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How to Make a Clay Hanukkah Candle Box

Store your menorah candles in this box by following these steps by Lisa Pavelka.

Here's a lovely way to store your menorah candles for the holiday. This will look much more attractive sitting next to your menorah than the cardboard packaging the candles came in! After the holiday, it's much too pretty to put away for another year. Use the box to hold other treasures throughout the year until the Festival of Lights returns once again.

Materials and Tools:

Kato Polyclay: silver, black, turquoise, pearl, gold
Ranger Perfect Pearls: sunflower sparkle, forever blue, turquoise
Posh Inkabilities: metallic teal, metallic blue
Kemper rose petal cutters
assorted Kemper teardrop cutters
Shade-Tex rubbing plates
Lisa Pavelka's hi-temp brush-on Polybonder
papier-maché box
piece of tulle
Golden acrylic paint: iridescent silver-fine
automotive protectant spray like ArmorAll
paint brush
small sea sponge
acrylic clay roller
clay blade
craft knife
needle tool
clay-dedicated pasta machine
work/baking surface (12" or 8" smooth, ceramic tile)
baby wipes

Condition all clay thoroughly before using, starting with the lightest colors first. Knead for 1 to 2 minutes or cut a block into 4 or 5 slices and run through a pasta machine on the largest setting several times until very soft and pliable.


1. Paint the outside of the box base (and the interior if you desire) with silver paint and set aside to dry. Add a second coat if needed.

2. Dampen the sea sponge and wring out any excess water. Dip the sponge into one of the metallic inks and dab over the dried and painted surface of the box base. Repeat this step using the other two inks (figure A). Set aside to dry.

3. Roll out a sheet of silver clay, large enough to cover the lid of your box, on the fourth-largest setting of the pasta machine. Attach this to the lid using the Polybonder. Quickly press out any trapped air towards the lid edges with your fingers.

4. Lay the tulle over the silver clay. Roll the acrylic rod over tulle and clay, leaving the fabric in place (figure B).

5. Starting with the darkest color, dip your fingertip into the lid of the Perfect Pearls powder. Dab your finger onto the silver clay and repeat, leaving random spots of powder on the surface of the lid. Continue by adding the next two powders in the same manner until you get a stippled effect (figure C). (Note: You may need to dip your finger into the container to add more powder to the lid. To avoid getting too much powder on the clay, do not add powders directly from the container to the clay. Tap off excess powder before applying.)

6. Lift away the tulle and trim any excess clay from around the lid edges with the clay blade.

7. Roll a black clay strip through the fifth-largest setting of the pasta machine This strip should be 1 inch wide and long enough to wrap around all four edges of the lid. Trim a straight edge along one side of this strip. Glue the strip along the lid edges (figure D). You can do this with one long piece or cut it into four sections, gluing one side at a time. If added in sections, heal the seam by blending with your fingers.

8. Rub a little automotive spray onto the lid edges with your fingers. This is a release agent. Press the rubbing plate over the black clay edges to give them texture (figure E).

9. To form the points of the star, roll out sheets of black, pearl, turquoise, and gold clays on the sixth-largest setting of the pasta machine. Punch out teardrop shapes with four graduated sizes of the rose and clay cutters. You can make each size petal all one color or alternate the color with the different-sized teardrops. For this project, Lisa made all the points of the star the same color: largest is black, second to largest is pearl, second to smallest is turquoise and smallest is gold. You'll need a total of 24 teardrops--six of each size.

10. Stack four teardrops-smallest to largest- over each other. The rounded bottom of each teardrop should be aligned over one another. Roll the rounded bottom edges of each teardrop stack inward until they are pinched at the base (figure F).

11. Roll a 1/2-inch-diameter ball of clay from any of the project's colors. Glue the ball to the center of the lid with Polybonder and slightly flatten with your finger. Glue the pinched ends of the six pinched stacks over the edge of the center ball of clay (figure G). Be sure to space them evenly to form a six-pointed star with the tips facing outward.

12. Roll six small and six teeny balls of clay using two of the project colors of your choice (figure H).

13. Glue these balls, small over large, at the tip of each teardrop stack (figure I). Slightly flatten with fingertip.

14. Roll a 1/2-inch ball of clay and glue to the center of the teardrop star. Add one or two smaller balls over this ball using two more colors desired. (Optional: Roll a 1-inch ball of clay into a teardrop cone and glue to the center of the star to form a handle.)

15. Create four more teardrop stacks using three of the smaller graduated cutters using three colors of your choice. Glue these at each corner of the lid with the tips pointed inward (figure J).

16. For the candles, roll a 16" x 1/8" snake of turquoise polymer clay. Fold the snake in half and twist along the entire length. Cut eight 3/4-inch sections and one 1-inch section from the snake with the craft knife (figure K). Glue these sections to one side of the box base with the bottom of each section flush with the bottom of the box. The candles should be spaced as evenly as possible. Tip: Start gluing from the large one in the middle. The 1-inch candle or Shamus candle (meaning "helper candle") should be glued in the middle, with four smaller candles glued on either side.

17. Cut out a total of nine small gold teardrops and nine slightly larger black teardrops from clay rolled out through the sixth-largest setting of the pasta machine. Stack and pinch these as above. Glue these to the top of each candle for flames (figure L). Optional: Make a menorah for all four sides of the box.

18. Place the lid on the box to help maintain its shape during baking. Bake the two pieces at 275 F degrees for 40 minutes.


    • Hi-temp brush on cyanoacrylate
    • Pattern cutters, ball tip stylus
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