Homemade clay Hanukiah with houses
I already suggested some ideas for making a Hanukkah Menorah. Those all were old ones, but this hanukiah with houses was made this year. To be honest, we had lots of new wonderful hanukiah ideas, but most of them have been rejected because of technical difficulties: we just didn't know how to make them :( As a result, they remained on paper in the form of notes and sketches, and we ended up building one we had enough skills for. Nevertheless, it turned out quite cute, and we're really satisfied with it.
To make this Hanukkah Menorah, you don't have to be a skilful artist, it's enough if you are able to roll out dough and attach parts to one another, as if using play-doh.
1. Prepare a paper pattern with houses, based on the size of candles and the distance between them. Cut it out.
2. Roll out the material of you choice on a cutting board or a piece of cardboard. This can be polymer clay, modelling dough or Keramikal (as in our case). The material should not be too soft, parts of the hanukiah must retain their shape.
3. Put the pattern onto the rolled material and cut out two identical pieces — the back and front walls of the hanukiah.
4. Cut also strips of equal width of about 2.5 cm (1 inch).
5. Attach the strips around one of the walls as shown in the picture, that is build a "fence" on three of its sides. Add dividers in the middle to give the construction more stiffness. You don't need to cover the bottom of the hanukiah.
6. Let the whole structure dry a bit, but not too much, since you're going to attach more parts to it. On the other hand, it's very important that the walls do not give under their own weight when you turn the hanukiah over later on.
7. Gently put the other wall onto the construction and flip everything over. To do this, I press another piece of cardboard to the top surface and flip, while holding the pieces together firmly between the two cardboard plates.
8. Attach the second wall (it should be underneath now) to the dividers and roof. This task is quite tough, especially when working on inner joints.
9. Let the houses dry a little, making sure the walls do not give way: make cardboard inserts to support them, or just use boxes of a suitable size (matchboxes, for instance), wrapped in polyethylene film.
10. Set the hanukiah up. Make candle holders by wrapping strips of the modelling clay round a candle and attach these barrels to the roof.
11. Let dry up, then fire if necessary and colour (I used acrylic paint for colouring).