When I say “kid-friendly, DIY menorah,” do you think of the spray-painted dried pasta and candles? Or was that just my childhood?

These days do-it-yourself menorah ideas abound on Pinterest, from the inedible Legos, soda bottles and toilet-paper rolls to those based in food products, like dried pasta, potatoes and even cupcakes. The sky’s the limit!

But the problem with most of these menorahs is that they aren’t actually usable. Would you really let your preschooler light their Legos on fire? Or worse, dried pasta? And let’s not even think about the toilet-paper rolls, since I assume we all know it’s just for decoration.

So when I taught a kindergarten and first grade religious school class at Congregation Kehillath Israel last year, I set out to find a better DIY menorah. I had three criteria:

  1. It had to be easy to make, i.e. little hands could handle the project and it could be finished within the time-frame of a 5-year-old’s attention span.
  2. It had to be aesthetically pleasing, i.e. perhaps, if you squinted, you might actually miss the fact that it was DIY.
  3. It had to be usable, i.e. it wouldn’t burn down when the candles melted low.

So here’s what I came up with!

SUPPLIES:

And that’s it! It’s super easy and highly rewarding.

You can use short or long tiles depending on the look of the finished product you want. And you can put them in any order, with any colors—whatever suits your fancy!

I happened to experiment with different adhesives. When I did the project with the kiddos, we used mosaic glue. It worked well, but, as you can see, shows through when kids use too much (which they tend to do).

The upside to using mosaic glue is that kids can do it themselves. The downside, of course, is that it’s messier. Both super glue and a glue gun require more hands-on help from adults.

If you’re going to use the bells as candle-holders, I highly recommend hot-glue-gunning them. The glue adds a little extra body, which surrounds the bottom of the bell and helps it steadily adhere.

If you’re going to use hex nuts as candle-holders, my recommendation is to use super glue; dab it on the corners of the bolt, like this:

And now the finished products!

Want to try it? Share your stories and pictures in the comments below!