bowl is much too small.
Use a big enough bowl. This bowl is much too small. | Source
Clean up the edges and then either leave as is, or fill in the rest of the side with white rice using the same technique.
Clean up the edges and then either leave as is, or fill in the rest of the side with white rice using the same technique. | Source

Making Colored Rice for Art and Craft Projects

Food coloring provides colorful, vibrant rice with no drying time, so you can use it immediately!
Food coloring provides colorful, vibrant rice with no drying time, so you can use it immediately! | Source

This project has more steps than the other projects, but it's very pretty and a fun craft for little kids. How much trouble could they get into with rice and water-soluble glue? (Although I do suggest doing this one in the kitchen.)

You will need a small, four-sided box, white rice and colored rice, glue or Mod Podge, and a printout of the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hay, and shin... standing for "neis gadol ha'ya sham" ("a great miracle happened there" and what is printed on the sides of dreidels).

Cut out the letters and affix them to the sides of your box. Then heavily "paint" your glue medium over the letter itself, following the shape of the letter. Press or sprinkle your colored rice over the glue. Allow to dry, then "paint" the rest of the box sides with glue and white rice.

Or, bypass the "cutting and gluing the letters" steps and simply brush glue or Mod Podge directly onto your box in the shape of the letters. This would work wonderfully with colored sugar as well.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, teaches! Some of the store-bought items really are super cute, but I guess I'm old-school in my decorating ways. ;^)

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        I love all the Hanukkah decorations that are now available in stores. Thanks for the information and background on these craft items. Very nicely done.

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, CC! I can't imagine why I never made decorations like these before. So the video's not too silly? Ha! ;^)

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks so much, Daisy and Happy Hanukkah back to you! I had a great time putting together these little projects and I'm so glad you liked it. :^)

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 years ago from Western NC

        This is a beautiful hub!! Well-done on the video and with your decorations. Happy Hanukkah.

      • Daisy Mariposa profile image

        Daisy Mariposa 

        5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

        Rachel,

        Happy Hanukkah! Your article bring back lots of pleasant memories for me. Thanks for publishing it.

      • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel Vega 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, Brainy Bunny! These projects are lots of fun, and all the items can be really found at a discount or dollar store.

        Happy Chanukah back atcha! :-)

      • Brainy Bunny profile image

        Brainy Bunny 

        5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

        Oh, clevercat, you make me lol! I have never thought of making raffia latkes before, and that helmet is too much! My kids totally want Maccabee helmets now, too. Happy Chanukah!

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