My husband has Jewish heritage, so we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Usually we light the menorah with extended family, so we’ve never needed our own menorah, but this year we will be celebrating Hanukkah on our own.
I spent some time looking around online for the perfect menorah, but I couldn’t find an affordable option that I really liked! After I came up short, I started to search for some DIY options, but again, I couldn’t find any that I liked. It wasn’t until I found myself with a giant collection of baby food jars that I was inspired!
Originally I had imagined something less rustic, but I’m really glad I followed my instinct. I found this weathered piece of pallet wood out behind our apartment complex. This is what it looked like before it was white-washed.
Next, I overlapped several strips of masking tape on top of a piece of wax paper, and then cut out a Star of David template. For this step you could easily use vinyl or contact paper, this is just what I had on hand.
Once my star was cut out, I removed the wax paper from the tape and pressed the tape template to my baby food jar. You want to make sure that the tape is pressed on really well, or the etching cream will seep under the tape and ruin the design.
Using a paint brush, I applied a thick layer of glass etching cream to the design. (Note: Always use gloves when using glass etching cream. This stuff will give you a serious chemical burn if it comes in contact with skin!)
Once I applied the cream, I set the jar in a safe place (where my boys wouldn’t find it or touch it) and let it sit for about an hour. The instructions on the etching cream say it only takes 5 minutes, but after doing some research, I decided to leave it on longer to ensure a deep etch.
After the jar sat for an hour, I wash off all the etching cream with water, making sure not to touch the cream with bare hands. Then I dried the jar and removed the tape. Since I used masking tape, a little of the cream seeped through on the bottom edge, but it wasn’t bad enough to do it again. I think it just adds to its character.
Next, I glued the jars to the wood, placing the etched glass (the shamash) in the center of the 9 jars. I used hot glue, but I would recommend using something stronger, like gorilla glue. I’ve had to re-glue a couple of jars that have come loose.
To finish it off, I added small river rocks and some tea lights!
So there you have it – a stylish, yet simple DIY menorah.