Dreidel Spins at Sundown

by jennyLC

Published on December 10, 2014

This dreidel will begin to spin at sundown, when Hanukkah festivities begin!  The project uses the cloudBit along with the weather channel on IFTTT to determine when it should spin.  If you don't have a cloudBit don't worry - you can still make this project using an on/off button and simply turning it on manually. Grab some latkes, your littleBits and join in on the fun!

How To Make It


Make a Paper Dreidel
Start by downloading a template for a paper dreidel. There are many free dreidel templates online. Print the dreidel template onto cardstock. If you don't have cardstock or your printer can't take heavier paper, print the dreidel on regular paper and then glue it onto heavier paper - you can use a cereal box if you like. The dreidel I downloaded is here:  (see picture 2).


Put the Dreidel Together
Cut out the dreidel template, score the folds and then fold it together. You can glue it together or use double-sided tape.


Make the Dreidel's Stem
We're gonna use a chopstick or dowel as the dreidel's stem, but also as the dreidel's connection to the motor. Take a chopstick or 4-5mm dowel and near the bottom of the stick, notch out the sides so it will fit snuggly into the motorMate's fitting.  You can notch the chopstick by using a knife (ask an adult for help), a metal file or a sanding block (see pictures 3&4)


Fit the Stem Through the Dreidel
Take your paper dreidel and poke a hole in the top of it (use an awl or knife), allowing for just the circumference of the chopstick. Next, take your scissors and cut a very small hole at the bottom point of the dreidel, allowing only for the notched edge of the chopstick to emerge. Trim the top of chopstick at the top of the dreidel to the desired length (see pictures 5&6).


Prepare the Gift Box
Take a gift box and cut a hole in the center of its top, large enough to accommodate the diameter of the motorMate. You can cut the hole with a drill, awl or knife and then sand the edges if they are rough. Also cut a hole in the back of the box that is just big enough to accommodate the head of the power cable, which will be pushed into interior of the box (see picture 7).


Mount the motorBit  
To mount the DC motorBit inside of the gift box, we're going to use a thick piece of cardboard. Cut a piece of cardboard slightly wider than the inside width of the gift box so that it will stay put when wedged into the gift box.  Place the cardboard into the box and line it up such that when the dc motor bit will be attached to it, the motor's shaft/motorMate will line up with hole made in the top of the gift box in step 5 (see picture 8).  When the alignment has been made, attach the DC motor bit to the piece of thick cardboard using littleBits shoes or rubber bands - position the motorBit so that the top of the shaft/motorMate will peak out of the box once the top of the box is in place.


Put It All Together!
Thread the head of the power cable into the box using the hole you made in the back of the box during step 5. Inside the box, attach the cable to the powerBit -> cloudBit -> wireBit -> motorBit (see picture 9).  Put the lid on the box and make sure everything is lined up (see picture 10). Then place the dreidel, via the notched end of the chopstick, into the motorMate (see picture 11).  

If you don't have a cloudBit, use any switch in its place to simply turn the dreidel on/off manually.


Connect Your cloudBit and IFTTT 
If you have a cloudBit, use the IFTTT recipe here ( along with your cloudBit control panel ( to activate the dreidel spinning at sundown.

You can also use the cloudBit web interface to turn the dreidel on/off remotely by clicking the purple button on the webpage.  


Decorate your dreidel with Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins), a star of David and a cute dog, but don't let the dog eat the chocolate coins (picture 12)! Happy Hanukkah!!!

Related Projects