Welcome to Day 1 of my Handmade Hanukkah series! I'm so excited about today's project which is a simple, but dramatic DIY menorah made from repurposed crystal salt shakers. (My daughter's response at seeing this was..."Nice Chande-norah!" With all this crystal, it does look like a bit like a chandelier.)
The menorah, as you may know, is truly the focal point of any Hanukkah celebration. Traditionally, a Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukiah, is a nine-branched candelabrum, but menorahs come in all shapes and sizes and range from traditional to modern. Making a special one for your celebration is fun and adds a personal touch.
I was inspired to make this menorah last year, while working on another salt shaker project which I'll share later this month. I find these little shakers at thrift stores all the time...usually for $2-$3 each...sometimes less. You may even have a stash of them already hiding in your china cabinet.
To make one, gather up nine salt shakers that you want to use for your menorah. If the shakers are dirty when you find them, use some denture cleaner tablets to break up the grime and restore their sparkle. (I used the cheapest store brand I could find.) Soak the shakers in hot water first to loosen up the dirt. Then add your cleaner. (Just break up a tablet and drop the pieces into the shakers.) Pour water in, swirl it around and then let them fizz up and do their thing. (Any oxygen laundry cleaner works for this too.) When you are happy with your results, rinse out your shakers and let them dry. They are ready to go!
To set up your menorah, arrange your shakers on a tray or windowsill. I'm using a vintage mirrored tray that I've had for a while. I find these in the thrift store all the time too...ususally priced at about $5-6. I love how the mirror and the gold filigree reflects the light. Any tray would work though. I've even used cutting boards under my menorahs. You just want something that can catch wax, should there be any drips. You can arrange your shakers in a line or a V or try some curves...just have fun and play around until you find an arrangement you like.
All of my shakers have narrow necks that hold standard sized Hanukkah candles perfectly. If you get a shaker with a slightly smaller opening, just carve the bottom of your candle a bit to get it to fit. Shakers with larger openings may need bigger candles or might not be appropriate for this project.
A NOTE ABOUT CANDLES: I'm using beeswax candles from Seattle candlemakers, Big Dipper Waxworks. I love love love beeswax candles for many reasons. One, they smell lovely and burn slowly. Two, buying them supports our beekeepers, who in turn help to boost our declining bee population. And three, burning beeswax actually helps to purify the air, as opposed to polluting it, which is what regular petroleum-based paraffin candles do. (If you are interested in bees and beeswax, you can find out more in this post, Honey, I Do! Sweet Ideas for Earth Friendly Weddings.)
So, what do you think? Let's kick it up a notch...add a drop of food coloring to each shaker and top off with water. The effect is totally different and is a great option if you can't get your shakers really clean. Use whatever colors you like and have fun with it!
So, how easy was that? Which way do you like better? Clear or with colored water? I'm dying to try these with olive oil and a wick to see how they work as tiny oil lamps. I'll keep you posted on how that goes and will try to get some good pics of this lit up at night. I would love to see your versions if you decide to try this. Please feel free to leave your feedback and and links in the comments below or post some photos on my Facebook page. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll come back tomorrow for my mom's amazing 3-ingredient brisket recipe. XOXO, Cindi