You can make your own dreidel out of clay by following these simple instructions. The accompanying box will store and protect your dreidel from season to season.
A dreidel is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The four letters—nun, gimel, hey, and shin—stand for the phrase Nes gadol hayah sham, or “A great miracle happened here.” At one time in history, the Syrians had forbidden the teaching of the Jewish religion. Jewish rebels pretended to play dreidel around enemy troops while they were actually discussing the Torah. The tradition of playing dreidel for gelt (candies or coins) delights young and old during the Hanukkah celebration.
Level: Moderately easy
Time involved: Two hours, plus overnight to dry
- Sculpting clay (Sculpy or Fimo clay are popular brands.)
- Thin wooden dowel, chopstick, or thick wooden skewer
- Exacto knife
- Cookie sheet
- Small cardboard box
- White craft paint
- White glue
- Paper cup
- Blue, red, green, and yellow tissue paper
- Black marker
- Clear acrylic finish spray
Using sculpting clay, form a rectangle that is 3 x 2 inches. Form a round ball out of the clay about 1 inch in diameter. Shape the ball onto the bottom of the rectangle by smoothing the sides of the ball and forming the clay into a point.
Cut a 1 1/2-inch piece of the wooden dowel, skewer, or chopstick with an Exacto knife. Insert the wooden piece into the top of the rectangle to about 1/2 inch.
Place the dreidel on the cookie sheet and bake it according to the directions on the sculpting clay. I baked my dreidel in a 275°F oven for about 18 minutes.
Remove the dreidel from the oven and allow it to cool.
Paint the outside of the cardboard box with white craft paint and allow to dry.
Make a mixture of 1/3 cup white glue and 3 tablespoons water in a paper cup.
Tear blue, red, green, and yellow tissue paper into about 2-inch pieces. Cover an area of the box with the glue mixture and place the tissue paper in a random pattern over the glue. If you keep one finger covered with the glue mixture, you can pick up the tissue pieces and smooth them onto the surface with this finger. Continue until the entire outside of the box is covered by at least two layers of tissue paper and allow to dry.
Repeat this process, covering the dreidel with at least two layers of tissue paper and allow to dry.
With the black marker, write the four Hebrew dreidel letters onto the four sides of the box and on the four sides of the dreidel. Write the word “Dreidel” on top of the box.
Spray the box and the dreidel with clear acrylic finish spray and allow to dry.