If you are searching how to build a sukkah for the first time, and all you are finding are companies trying to sell you kits, then this post is for you.
I was so completely exasperated when we were trying to build our first sukkah. We wanted to celebrate Succot, and we wanted it to be EASY, and preferably inexpensive. Boy, it was a tough time trying to figure it out: plans that were either missing diagrams or pictures, videos were missing instructions, forum posts were missing information on hardware, etc.
So if you’re also trying to find some easy inexpensive plans for a sukkah, I have done all the searching for you. I will link out to the best plans that I found for constructing a sukkah from wood, metal or PVC. I also have a complete step by step guide to how we build a wood sukkah from easy materials found at Home Depot or Lowes!
Options for Building a Sukkah
Here are the best plans I found on the internet for how to build a sukkah. If you need really detailed instructions, go with one of these. I’ve noted why we bypassed these choices for our own sukkah.
Wood Sukkah with Screws and Bolts
Let’s start with these basic plans for an 8 by 8 feet sukkah made of wood. The pieces are attached using bolts, making it an economical choice! It was a bit involved with the cutting, so we passed on it. Though now with a bit more experience behind us, I might attempt it.
These plans are simple and complete for building a wood sukkah that is roughly 8 by 8 feet. I liked these the best initially but decided to pass because they involved cutting plywood, which we don’t have to tools to do. I did eventually base our design on these.
Here is another set of plans, but these are for a very large sukkah, at 16 by 24 feet. Too big for us!
Building a sukkah out of PVC seems like a popular and simple option. If that’s something you’re interested in doing- these plans seem well explained.
We chose not to build a PVC sukkah because we are trying to reduce our consumption of plastic. Wherever possible, we are choosing renewable materials.
Another option is to build a metal sukkah. I found these plans for building a sukkah out of galvanized steel. After looking at the cost of materials, we decided this was too expensive for our purposes at this point. However it could be a good option if you will be rebuilding it from year to year, particularly if it will be exposed to inclement weather.
Sukkah on a Rental Truck (for Apartment Dwellers)
Of course, Chabad comes to the rescue with a metal sukkah that can be built on top of a rental truck! Here’s the link, with the video, which makes this seem like a great option!
Cost of Building a Sukkah from Scratch
The plans we came up with, were the easiest and most simple of any of these designs. They involved picking up wood and brackets from Home Depot. All of this was done, with curbside pickup, and the plans do not involve any cutting whatsoever!
The cost of this wood sukkah was exactly 95 dollars, including the wood, screws, and brackets. The wood itself came in at around 45, but the special corner brackets added quite a bit to the total cost!
That said, using the corner brackets made this such an easy project, that we would definitely recommend the initial upfront cost. It saved us a lot of time and frustration!
The best part, of course, is that we can easily reuse all of the materials next year!
How to Build a Sukkah from Wood (Dimensional Lumber)
Step 1- Aquire the Materials
You will need:
- 11- 2 by 3 by 8′ pieces of wood (can also use 2′ by 4′): Unbranded 2 in. x 3 in. x 8 ft. Select Framing Stud
- 6 Corner Brackets: Simpson Strong-Tie RTC 18-Gauge ZMAX Galvanized Rigid Tie Corner for 2x Nominal Joist, 2×4 Nominal Post
- 2 Corner Brackets: Simpson Strong-Tie RTA 16-Gauge ZMAX Galvanized Rigid Tie Angle for 2x Nominal Joist/Post
- Screws Simpson Strong-Tie #8 x 1-1/4 in. #2 Phillips, Wafer-Head Wood Screw (100-Pack)
- String (at least 24 feet total)
- Fabric (for the walls)
- Tree clippings (for schach) + scrap wood to help attach it to the frame
- A Drill
Step 2: Mark where the brackets will go
We measured 8″ from both the top and the bottom of the wood. The marking will be for lining up the bottom of the corner brackets. Doing this with our 8 foot pieces of wood, meant that our “walls” would end up at exactly 80 inches tall.
Note 1: The corner brackets can stay on the wood when you disassemble the sukkah, if you have room to store them as is! Yay for less work!
Note 2: We completely disassembled ours, and therefore I will say that next year, we may want to only measure 6″ from top and bottom, so that our roof is a tad higher.
Step 3: Attach 3 Way Corner Brackets
Attach the corner brackets to the four vertical posts. Make sure to line up the horizontal bottom, with your marking.
Two brackets will face “left” and two will face “right”. See my very basic diagram for how this works.
Now that you have two pairs that look like this diagram, take one of the pairs, and attach two more brackets at the bottom marking. Excuse this drawing hack, but I think it demonstrates how to do it more easily.
Step 4: Attach horizontal wood
Now that you have your brackets on, it is very simple to slide in the horizontal pieces in. The pieces with 4 brackets on are your back wall. The other two are your fronts.
To attach your two side bottom supports, use the angle brackets. I marked those in blue on the picture below.
Your frame is complete! The sukkah stands on its own, and at this point we were able to move it pretty easily to stand where we wanted it in our yard.
Step 5: Attach Schach
Attach scrap wood and schach for the roof. Here’s the step I wish I had better directions for. We just used scrap wood and big branches, in a hodgepodge manner until it was mostly covered.
Step 6: Use string to attach walls
Tie string all around the upper frame. Attach wall pieces. We used clothes pins for our scrap fabric! So easy to put up!
The easiest wall pieces to attach are old curtain panels that already have loops built in.
You could also use bungee cords, or even small nails to attach your wall covering.
Step 7: Decorate and Enjoy!
The kids made us a bunch of paper decorations which we hung up with string. We moved in our table and chairs and were able to eat most of our meals in the sukkah!
Happy Sukkot! Have you built a sukkah before? How did it go?
P.S. Let me know if you end up using these plans in the comments!