HGTV's Decorating With Style Project Instructions
Segment #357

Hannukah (or Any Other Kind of) Party Decorations

By Maude Gold Kiser

I appeared on HGTV's Decorating With Style several times back in the 1990s, and they asked me to do a segment on Hannukah decorations. I'm certain this was because I was the only guest they had on hand who was Jewish, but what the heck—I wasn't about to turn down another opportunity to be on TV. So, I came up with these projects for a Party Goodies Box and Sparkling Tablecloth, both of which can be adapted for any occasion. Sorry there's only a sideways picture of the box (copied from HGTV's site) and no picture of the tablecloth, but I forgot to take pictures before shooting the segment, and since they paid for the supplies, they got to keep projects. Please Click Here to see what I'm working on now.

You may have wondered why you see Hannukah spelled different ways. The fact is that there are numerous spellings and all are considered correct. These include Hanuka, Hannuka, Hanukkah, Hanukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Channukah, Channuka, and Khaneke. Anyway you spell it, Hannukah in Hebrew means dedication. Known as the Feast of Lights, Hannukah is celebrated in December (this year it begins on December 14th) by lighting one candle on the menorah on the first night, and adding an additional candle each of the eight nights of the holiday. (By the way, the proper way to do this is to add the candles from right to left and light them from left to right.) Once lit, the tradition is to display the menorah in a front window in order to share this light of freedom with the world. To read more about Hannukah, and Judaism in general, visit this very interesting site.

Hannukah is also celebrated with parties, games, and gifts, such as the giving of gelt to the children. Sometimes this gelt is in the form of money, little trinkets, or gold, foil-covered chocolate coins. (Although these days Hannukah gelt has gotten much more expensive).

Party Goodies Box

goodies box This goodies box, filled with candy, small toys, and other trinkets, is a great way to pass out gelt to your guests. Be sure to throw in some "gold" coins, too (I always seem to be able to find them at big chain drugstores).

The box I did on the show had Stars of David on it, but it could be menorahs or dreidels. This is also a fun idea for various other kinds of special occasions. Just replace the star with the appropriate shape. This is also a great idea for teachers as a reward box.


A Box  —  Find one large enough to hold the appropriate amount of goodies.

Paint  —  I used Liberty Blue Apple Barrel acrylic paint (by Plaid). I was trying to match the color blue in the Israeli flag. This came close, but you might be able to do better.

Shellac  —  Optional

Foam-core board  —  This is a good use for a recycled piece of board, since anything already on it wonít show.

Decorative paper  —  I used silver wrapping paper, but you could also choose to use silver paint or any color paint or paper appropriate to the occasion. You could also use one or a montage of pictures, instead.

Cardboard tube  —  You need a paper towel or other cardboard tube to make little feet for the box.

Spray adhesive  —  I like 3Mís Super 77, but any kind will do.

Glue  —  This can be craft or hot glue which ever you prefer.

Foam brush

Exacto/craft knife

Balloons  —  Four helium-filled balloons with ribbons attached. I used silver balloons with silver ribbons.

Sharpie Magic Marker  —  I like this kind, but any other would do.

Goodies  —  Toys, candy, cookies, or anything else you can think of.


Step 1  —  Paint the box inside and out. Acrylic paint has a flat finish. If you prefer (which I do in this case) more of a gloss, give the box a coat of either spray or brushed-on shellac. If you shellac the inside of the box, too, you can fill it with cookies or unwrapped candy. (The shellac will not only act as a sealer, but itís also the safest finish in the world and appropriate for contact with anything edible).

Step 2  —  Cut four equal sections of cardboard tube and paint them to match the box. Then glue the feet to the bottom of the box with craft or hot glue. The feet make the box tall enough to allow the lower point of the star to extend below the bottom of the box. This would also be the case with a heart or Christmas tree (the trunk would extend below the bottom). Other decorations you might choose may not require these feet.

Step 3  —  Cut four equal-sized triangles out of the foam-core board with an Exacto knife. Or cut out two of any shape you choose. You want your decoration to cover the whole side of the box as completely as your shape allows. It should extend out beyond the edges of the box.

Step 4  —  Paint the edges, as well as the backside of any parts of your triangles (or other shape) that stick out further than the box (paint only the parts that will show). Spray the unpainted side of each triangle (or other shape) with glue and lay it down on the backside of the wrapping or other paper. (Unless youíve decided to paint them, in which case do that, or cover your shape with pictures or any other decorations that appeal to you.)

Step 5  —  Trim away the excess paper with the Exacto knife and smooth out any wrinkles (working from the center toward the outside edges). Glue the triangles together to form a star, then glue one star (or whatever) to each side of the box.

Step 6  —  Heap the box full of goodies; toys, candy, or any other party favor you can think of. I stuck some Pixie sticks (straws filled with powdered candy) in at the top to give some height to the contents of the box. Pencils, pens, or anything else that would stick up would give the same effect. What to fill the box with is only limited by the size of the box and your imagination.

