This Modular Block Menorah Brings a Creative Modern Touch to Hanukkah

While the tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah has existed for generations, the styles of menorahs available are ever-changing. The modern twist of this DIY menorah is that it is modular, made of nine different candle blocks that when put together create one menorah. The blocks also line up to create a word or image on both sides. It's a creative and meaningful way to celebrate this joyous festival.

Mark Increments on Copper Tube

In this menorah, the candles will sit in copper tubes that are inserted into wood blocks. Based on the customary size of Hanukkah candles, copper tubes with 1/4-inch openings are ideal for the occasion. Using a ruler and a black marker, draw a line at 1-inch increments along the copper tube until you have 8 sections. Mark an additional section that is 3 inches for the taller center candle.

Cut the Tube Into 9 Pieces

With the marks as your guide, use a tube cutter to cut the individual copper pieces. A tube cutter works like a vise with an attached blade. Insert the copper tube into the cutter, line up the blade with the mark you drew, and tighten the screw. As you spin the cutter around the copper tube, the blade cuts into the metal until you can eventually snap the piece off.

Mark 1/4-Inch From the End

While eight of the copper pieces are 1 inch, and the ninth is 3 inches, a quarter inch of each piece will be inserted into the wood blocks. To make sure the pieces line up evenly, place a black mark 1/4-inch from the end of each piece.

Mark the Center of Each Block

Using a ruler and pencil, draw two lines going from corner to corner. Where the lines meet, the "x" marks the center.

Drill Hole in Center

Position the drill bit above the "x" and drill down about 1/4 inch into the wood block, and discard the shavings. For a 1/4-inch copper tube to it snugly in the block, a 3/8-inch drill bit is a good size. There is variation in copper tube sizing, so you may need to adjust your drill bit accordingly.

Insert Copper Tubes Into Holes

Use a hammer to push the copper tubes into the holes in each wood block. Do not hammer the tubes past the 1/4-inch mark you indicated.

Slide Washers Over Tubes

Slide a washer over each copper tube so that the washer sits at the base of the tube. The washers will function as a receptacle for any melted candle wax, so you can just lift the washer to remove the wax. Washers that are 5/16 inch are the perfect size for the 1/4-inch copper tubes.

Print Designs on Sticker Paper

Decide on a design that will go on each block. One option is to create individual designs for each block, e.g., each of the letters H-A-N-U-K-K-A-H for 8 blocks and a dreidel for the 9th block. Another option is to create one large design that can be cut up into 9 pieces. (You can either find stock images online or create your own using a graphics program.) Size your artwork to fit the 2-inch blocks, and print on sticker paper using your inkjet printer. You can find sticker paper at your local office supply store. Cut out the individual pieces with a ruler and hobby knife.

Apply the Stickers

Peel the stickers from their protective backing and apply each to the wood blocks. Burnish the stickers with your fingers to create a good seal.

Line Them Up

Line up all the blocks in the correct order, making sure that the middle block has the longer copper tube. Keeping the blocks in this formation, spin the entire line-up to the other side. This way, you will be sure that the artwork on the other side will also be in the correct order.

Decorate other side

Apply stickers to decorate the opposite side of the blocks. In this example, rather than 9 individual pieces of art, a continuous image with words has been cut up into 9 pieces.

Insert candles

Place Hanukkah candles into the copper tubes. If the candles are wider than the tube openings, just press down on the candles so they fit snugly. There will be wax shavings, which you can dust off.

This modular menorah symbolizes many people coming together as one to celebrate, making it a very meaningful menorah indeed.

About the Author

Jonathan Fong is the author of three books: "Walls that Wow," "Flowers that Wow," and "Parties that Wow." He currently hosts the web series "Style With A Smile."