You'll need to cut out three cardboard parts to make the dreidel: the body, the lid, and the separate CPX holder. You can measure and cut them freehand, or print out the PDF template below onto copy paper and trace it onto some stiff cardboard. You can also adapt the template to use with a programmable cutter, if you have one.
The body of the dreidel is made up of a cube around the middle and an upside-down square pyramid on the bottom. The cube is 2 1/2 inches on each side (the length of the battery case, so it fits snugly inside). The pyramid is 2 1/8 inch high. If you are tracing the template onto your cardboard, cut around the shapes shown in gray, then skip down to the directions for cutting the letters out of the sides.
Measuring and Cutting the Body Freehand
If you want to make the dreidel freehand, measure and cut the whole body out of a piece of cardboard 10 1/4 inches wide (the width of the four squares that make up the middle, plus a little extra for a tab) and 4 5/8 inches high.
In the photo at the top of the page, I lined up the fold line between the cube and the pyramid with a fold in the cereal box cardboard. Next, I drew lines to show the edges between the cubes (not visible in the photo). Then I made marks along the bottom, in the center of each cube, to show the point of each triangle that makes up the pyramid and drew lines to connect the point to the edges of the cubes.
The Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hey, and shin on the side of the dreidel stand for the Yiddish words that tell the player what to do. Here is what they look like and what they signify in the game:
The letter Nun stands for nisht or “nothing.” Player does nothing.
Gimel stands for gantz or “everything.” Player gets everything in the pot.
Hey means halb or “half.” Player gets half the pot (rounding up if there's an odd number).
Shin is for shtel ayn or “put in.” Player adds a game piece to the pot.
You need to cut the letters out of the sides of the dreidel to let the CPX lights inside shine through.
Draw or trace the letters on the sides of the dreidel in the order shown on the template above.
An easy way to cut them out by hand is to poke holes with a push pin all along the line.
Then use a pen or pencil to punch out the letters until the openings are wide enough to let light through.
Fold the middle of the body along the dotted lines between each square, as shown on the template. The blank side of the cardboard faces out. Fold each triangle along the bottom of each square in the same direction.
To make the pyramid bottom, match up the sides of the first and second triangles and tape them together. Continue all the way around. The tabs go inside the dreidel.
Use extra layers of tape if needed to seal up any cracks between the edges.
The lid is a 2 1/2 inch square with tabs around three sides. In the center is a hole for the straw which acts as a handle.
Fold up the tabs on the sides of the lids. (Unlike my prototype, you should keep the blank side of the cardboard on the outside.)
Use the template to locate the hole for the straw, or draw two lines connecting opposite corners of the square lid to find the center.
Use a pen or pencil to poke a hole for the straw. Make it just big enough for your straw to fit through.
Cut a piece of straw about 3 inches long. Make four short snips around the bottom. Fold out the resulting tabs.
Insert the straw through the hole so the tabs are on the underside of the lid. Tape the tabs securely to the lid.
Use generous amounts of tape to attach the lid firmly to the body of the dreidel.
Then attach peel-and-stick Velcro dots around the outside of the tabs, and the inside of the body, to keep the lid closed when you are spinning it.
All that's left for the dreidel build is to reinforce the tip and cover the letters.
The CPX and battery pack adds a lot of weight to the dreidel, so beef up the tip by filling it with hot glue. Just squirt some glue as far down as you can reach and let it harden. I used about one small-sized stick of glue.
To make a cover for the dreidel to hide the letter cut-outs, cut a strip of plain white paper 2 1/2 inches high and about 10 1/4 inches long. Fold it in half, then fold each half in half so the edges meet in the middle.
Use a glue stick or spray-on glue to attach the paper to the dreidel. Wrap the strip of paper around the middle, keeping it as smooth as possible.