Build a 6-Foot Chanukah Menorah That Stores Away Small

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Abstract

Here’s an easy project to build a big Chanukah menorah for outdoor or indoor use. It makes use of inexpensive and readily available Holiday lights and standard PVC pipe and fittings that you can buy at any hardware store. It disassembles for compact storage.

Option 1 – Light the center “Shamus” and one additional Candy Cane each night of Chanukah.
(Double-click on any image for a larger view) 
 Option 2 - Candy Canes are always lighted. Light one candelabra-type Holiday light atop the center “Shamus” and one additional Holiday light each night of Chanukah.
 
 

 

Disassembles quickly and easily. From top, Candy Cane assemblies, Center pipe, Cross-Piece Asembly. 
 
 

Parts List

9 Lighted Candy Canes (Holiday lights)
1 string of 25 Holiday lights
1 5′ length of 1-1/4′ PVC pipe
1 5′ length of 1″ PVC pipe
1 5′ length of  3/4″ PVC pipe
3 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ PVC Elbows
6 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ PVC Tees
1 1-1/4″ PVC Cross
9 3/4″ Elbows
9 Sheet metal screws
PVC Cement
 

Step-by-Step Building and Assembly Instructions

 

Part A – Make the Cross-Piece Assembly

1) Cut 1-1/4″ pipe into nine 2″ lengths (in the context of plumbing, a short piece of pipe is called a ”nipple”).
2) Cut 3/4″ pipe into nine 1-1/4″ lengths.
3) Insert three 1-1/4″ nipples into the PVC Cross. NOTE: Do not use any PVC cement now, we’ll glue it in step (10).
4) Attach a 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ Elbow to the top center nipple on the Cross and two Tees, one each to the right- and left-nipples on the Cross. The top-center nipple will hold the center Candy Cane, the “Shamus”.
5) Insert a 1-1/4″ nipple into each of the above Tees and attach two more Tees, one to each end.
6) Repeat step (5) until you have three Tees on each end of the Cross-piece.
7) Insert a 1-1/4″ nipple into the end of each of the last two Tees, and attach two 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ Elbows, one at each end of the Cross-piece.
8) Rotate the fittings until the Cross is vertical and all the 3/4″ ends are horizontal and parallel to each other.
9) Insert nine 3/4″ nipples, one into each 3/4″ end.
10) When you are sure you have the Cross-piece all assembled correctly, disassemble each section in turn, apply PVC cement, and reconnect. It is important that all the 3/4″ ends be pointing in the same direction.
 
 

Part B – Make the Candy Cane Assemblies

10) Cut 3/4″ pipe into nine 3″ lengths. 
11) Cut a 3/8″ Vee slot at one end of each 3″ nipple. 
12) Each lighted Candy Cane should come with a black plastic spike designed to go into the ground to hold the Candy Cane upright. Cut 1-1/2″ off of the pointy end of each spike. 
13) Each spike should have three fins. File these fins down until the spike fits snuggly inside a 3″ nipple. 
14) Apply some PVC cement to the inside of a 3″ nipple (near the end with the Vee slot) and slide a spike inside such that the Vee slot in the nipple aligns with the slot in the cylindrical end of the spike and the lower 1/4″ of the cylindrical end of the spike is inside the nipple. IMPORTANT: Nearly all of the cylindrical end of the spike must protrude out of the 3″ nipple so the Candy Cane will have good support when you attach it.
15) Repeat step (14) for all nine spikes and nipples.
16) IMPORTANT: Practice the following steps without any cement to be sure you understand them!
17) Each Candy Cane should have wires protruding from its bottom end. Carefully place these wires inside the slot in the cylindrical end of a spike, put some cement on the cylindrical end of the spike, and insert the spike into the Candy Cane, aligning the wires and the slot such that they are opposite the hook on the Candy Cane.
18) Repeat step (17) for the remaining eight Candy Canes.
19) Apply cement to the inside of one side of a 3/4″ Elbow and slide it onto the bottom of the 3/4″ pipe you attached to the Candy Cane. Make sure the other side of the Elbow faces away from the hook in the Candy Cane. IMPORTANT: Do not put any cement on the outfacing side of the Elbow.
20) Repeat step (19) for the remaining eight Candy Cane assemblies.

 

 

Part C – Install the Ground Support Pipe and Cross-Piece Assembly

21) Dig a hole in the ground about two feet deep and set the 1″ pipe into the hole such that it is vertical.
21) Fill the hole with dirt (or concrete if you are doing a permanent installation). Make sure the pipe is vertical and press the dirt in place to hold it securely.
22) Take the remaining length of 1-1/4″ pipe and slide it over the 1″ ground support pipe.
23) Take the Cross-piece and place the lower part of the Cross over the 1-1/4″ pipe and press down.
 
 

Part D – Attach the Candy Cane Assemblies to the Cross-Piece Assembly

24) Take a Candy Cane assembly and attach it to the nipple protruding from the center of the Cross-piece. Rotate it such that it is vertical. Use a permanent marker to mark the alignment and label the Candy Cane assembly with a “C” for center. This Candy Cane is the “Shamus”, and is higher than the others.
25) Take the remaining eight Candy Cane assemblies and attach them to the remaining nipples. 
26) Rotate the Candy Cane assemblies such that they are at equal angular separations. A space of around 8″ between the tops of the Candy Cane hooks worked for me.
27) Make sure you like the aesthetics and then mark the alignment of each Candy Cane assembly and label it “L1” for left #1, “R1” for right #1 and so on. 
28) When all is properly aligned, drill a 1/8″ hole about 1/4″ from the end of each 3/4″ Elbow and through its mating nipple. 
29) Insert sheet metal screws into each hole.
30) To mark each day of Chanukah, you could plug in the center “Shamus” Candy Cane and one additional Candy Cane each evening.
 
 

Part E – Attach “Candle” Lights to Each Candy Cane (Optional)

31) Optionally, you could add a light to the top of each Candy Cane and light the center “Shamus” light and one additional light each evening.
32) I used a string of candelabra-type Holiday lights and used tape to attach two to each Candy Cane and three to the center “Shamus” Candy Cane. I removed the bulbs from the unused sockets and taped them over with plastic electrical tape to prevent water getting in. 

 

Daytime view of Chanukah Menorah 
 
    

 

Stores away compactly