More Magen David-themed crafting

Magen David facepaint

Following up on our previous Magen David-themed craft project, this project is again contributed by my sister and amazing nieces.

Here is a simple but very effective folded and stapled Magen David paper necklace.


The necklace is just a paper triangle with concertina folds on the points, overlapped together, then decorated.

Here’s the folding diagram:


and a picture of the completed back side.


Two minutes and you’re done.

Another project which has been road tested with real life kids in “coalface” conditions.

Thanks Paula!



Rosh Hashanah cards

This post comes courtesy of my sister, who, in between probing the origins of the universe through her work in particle physics is a domestic goddess and the mother of my three gorgeous nieces. I could get off on a major league kvelling tangent here but let me reign myself in and get back to business.

Today’s post is a how-to for crafting a beautiful holiday card – a Magen David iris card. Now I am handing you over to my sister:


Hellow everybody! Iris folding is one of my absolute favourite projects to do with kids. The creations look amazingly professional for something kid-created, have this wonderful tactile quality to them; you can run your finger over all the little ridges and it feels gorgeous, and another thing I like is the flat storage which means that this craft is less likely to end up getting thrown out for lack of space.

Maybe the best thing of all is the wow factor; while you are creating the card it looks like an unrecognizable heap of paper, then at the end you turn it over to unveil your art, and it’s one of those moments when the expressions on the kids faces are just priceless.

First off, download the template and print 2 copies.

Link is here: iris card template.

Position one copy on the back of the card and use as a guide to cut out the entire shape on the card front.


Now cut out a rough circle around the other printout.

cut circle

Position the circle on the front of the card directly behind the cut-out shape (so that you can see the pattern from the back). This serves as a temporary template for creating the card and will be removed at the end. Line it up as best you can and put a few spots of temporary tape to hold it firm while you do the iris folding itself.

Now it should look like this:

card with diagram

Up to now it should probably be you doing the setup, but from now on the kids can start to gradually take over. You need lots and lots of strips of paper.  It doesn’t matter at all if the strips have rough edges because you are going to fold them, and at the end of the project only the fold will show.

We had some strips bought from a craft store and some cut from a magazine (magazine paper is the perfect weight for this). Now you have to be able to count: starting at position 1 you tape down the strip, so the folded edge is against the line on your pattern, and the edges overlap the cut-out region.

Does this picture explain it?  It’s a bit wonky because Hannah insisted on doing it “all by myself” but you can see that the strip has been folded over on the edge, and the edge has been butted up against the line, with the right side of the strip facing down.


Go onto position 2, then rinse and repeat 20 times or more, depending on how many folds you have to do.


In principle you can do smart things with color blocking, matching etc. but in general I just let the kids choose their colours and they come out – well, they come out unique!

Here we are after the first few strips:


Now after a while it begins to look like a huge messy pile of paper and tape – do not lose your nerve at this point but keep on going until you get to the iris in the centre.

Here we are at that point.  Looks like a big mess, right!



Now you select your most beautiful shiny/holographic scrap of paper and stick it face down over the central iris.

Next, turn the whole thing over, and with great excitement, pomp and ceremony (there really should be a bracha for this moment), peel back the temporary template on the card front to unveil your creation…

unveil card

… ta da..!  And now, please decorate!

cardThanks so much!


A Mixed Multitude

Now that A. is four, she is really into the holidays in a way she wasn’t at three. So she has been helping with preparations for Passover, hunting for chametz, memorizing the four questions, and looking forward to two seders, one at the home of friends, and the other at our house, with her best friend invited.

Because we didn’t have enough to do, she and I embarked on a project: finger puppets! We had already made a whole fleet of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends felt finger puppets, so it wasn’t hard to adapt the idea to Moses, Pharaoh, and the Israelites.

Start with sheets of felt from the craft store, fabric tack, googly eyes (or use bits of felt), and scissors. Depending on your child’s skill level, you can cut out the felt, or they can help. Same with the glue. You might also want to cover the table with newspaper.

Supplies for finger puppets

Felt, scissors, fabric tack

Next, create a cardboard template for yourself in the shape of the puppet. Fold the felt so both sides are cut at the same time, outline the puppet’s body, and cut. Glue the two pieces together.

Templete and felt

Templete and felt

Next, decide on the color of hair, beard, clothes, etc. I have no crafting skills at all, so I used rectangles for the clothes, with scoop or V-necks, random scraps for lips, and whatever worked for hair and beard. We also made everyone in random colors, a sort of homage to the idea of a mixed multitude. The people who left Egypt could be beige or brown or black or blue or purple. Whoever they were when they left, they would be different before their journey was over. Obviously, we weren’t going for realism, though A. decided that Moses should be off-white, so that he would be as distinct as Pharaoh. Similarly, he is the only one dressed in purple.

Moses is taking shape

Moses is taking shape


Looking more like a leader…

We decided to make Pharaoh -and only Pharaoh–green, so he would really stand out. He’s also the only one with eyebrows, which was also A.’s choice. I suggested she use something sparkly on Pharaoh’s clothes or crown, but A. decided against it. He is, she said, a bad guy, and she didn’t want to make him pretty at all. No decorations for you, Pharaoh!


Pharaoh is green, with envy, or from a plague, or something


Mean looking guy, that Pharaoh!

And so, after a couple of hours of work, discussing the Exodus story as we went, A. and I had created, together, a slightly raggedy, but completely respectable Mixed Multitude: a minyan of Israelites, and one mean Pharaoh. And A. came up with a really brilliant idea: she remembered some ribbon left over from Hanukkah, and snipped bits for the Israelites’ belts: it is now abundantly clear who is who in this grouping!

Mixed Multitude

Mixed Multitude

Chag Sameach!