Laser cut dreidel

Updated: Jan 17

Sent George my illustrator file as I've never worked with illustrator before and knew there would be some mistakes. I designed it to be cut on 6mm deep MDF.

First attempt at Illustrator file:

I want the pieces to slot together with visible joints - like the trivet. My idea was that the four square pieces would slot together, with the two on the right being the top and base. The triangles and semicircles will slot together and then be attached to the base of the cube to create the part that spins. I created two different types because I want to experiment with the different shapes and see which practically spins the best, thus functions the best, as well as their aesthetic values.

There were a few adjustments needed which George helped me with in the session:

Updated illustrator file:

Sending the file to the laser cutter:

The cut pieces and assembling the dreidel:

Slotting together and the different spinning tops:

The spinning in motion:


I prefer the rounded spinner - it spins and looks better. The triangular one is too high so when the dreidel falls its very loud and ungraceful. I made it this size to test the joining and assist my judgement in the scale I want my final one to be. This is a great mid size, either half this size or double would be good for a final product. MDF worked well as a material - its lightweight so works well for the purpose of the dreidel and the laser cut edges are a really nice dark colour in contrast to the rest of the wood.

Further development:

Want to now look at designing symbols for the four sides of the dreidel. Reinterpreting what Judaism means to me (see previous blog post 'Judaism').

Considering different languages and cultures that communicated through images: ancient Egyptians -hieroglyphics, Japanese words look like what they are, cuneiform - earliest form of writing. Creating something similar, what am I saying with my four symbols? How does it communicate my relationship with Judaism?

Looked at the noun project website ( and typed in key words I associate with my relationship to Judaism to help me research ideas. Judaism, family, together, food.

These 3 icons below prompted thoughts about my family:

Food and meal times have always been important - chance for everyone to be together and spend time with each other. Types of 'Jewish' food that we always have, bagels and matzo - symbolises coming together for food and the cultural significance certain ones have.

Curly hair runs on my mums side of the family but is a recessive gene, so only 4 of us in the whole family have it. Its one thing that has always tied me to my Grandma because we both have very ringlet-ty blonde hair and its something people always comment on when were together. I'm also the only person that directly descends from her with curly hair. The image of Orthodox Jews with the two ringlets down the side of their head reminds me of this, although its not a causation, having jewish heritage and curly hair definitely feels like a correlation to me. I'm the only family member (other than my Grandma) on my side of the family that feels a connection to Judaism, so having this in common with my Grandma feels like part of my heritage.

Jewellery making is another thing that runs in the family. My Grandmas mothers side were silversmiths, with the apt surname 'Silverman'. Because of this, my Grandma took up silversmithing classes in her later adult life (always had an interest but also a way to connect to her family). I have always loved jewellery, and the craft element of the practice is also something I'm passionate about. Furthermore, people of the Jewish faith often wear the star of David as jewellery as an emblem of their faith. Silverman is also a typical name for a Jewish family (according to my Grandmother).

Family has always been very important in Jewish culture along with the concept of sticking together and loyalty. Being connected with one another has also always been important in my family, with everyone always calling and speaking to each other - especially over the pandemic, as I think most people were. These are all important morals my family hold very closely and I want to represent this on my dreidel as well.

I can laser cut these symbols out of the dreidel sides, or carve halfway so indents. If create holes, could fill with different materials? Coloured wood filler?

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