Step 7  —  Just before the party starts, thumbtack (tape or glue would pull the paint off the box when you remove the balloons) one (or more if you like) balloon to each corner of the box. Curl the ends of the ribbon that hang down around the box, as well as the little piece up by the balloon. Write any appropriate message on the balloons with Magic Marker (in this case, Happy Hannukah!).

How To Make An Equilateral Triangle

To make a Star of David correctly you need equilateral or equal-sided triangles. It took me longer to get this right than it did to come up with the whole project. So, I thought Iíd include this for those who (like me) could use a little trick to speed things up. I realize that pictures would make this a lot easier, but if you read this twice it will make sense.

Step 1  —  Draw a vertical line of any length.

Step 2  —  Draw a horizontal line across the vertical line close to the bottom.

Step 3  —  Mark the width you want the triangle to be on the horizontal line, with the vertical line as your center point. For example: To make a three inch triangle, mark the horizontal line 1 1/2 inches out to the right and then to the left of the vertical line.

Step 5  —  Itís easier to do this next step if you donít start at the end of the ruler. To make a three inch triangle, line up one of your marks on the horizontal line with the four inch mark on the ruler, line up the one inch mark where it meets the vertical line, and draw a line that crosses both the horizontal and vertical lines. Now, do the same thing from the other mark on the horizontal line. If you do this right, the two angled lines should cross right over each other on the vertical line. The whole thing will look like a tee-pee and all three sides should be three inches long.

Sparkling Tablecloth

As with the goodies box, this technique could just as easily be applied to other occasions. For Hannukah you could also cut your stamps into the shapes of dreidels or menorahs. I chose the Star of David, because then the cloth could be used for other holidays. Of course, you could also make this cloth using other shapes applicable to the occasion. You could also paint or stencil Happy Hannukah, Happy Valentine's Day, etc. right onto the cloth.

Even though this paint is washable it probably wonít hold up to repeated washings. If you want to be able to use this cloth over and over, you may want to consider leaving the area that goes over the top of the table plain and just cover the sides with your decorations (which will also save you some time). Then just cover the top of the table with another cloth that hangs down around the edges about 8-10 inches (Iíd use a white topcloth over the blue for Hannukah). That way you can wash your topcloth and never have to wash the decorated one.


Tablecloth  —  I used a queen-sized blue sheet, but even at an outlet store it cost around $25.00. I did this to save time (and the show paid for it). A less expensive alternative would be to dye a cotton sheet (Israeli flag) blue (or any color you choose). Or find a cheap blue (or other colored) tablecloth. Or use a white tablecloth (or sheet) and outline your silver stars in blue fabric paint (or make blue stars and outline them in the silver paint). Obviously there are plenty of possibilities here.

Fabric Paint  —  I used silver Tulip Glitter Fabric Paint (at crafts stores). This glitter paint also comes in several other colors. If you donít care about sparkles, any kind of fabric paint will work.

Mouse pad  —  A swell use for an old mouse pad or buy one at a discount store.

Exacto/craft knife  —  To cut the stamps out with. You could also use sharp scissors.

Sponge brush


Step 1  —  Be sure that your cloth is ironed, because it will be harder to iron after itís been decorated.

Step 2  —  Unless you have a really huge table, you have to work on this in sections. I accordion pleated the cloth widthwise and laid it over one end of my dining room table, with about a two-foot single layer along one end. Then you just unfold as you go. You have to slide the cloth back and forth (from side to side) as you work. I hope you can envision this, if not, just make up something that works for you.

Step 3  —  Cover the area of the table youíll be working on with wax paper and tape it down. Donít use craft paper or newspaper, because the paint seeps through the fabric and sticks to the paper (I learned this the hard way). If you donít cover your table youíll be sorry (also learned the hard way).

Step 4  —  Make cardboard patterns of three different sizes of equilateral triangles. I used one, two, and three inch triangles. Trace your pattern on the mousepad and cut the triangles out with an Exacto knife or scissors. Donít worry if the edges arenít perfectly straight as this doesnít seem to matter.

Step 5  —  Squirt some paint onto the rubber (not the fabric) side of the triangles, and spread it out with a foam brush. The first coat on a new (or just rinsed-out) stamp is a primer coat. Cover the stamp with a second coat and then start stamping away. Stamp one triangle, then turn the stamp around and stamp another triangle on top of the first one to form a Star of David. Intersperse different-sized stars around your cloth. After making several stars, the paint begins to build up on the stamp, so, rinse them out often. To dry them after rinsing: lay the stamps on a terry cloth towel, cover with another part of the towel, and press down hard.

Copyright ©1998-2007 by Maude Gold Kiser
The Gold-Kiser Company
Nashville, Tennessee
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