Origami Dreidels

Origami Dreidel station at a Hanukkah carnival

Origami Dreidel station at a Hanukkah carnival

This is a classic design, and fairly easy to teach to little kids. It comes from Florence Temko’s book Jewish Origami (still in print).

You’ll need a square of any size paper. To teach kids, it will be easier to have a pretty large square: at least 9 by 9 if you are cutting down from a regular sheet of construction paper. Even better if you have big origami paper that is white on one side.

LETTERS: I used large rubber stamps for the Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, and let the kids choose which letter they wanted on the body of the dreidel.  You can use stickers, foam stickers, stamps made from other materials (potatoes, which would be appropriate during latke season), stencils, foam aleph-bet puzzle pieces or just free-hand it.

No matter what method, please include a visual guide showing each letter and the name of the letter. I also included what each letter stands for. (EDIT: Here’s my printable chart with letter name, meaning and game rules.)

click on pic to print and then display

click on pic to print for display

We loved making these so much we tried it with napkins and even one square of toilet paper.

The dreidels make great Hanukkah cards (unless created from toilet paper), either on their own or glued to a folded piece of paper, or you can string them as a garland as suggested on the cover of Temko’s book. We’ve also used them as placecards at dinner and as gift tags.

Temko’s design is also available online from the Origami Swami, who claims permission to present.

origami dreidels

origami dreidels

EDIT: See also the 3-D Spinning Origami Dreidel post, here. It’s more difficult to fold, but is far more likely to attract carnival-goers who would otherwise walk right past an origami station.

spinning origami dreidel

spinning origami dreidel (click for link)