Mini Lulav and Etrog for a Tabletop Sukkah

lulav lesson with Playmobil folk

lulav lesson with Playmobil folk

Our action figures now have a model sukkah well-appointed for hospitable gatherings.  Actually, we have several, because it’s hard to stop once we start. Yesterday’s post tried to outline a classic craft, a tabletop or model sukkah made from tissue boxes and shoe boxes, and also some ideas for free-builds using Legos, Lincoln Logs and other construction toys.

Lulav and etrog, polymer clay. The pitom is a broom straw

Lulav and etrog, polymer clay. The pitom is a broom straw

Here is the lulav and etrog, sized for Playmobil and Duplo folk.  They dwarf our Lego mini figs, but we use them anyway. Like the challah, apple slices and shofar assortment from Rosh Hashanah, I made them from polymer clay.

The etrog (citron) has a broom-straw pitom (stem). Lots of funky rules and folk wisdom about that pitom, by the way.

The lulav: palm frond in the middle, 3 myrtle branches on the right, 2 willow branches on the left, resting in a woven palm frond holder.  I did have the
requisite three ties around the lulav, but one got lost somewhere on the way to the oven.

I mentioned some of these tiny holiday objects are fragile.  It is no fun to make something with and for your kid, and then stress out about breaking it.  The blobby shapes like challah and apples are sturdy, but thin shofars are doomed. Luckily, superglue dries quickly.

I admit to being worried about the lulav.  That sucker takes a while to shape, and I didn’t want it broken in the first 5 seconds of play. I tried making it around a toothpick and then around a piece of paperclip, but both kept slipping out.  So, I turned to an expert: Mei, who makes exquisite, scented clay creations at  Tiny Hands Jewelry. She told me two important things: Sculpey has a product called Bake and Bend, which could well be all I need.  Plus, I can dip my metal reinforcing bar (aka paperclip) into a bonding clay agent so the clay will actually stick to it.  Preschooler and I are going to try that this week so that the Playmobil people can shake the lulav as vigorously as they wish.  And this time, I’ll make sure there are three ties around the whole thing.

If you’ve never seen a synagogue full of people—men, women and children—shaking lulavim and etrogim during Sukkot, try to. The kids think it is strange and wonderful. And so do I.

Related links:

Lulav and Etrog Symbolism article at MyJewishLearning.com.

Making a Tabletop and Model Sukkah with your kid (my post)

Making an Edible Sukkah with your kid (my post)

Making Toys Jewish, an earlier post, which has a few pictures like Playmobil hamantashen, Playmobil Passover characters, and so forth.

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2 responses to “Mini Lulav and Etrog for a Tabletop Sukkah

  1. Joanna, I love the lulav and esrog you made out of polymer clay! Did you ever figure out how to make it less breakable? I’d love to try it on my own, but not if it’s going to fall apart after a few preschooler-style play sessions. I read lousy reviews about the Bake & Bend clay and was wondering if you had success with it or found a better, longer lasting method.

    • Thanks, Esther! I am embarrassed to say that I’ve stood in the aisle of the craft store, eyeing the Bake & Bend on at least three different occasions, and I cannot bring myself to shell out the cash to try it. Sometimes, I get attacks of The Cheaps. So, I haven’t actually found a way to make the little polymer accoutrements child-friendly. Yet.
      Please holler if you do.

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