Whoever thought of sending kids on a search and rescue mission to find the hidden afikomen as a way to get them through the long Passover Seder had to be one smart cookie. This DIY matzah cover is a parchment-lined envelope made of stiffened felt–perfect for keeping the matzah fuzz-free and unbroken.
If you’re not of the Jewish faith, you’re probably wondering, what the heck is Seder or an afikomen? We consulted Lenni, our resident bubbe (Yiddish for ‘grandmother’), for her explanation.
The Passover Seder is a ceremonial meal that takes place the first and sometimes second night of this eight-day springtime holiday. It is steeped in tradition, wine, unique food deemed ‘kosher’ for Passover, more wine and that flat-as-a cracker unleavened bread known as matzah.
The afikomen is the portion of the matzah that’s hidden. Once found, kiddos are usually rewarded with money and the afikomen is eaten to signify the end of the meal.
Why matzah and not regular bread or leavened foods? Basically, after 10 plagues and the demise of Pharaoh’s first-born son by the ‘Angel of Death,’ Pharaoh relented and allowed the Hebrew slaves to leave Egypt (think ‘Ten Commandments’). They didn’t have enough time to bake bread and let it rise, as they were eager to get on the road.
Today, the house is cleansed of all products having grains as a reminder of the exodus, so ditch the bread, cookies and cake until the end of the holiday—it’s a great way to get you started on that diet!
DIY matzah cover instructions
- Everyday Dishes & DIY matzah cover diagram
- 2 − 9" x 12" sheets white stiffened felt
- pencil and ruler
- scissors or rotary cutting tool and cutting mat
- parchment or waxed paper
- hot glue
- 4 straight pins
- embroidery thread and needle (optional)
- Everyday Dishes & DIY Star of David printable
- white card stock
- self-adhesive letter stickers
- 2" strip of Velcro, cut in half
- Download the Everyday Dishes & DIY matzah cover diagram printable and open in Adobe Reader. This is just for reference, so no need to print unless you want to.
- Stiffened felt doesn’t come in the normal 8.5" x 11" size and naturally, that’s the size needed for our matzah cover, so first things first. Place one sheet of stiffened felt on your work surface so the longer side is vertical.
- Using a pencil and ruler as your guide, mark it accordingly then trim it to 8.5" x 11" using scissors. If you’re a perfectionist and want a really straight cut, use a rotary cutting tool but you’ll need to get out a cutting mat.
- To make the flap of the envelope, fold the top corners over to form a point (if in doubt, check out our illustration). Mark the folds then cut along the marks using scissors.
- Grab your second sheet of stiffened felt, measure, mark and cut it to 8.5" x 7". Place it on top of the first piece to match the 3 edges—don’t worry if they’re a smidgeon off. Once you’ve got it sized, remove it and set it aside.
- Next, cut 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper slightly smaller than the 8.5" x 7" to act as a liner for the envelope—no one wants felt fuzz on their matzah! Supervise the kids if you let them dab very small amounts of hot glue along the edges of one piece of parchment paper.
- Center the paper on the 8.5" x 7" piece of felt, press lightly to adhere then repeat the process, this time placing parchment on the felt piece with the flap.
- Place both pieces of felt together so the parchment liner faces each other, temporarily securing the corners with straight pins. Teach the kids to sew a running stitch along the bottom and sides using embroidery thread and needle, or skip the sewing and use hot glue to make it even easier.
- Download the Everyday Dishes & DIY Star of David printable and open in Adobe Reader. Print on white card stock and cut out only the outer edges of the Star of David. Center it to the front of the envelope then attach with hot glue.
- Place self-adhesive letter stickers underneath the star to spell ‘afikomen’ or ‘matzah.’ Make sure you get the spelling right!
- The last step is to attach Velcro tabs to the envelope flap so it will close when folded.
- Place a piece of matzah inside the envelope and hide it. Be ready to hand out some cash when the afikomen is found!