Chanukah has always been my favorite Jewish holiday, the one that I missed the most when living far from my family. I am so excited to be with family this year, and to celebrate, I made this upcycled Chanukah Menorah.
Chanukah, for those of you who are wondering, is the original Hebrew word for Hanukkah. The word Hanukkah is simply an anglicized version, and possibly more pronounceable for most.
For those that observe Chanukah, lighting the Menorah is often an intimate family time. Since we are supposed to watch the candles burn for half an hour, that’s when family dinners happen. In my house growing up, we’d all sing Chanukah songs together.
Since the Menorah lighting time was so special to me, I decided to make a beautiful, to make this tradition even more special. I still had some empty baby food jars lying around, so I decided to use those.
The Menorah is normally lit by the window for everyone to see (make sure all window shades are secured). One candle is added each night of Chanukah, starting with the right one, and adding another on the left each night. the center candle is an additional candle that’s lit every night, as a “helper”. It should be easy to differentiate from the rest, by making it noticeably higher or lower. The candles are lit from left to right. This Menorah makes a great centerpiece for a Chanukah party as well.
Making the Upcycled Chanukah Menorah
If you don’t have baby food jars, you can use any small jar. You can make it on a larger scale using pasta sauce jars, or ask a friend with a baby to save you some. The baby food size containers are a perfect fit for the tea lights.
The water in the jars causes it to cast a beautiful blue light on the walls, and everywhere. It offers a translucent effect that is simply stunning. The matte silver finish lends it a soft wintry elegance and makes it a bit more sophisticated.
This upcycled Chanukah Menorah remains in separate pieces and is therefore easy to store from year to year. Store it upright (the seal isn’t perfect and so water can leak) in a cardboard box. You can store it in a beer case, or the cardboard box from a set of glasses that tends to be compartmentalized so that it lasts better.
What You Need for the Upcycled Chanukah Menorah
- 10 4 oz. baby food jars + 9 lids, cleaned and dried.
- Blue food coloring (I used Betty Crocker Food Color Gel)
- E-6000 glue
- Silver spray paint (I used Plutonium in 2nd Place)
- Tea lights (9 or a total of 44 for all of Hanukkah)
- A spoon for stirring
How to Make the Upcycled Hanukkah Menorah
- Start by spray painting all your lids silver, making sure the insides and the outer rims are completely covered.
- Arrange eight of the jars upside down on your painting surface. Spray the paint from the bottom up, so that it is completely covered on the bottom, with a subtle shimmer going upward.
- Spray paint the last two jars completely silver. These will make up your “Shamash” helper candle.
- Place a few drops of food coloring inside your jar (depending on the brand, and how deep you want the color to be. Cover with water.
- I used gel food color and found that it mixed best after sitting for a few minutes. Mix it so that the color is evenly distributed. You can already see the blue glow that it casts.
- Apply glue around the rim of the jar. E-6000 is great for securing non-porous items such as glass and metal and is great for this project.
- Secure the lids upside down on the baby food jar. Allow to dry 24 hours before relying on it to stay (you can move them around and even use your Menorah, as it will hold in place, but it will not be secure enough to lift by the lid).
- Apply glue around the rims of your silver jars.
- Stack ’em up! Place the one jar on top of the other upright. Place the last lid on top of the top jar upside down. It should look like this (don’t worry about the glue drips – they won’t show up much in your final Menorah):
- Arrange your upcycled Chanukah Menorah like this:
I did it on a curve simply because it went with the shape of the table. The candles must be easily discernible from each other when it’s lit, so in the case where it’s spaced very far apart, like this, it’s okay to have a slight curve.
Light it up, and celebrate the Festival of Lights! Happy Chanukah!
And of course, make sure to pin the image above by hovering over it and clicking on the Pinterest icon!
Disclaimer: The links to the supplies for this craft are Amazon affiliate links.