Now that my oldest is five we can have lots of fun creating our own Hanukkah decorations. Which is completely necessary, by the way, because we couldn’t find satisfying Hanukkah decorations in the store even if we wanted them. (Why do retailers believe Jews only decorate in blue, white, and silver?)
My favorite by far is our giant wall menorah, which is made from felt, burlap bags from Target’s dollar section, 3M clear clips, and more felt. I hand cut the candles and numbers, and used embroidery floss to make a blanket stitch around all edges. We hang this up under our white felt banner that lives over my son’s loft the rest of the year, but he allows us to take his name letters off of it and put these letters spelling MIRACLES on it for the holiday season. (This is one of my favorite minimalist decorating hacks, by the way, using one felt banner for basically every holiday. No need to adhere the letters to the bunting, felt sticks to itself like magic. Voila!)
To make your own, you’ll need:
– Nine pieces of felt in different colors for the candles
– Three pieces of orange felt for the candle flames
– Six pieces of felt for the numbers
– Embroidery floss for stitching your candles and numbers
– A big needle for stitching, preferable with a large eye and a sharp tip to make things easier
– Nine little bags. Target’s dollar section often has these, and so does Michaels. Trader Joe’s sells gelt in pretty gold bags that would look really nice I bet.
– Hooks for hanging your bags (I use these)
To make your candles:
SEWN METHOD: Cut as straight a line as you possibly can about two inches from the short edge of your felt. Do this twice with each candle color, so you should have 18 total when you’re finished.
Pair two candle pieces and sew around the edge with a blanket stitch. I liked to make my candles different colors on each side.
Create a little hook out of the embroidery thread at the top of the back side of each candle. This is how you will hang your candles.
Cut nine flame shapes out of your orange felt and sew one to the top of each candle.
Cut you candles out as described above. You can glue them together using hot glue or fabric glue. I can’t think of a great alternative to sewing little hooks of embroidery floss to the back of each candle for hanging, but if you have an idea let me know!
To make your numbers:
SEWN METHOD: Cut out two each of the numbers one through eight from your felt. You are going to sew these together using a blanket stitch along the edge like you did with your candles.
Then, sew each number to one of your little bags. I chose to sew mine on the edge of the opening opposite from the hanging string.
NO SEW METHOD: You can always paint or draw the numbers on your bags, too. I think older children would love to paint the numbers on themselves.
To hang your wall menorah:
I start with the shamash candle first. I hang the candle from the 3M hook and use that to figure out placement on the wall. Then I hang up the #4 candle using this same method, then the #5, then #3, then #6, etc. until I have them all hung up. Is our wall menorah perfectly straight? NEVER. But that’s part of the charm.
To use your wall menorah:
This is where the fun comes in, because you get to use your menorah any way you’d like! In our house, we hang the menorah and put the candles into each bag until Hanukkah comes along, when we hang the appropriate candles up on their hooks every night. I also put a dreidel and a few pieces of chocolate gelt in the current night’s bag for my son to find. (I’m kind of regretting this dreidel tradition now that we have accumulated about 60 dreidels, but my son adores them so the tradition continues.)
What kind of homegrown Hanukkah decorations do you have in your home? Did you make a wall menorah? Please share in the comments, I love seeing how other families celebrate holidays.