I never claimed to have good taste.
Extensive glitter collection, yes.
Good taste, no.
But listen y’all, it’s Chanukah, and if I want to remember the miracle of the Maccabees through a something four-legged, spangled and fabulous, well, I’m dang-well going to do it!
The pink elephant came about a few years ago following a long night of Disney’s Dumbo, good gin and too many Velvet Underground albums. It’s not unusual for me to messing around with terra cotta clay late at night, and that particular night, when inspiration struck, I saw the elephant on my kitchen counter…and boom! A menorah was born.
They are easy to make. It’s just a toy + clay + paint/glitter/fancy-top-coat-of-your-choice. Honest. That’s it. If you are thinking hey, maybe I could make that then that’s a good sign you should have made one already.
So let’s get started, shall we?
The base toy can be any plastic animal laying around the toy chest or your local dollar store (I happen to have an affinity for dinosaurs and rhinoceroses, but y’all decide for yourself!) For those who don’t keep terra cotta clay on hand at all times, get yourself some play clay or make some salt dough. Doesn’t really matter what sort of clay you use, just make sure it’s something that will air dry (FYI: the stuff pictured is from Crayola and is called “Model Magic” and cost $3 for enough clay to make three menorahs using this method –my first time using it and I was impressed.) I could write a step-by-step tutorial on this, but I think you can get the gist of it by looking at the pictures. To summarize:
- Lay some clay on the animal’s back.
- Stick some candles in the clay.
- Let the candles dry.
- Paint it up.
- Snazz it up.
- Light it up.
Dry time will vary depending on density and humidity levels, but I would allow a good 24 hours at least.
Tip: All clay will expand and contract as it dries, so leave the candles in the clay so you can be sure they will fit later.
Tip: If you find your clay/dough is too elastic to support the candle upright, wrap a small amount of the clay around the base of the candle before inserting into the base clay
Tip: If you have a hard time blending the spots where the clay ends and toy body starts, dribble on some white glue. That’ll patch it up.
Tip: Glitter in two coats with two shades of the same color glitter –it will look sparkly and decadant, as well as eliminate any annoying glitter shedding.
Coat 1: Slather your creature with glue and liberally apply glitter. Dry.
Coat 2: Mix together equal parts glue, water, glitter in a shade slightly different than the first coat, and paint the mixture all over. Dry 24 hours.
Tip: Don’t leave candles burning unattended. Do really need me to tell you this? If you are reading this, you should know this already. If you don’t know this, then skip this project. You should be spending more time on fire safety than craft time.
Tip: Don’t freak out about wax drippings. You spent $2 on making this. It’s not your grandmother’s menorah; it’s a glittered circus animal. If you really want to remove any potential drippings, you can dip the hole thing in hot water for 5 seconds and it will release in a jiffy. Relax, Max.
Tip: Display your finished menorah in front of a mirror. Reflected candlelight is ridonkulously beautiful.
Tip: You still here? What are you waiting for? Get started!