DIY Hanukkah Candles

A menorah with lit candles and people's hands around it.

With Hanukkah quickly approaching, it's time to start considering plans for celebrating the event. Whether you love the food, family, or yearly traditions, there is no one custom that more greatly symbolizes the season than the lighting of the menorah. For those unfamiliar, a menorah is a large nine-branched candelabrum that holds symbolic candles, which are each lit on a special day of the event. Though these candles can be purchased online or at stores, a wonderful way to be creative this Hanukkah is to make them at home with the ones you love. There are two different ways of doing this DIY and both depend on the style and traditions of your household.

Candle Cup

A row of lit oil candles on a menorah.

Though many modern believers have menorahs that hold long pillar candles, traditionally speaking many candelabrums feature small cups in which olive oil is poured around a cotton wick. According to Jewish teachings, olive oil was used in the miracle of Hanukkah.

What You’ll Need

  • Nine wide mouth jars and glass cups
  • Kosher olive oil
  • Nine buttons
  • Cotton wicks (store-bought or made from old cloth)
  • Scissors
  • Nine silver paper clips

Step 1

To begin, cut a piece of wick to the length about a half an inch longer than the height of your jar. If it's too long, it can be trimmed in the final step.

Step 2

Weave one end of the wick through the holes of your button and place it at the bottom of your cup; this button will act as a weight to keep your wick in place when the oil is poured. Uncurl your paper clip and mold one side onto the opposite end of your cotton piece and the other around the corner of your cup to hold the wick on end.

Step 3

The last step is to simply pour olive oil into your cup and light on the special day. As mentioned, many people have a menorah they place these cups onto, but if you don't, arranging these nine cups nicely in a row on a mantle or dining room table can also do the trick.


A menorah with lit candles against a white wood backdrop.

This option is fun and easy! As many modern menorahs hold spots for tapered candles instead of the traditional oil cups described above, this activity is a great one to complement your holiday decor and a nice activity to share with your loved ones.

What You’ll Need

  • Paraffin or soy wax
  • Cotton wicks
  • Buttons
  • Scissors
  • Pot and heat source
  • Candle color or scent
  • One medium sized bin
  • One bin of comparable size to be filled with water

Step 1

Begin by placing your hardened wax into a pot and placing it over a heat source. When I did this, I placed it on a stovetop for a few minutes until it took a liquid form. Once melted, pour it into a bin (I used an old coffee can).

Step 2

Craft stores in my area offer an array of color choices and candle scents. Color specifically comes in two forms: liquid with a dropper and blocks meant to be cut and placed into melted wax. For this activity, I recommend adding color using the liquid droppers, as it is easier to decipher how much color you're adding. When your wax is fully melted, add color and stir with a spoon. Follow the same procedure while adding scent.

Step 3

Using your cotton wicks, tie buttons to one end and gently dip into the wax. With each dunk, more and more melted wax will adhere to the string. Allow time to dry between dips or even drop into a bin of cold water, which will force the wax to harden more quickly.

Step 4

Repeat this action until the candle is at the desired size. Be sure to keep the size of your menorah in mind when doing this, because if the candles are too big or too small, they won't be able to stand independently.

Step 5

Complete the craft by cutting the button off the end and light for the season.