Of course a glow-in-the-dark Dreidel Arena needs a glow-in-the-dark dreidel. Why didn’t I think of it before? My friend Kathryn (at Joyful Jewish) put me up to it after she read about my arena idea last week. And that’s when the stealth crafting began…
Usually, I advocate making stuff alongside your kid. But this time, I chose to make glow-in-the-dark dreidels on my own, to surprise my 5 year-old. I didn’t tell him about the glow-in-the dark dreidel arena, either. Eight nights of dreidel can get a teensy bit dull you know, even when you shake them up with battles and upside-downies and edible versions and giant Hot Wheel arenas and LEGO dreidels and whatnot. The sudden appearance of glow dreidels in a glow arena might help, along about Thursday…
HOW TO MAKE A GLOW- IN-THE DARK DREIDEL:
Get a dreidel, any dreidel, but light-colored wooden ones will give better letter visibility. Spray it with three coats of Krylon Glowz, with 10 minutes drying time in between. Done.
I hate aerosol paint as much as I hate disposable plastic glowy jewelry, but when it comes to Jewish holidays, I tend to bend the rules. In my defense, I did try to use gel fabric paint first, but it took layer after layer after layer, with drying-time in between, and I still ended up with a fairly insipid glow. If I’m going to paint a dreidel, I need lurid.
Tips for the detail-oriented among us: A piece of cardboard (to shield the grass and insects, because you are doing this OUTSIDE) and a blob of clay will make dreidel-spraying easier. Upend the dreidel in the clay, so that just the merest tip of the handle is embedded, and so that the remaining dreidel presents maximum surface area to accept the paint. (As a bonus, you now have cardboard and a blob of clay that glow in the dark.) Technically, the paint dries to touch in 10 minutes, and dries completely in three hours, but I can’t wait three hours between coats.
If you are more patient than I, you may lightly sand your wooden dreidel before painting, in order to prepare the surface to suck up even more glow. I do mean lightly, because otherwise, you’ll sand the painted letters right off, and then you can’t play the dreidel game at all.
You can buy at least one brand of dreidel designed to light the night: Rite Lite—the brave bringer-of-tchochtkes-to-Bible-Belt-CVS drug stores—makes a plastic, zip-cord activated dreidel that doesn’t glow so much as explode in migraine-inducing, frenetic, electronic blinking. My kid loves it, but I have to leave the room.
A home-grown glowy dreidel is easy to make and is easier on the eyes.
GLOW DREIDEL ARENA PICS:
Today’s pictures are of a fresh (as opposed to burned-out) glow-jewelry dreidel arena. I linked bracelets—the kind that comes in tubes of a dozen for a dollar, but you can use necklaces, too. Six bracelets make a ring big enough for one or two players, but for group play, a bigger ring would be fun. Don’t mix brands, because dimensions vary and connectors are not always compatible.
As I mentioned in my DIY dreidel stadium post, I despair at the disposable nature of these toys, but they continue to come home via various parties and holidays, and I can at least delay landfill status with a quick repurpose for Hanukkah.
Alas, they only stay bright for a few hours, so by tomorrow night they’ll still work as an arena, but without the glow.