Recycled creativity with Dana Israeli

Recycled creativity with Dana Israeli

As a DIY entrepreneur and copywriter, one of the things I love about being creative is reuse – taking something that is no longer useful and breathing new life into it. The idea of giving another chance to an item that is already on the way to the recycling bin and using it to create something completely different – decorative or useful – never fails to excite me.

I was thrilled when I was asked to think about such ideas for Strauss’s Hanukkah production. As a mother of two daughters in grade school, Hanukkah is always an opportunity to be creative and original: a party at home, class activity or keeping the kids occupied on a rainy vacation day require me to be inventive and to create something from nothing, time and again.

In this production, I decided to concentrate on the familiar symbols of the holiday and turn them into a game or a useful item.

Pompom hanukkiah

Of course, the star of the festival of Hanukkah is the hanukkiah, the Hanukkah menorah. Not just any hanukkiah, but one that the children can “light” safely. Actimel bottles are an excellent basis for the branches of the hanukkiah. As my daughters drink Actimel almost every morning, from the moment I told them that we were collecting the bottles for creative activity, within four days we had an impressive collection at our disposal. We washed the bottles and removed the labels and painted them with good quality watercolor paints to resemble a milkshake, with a dollop of whipped cream made of Plasticine and a colorful straw. We glued the bottles on a spare wooden board and made the “shamash” (the “helper” candle used to light the other candles) out of a big Danacol bottle.

What turns the hanukkiah into a plaything is the possibility of “lighting” and “putting out” the candles according to the days of the holiday or just for fun – the “flame” is a woolen pompom in which we stuck a toothpick. When you want to “light” the candle, simply place the “flame” toothpick in the suitable straw. The experience is great fun when accompanied by Hanukkah songs.

> How to make a pompom hanukkiah

Plasticine sufganiyot

No one can say no to a sufganiyah, the traditional jelly donuts eaten on Hanukkah. Cake shops are filled with beautiful sufganiyot covered with mouthwatering toppings, along with the old-fashioned jelly filled donuts that take me back to my childhood.

For me, the essence of the experience is standing at the stall and taking ages to decide which sufganiyah to choose, and that's what I wanted to communicate here too.

Any lid or round container can serve as the perfect base for a Plasticine sufganiyah.

I used the Danone Pro cup and the lid of Elite's new Intense instant coffee.


You can stick with the original color or repaint them in any color you choose, and then let your imagination and fingers run wild with Plasticine toppings (chocolate, strawberry or vanilla), little balls of Styrofoam (candy sprinkles), glitter (powdered sugar), et cetera, et cetera… The result is so like the real thing that you need to make sure that no one takes a bite… Now all you need to do is decide who's the seller and who's the customer.

>> How to make Plasticine sufganiyot

Dreidel box

The ultimate Hanukkah toy, dreidels (spinning tops), were also granted pride of place, and we created a charming, special box for them. You will need:

  • Two Yotvata bottles
  • Zipper
  • Scissors
  • Hot melt adhesive
  • Wooden skewers
  • Washi tape (optional)



  1. Remove the plastic label from the bottle.
  2. Cut off the bottom part of the bottle.
  3. Remove the cap from the top, and stick the zipper to the inside of the bottle using hot melt adhesive* so that the zipper itself is facing outward.
  4. Open the zipper.
  5. Stick the other part of the zipper to the second half of the bottle in the same way.
  6. To make the dreidel, cut off the sharp end of a wooden skewer (should be about 8 cm long).
  7. Decorate the skewer and the box with washi tape.
  8. Use a sharp object* to pierce a hole in the lid.
  9. Stick the skewer through the center of the lid.
  10. *Make sure that an adult is there to help!
Money box for Hanukkah gelt (money)

Empty Quaker Oats tins were given new life with a little paint, moving eyes and all sorts of metal objects we found in the toolbox. Although the activity is very simple, an adult's help is needed when using hot melt adhesive. I promise that the result is worth it.

I wish you all a warm and happy Hanukkah, and promise me that from now on, before you throw any empty pack into the trash, give it a chance to be reborn…










photo: Dana Israeli

photo of Dana Israeli: Sarit Gefen