Handyman Menorah (DIY “Man-orah” for dorm or home)


PVC and pine Menorah

A “Man-orah.”  100%  hardware, rough and ready.  Instant.  Cheap.  Uncomplicated.   Just hacksaw 18.5″ off the end of a pine 1×3, slap some glue on 9 PVC fittings and you’re done.  No need to sand the splinters or remove the printed SKU# with acetone.  That’s for sissies.  LED tealights mean this bad boy is safe for the strictest dorm rooms (“no naked flames”), but real wax and wick tealights work perfectly fine, too.

LED version

LED version

Of course, just typing the word “tealight” shaves my manly man menorah down a few testosterone points, but it also underscores the complexities of assigning gender bias to a candleholder.  I am neither manly nor a man, yet I love my new Man-orah.  Oh, the  joy I felt today in the Home Depot plumbing aisle, fingering every box of 1.5 inch PVC fittings, trying out my pocketed tealights inside the likeliest shapes.  And the gorgeous moment when I realized that the best fits were provided by eight female “Bushings” and, for the Shammash, one “Male Adapter.”  Thematic bliss.

More bliss as I walked over to Lumber, selected a unwarped, knotty 1×3, and hack-sawed 18.5″ off one end right there at the self-service trim-cutting station.  No one even asked me if I needed  help.  It took an embarrassingly long time to plow through a nominal inch of pine (purse still on my shoulder, swinging back and forth), but by golly I did it.  All Man-orah parts were obtained in a total of about 10 minutes.  At home, they were assembled in even fewer.

tealights fit snug on the ledge inside

tealight sits snug on the inside ledge

This menorah will not be beautiful to many folks, I realize, and certainly not all men.  For example, my husband, through some mysterious defect, cares not for hardware.  He would be fine never, ever stepping foot in a hardware store.  He probably thinks PVC is some sort of vaccine for preteens.  This menorah is not for him.  It is for me.

My goal today was to make a menorah that would work with LED lights, since, as I mentioned in my Marmite Menorah post, I’ve got flameless menorahs on the brain.  I KNOW THEY AREN’T KOSHER if they aren’t real fire, but sometimes, some people some places need flameless menorahs: like in dorms, hospitals, facilities, preschools and so forth.  Glass votive candleholders are popular choices for flameless versions, but I wanted something unbreakable, lightweight and more interesting.

Another neat thing about this Handyman version is that the PVC fittings don’t even need to be glued down.  Keep them loose for a modular menorah you could set down just about anywhere.
Do keep in mind that spray paint will dilute the pure hardware beauty of the components.  Resist the urge to paint.


See also my PVC Menorah kit, designed for kids to put together and take apart (I use it as a station at our Chanukah carnival),
and my trayfe but marvy V8 Distributor Cap Menorah.

I had to stuff the Male Adapter with foil to hold LED lights, but the real candles fit without help.

I had to stuff the Male Adapter with foil to hold the LED light, but the real candles fit without help.


Buy 8 Bushings


If you choose to use real wax/wick tealights in this menorah, common sense hanukkiyah rules apply:
Never leave any open flame menorah unattended.
Always place a menorah on a nonflammable surface to catch any stray drips or fallen candles.

If you are concerned about the safety of this or any menorah I’ve written about, do not make or use it.
Try another LED tealight version (here) or flameless LEGO versions instead!