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Lighting Your Sukkah

Lighting Your Sukkah


Sukkot is my favorite Jewish holiday. I love the autumn weather and eating in the sukkah. After all, the sukkah is really a dining room that just happens to be outdoors. We eat so many meals during the week-long holiday—some daytime meals, and other meals at night—that lighting is a must.

I say, as long as you need lights, why use industrial light bulbs from a home improvement store, when it’s an opportunity to do something fabulous and really make a statement! It’s fun to put together a light fixture from materials you may not think of using for a chandelier—it will become a great conversation piece for your holiday table. Here are a few light fixtures I made over the past few years . . .

Two years ago, I created this modern “Soho”-like fixture out of plastic cups! It was huge, and really made our plain sukkah look extraordinary.

The materials I used were 9-oz. plastic cups, a pliers stapler and wood clothespins. The first thing you need is the pliers stapler. I bought mine on Amazon, because I couldn’t find one locally. These are a must, because they reach into the cup and staple them together.

Using the pliers stapler, staple each cup to the one next to it. Next, start another row on top of the first one, using the clothespins to hold them in place and stapling them together.

After a while, it should look something like this:

For the light, I used a low-energy bulb that doesn’t get too hot, and wire to twist around the cord keep the cord from slipping. Here is a shot I took at night on my porch, where I made this before Sukkot.

(Caution: If it’s a rainy week, the cups can fill up with water!)

Last year, I made another chandelier from a large hula hoop and two packs of mini-LED lights.

After spray-painting the hula hoop orange, I simply wrapped the lights around the hula hoop and hung it from the sechach (roof) with floral wire.

The orange-colored lights gave off a beautiful glow! (I shot this on our porch, since the sukkah wasn’t going up for a few days.)

The next photo is from my book Jewish Holiday Style—I took the idea of a garden gazebo, and tried to create a sukkah with a garden-like feel.

The candelabra chandelier was used for the purpose of the photo only, but for safety purposes and longer lasting light, you can use an electric chandelier instead.

If you’re not already inspired, here are a few more I came across on the Web—all made from materials found around the house!

From top left: clothespin light, twine light, ping-pong ball light, soda-can tab light, plastic spoon light, basket light.

What will you do for sukkah lighting this year?

Rita Brownstein is a designer and former art director. She is the author of Jewish Holiday Style and Jewish Weddings (published by Simon & Schuster), and currently blogs at
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Pennywhistler Trenton, NJ September 18, 2013

Outdoor electrical safety I am rather disappointed that no mention was made of the safety issues involved in using electrical wiring outdoors in the rain. Local safety codes may also be involved, too.

I strongly suggest such information be added (or links posted) to avoid a potential holiday tragedy. Reply

Moshe Yitzhak ben Pinchas Poconos September 18, 2013

Clean, empty, all-plastic 18-oz. peanut butter jars with mini- or micro-twist CFL's make great, custom-placement 'jelly jar' string lights. Using North American materials, pressure-connect polarized, UL-rated (CSA in Canada) temporary lamp sockets through polarized black, brown or white AWG 16-2 lamp cord and polarized, 2-wire male plug. The wider [Neutral] blade of the plug and ALL the socket shells must share the same side of the wire pair. As with most Chinese imports, the reason green wire usually costs a few cents less is that although it may SEEM environmentally friendly, it cannot keep the 115- or 230-volt electricity inside your walls from killing you. Fastening string lights with nylon ties is safer. Safety is paramount. Hashem gave us the Sefer Torah, NOT the safer Torah. Actor Chevy Chase demonstrated in "National Lampoon Christmas Vacation' that do-it-yourself lighting projects are not a good idea for everyone. Reply

fayga September 17, 2013

Great ideas and so creative! Thanks for sharing! Reply

Hana-Bashe Baltimore, MD USA September 16, 2013

Great article! I just wish you'd posted it like a month ago. No time left to make these cool projects. L'shana haba'a b'Yerushalayim!! ♥ Reply

Home decorating and crafting projects for the do-it-yourselfer.
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