Lighting can make your sukkah magical. Choose simple colors, clusters of repeating shapes, and varying heights for a soft glow that fills your space. If you’re worried about something catching on fire that shouldn’t, try flameless LED tea lights. And please promise me that you will not use scented candles anywhere near where you’re serving food, ok? I dislike almost all scented things, but it particularly interferes with how you (and your guests) taste food, so stick to unscented or beeswax candles for the sukkah.
Here are 10 great options:
1. Mason Jar and Jute Lanterns
Mason jars are an obvious choice for outdoor lighting. They’re popular for a reason–cheap, classic, and readily available most places in the U.S.–but they can come off a little too twee. To do it well, choose uniform jars, and use just a few.This is a great example of a simple version, made with recycled jars and jute cord. Beautiful clustered together in groups of three.
This macrame variation could be done with the same materials.
Click here for the tutorial.
2. Tea Light Chandelier
I love the look of this tea light chandelier made of tulip-shaped jars, ball chain, and an upcycled cooling rack. The white pebbles in the bottom of each jar make them look more substantial and reflect the glowy light.
Click here for the tea light chandelier tutorial.
3. Leather and Glass Jar Lantern
One last example of a mason jar light done well. The leather and glass look beautiful and there’s a really lovely rivet detail (click here for the full tutorial and more pics).
4. Colorful Cubes
Perfect if you like happy colors and modern lines. Plus, it’s easier to pull off than it looks. These would work great hung from the roof, or on a tabletop like they are here.
Click here for the colorful cubes tutorial.
5. Super Simple Wire Tea Lights
No tutorial required. So simple, so functional. I can imagine these look a lot like Harry Potter-style floating candles at night. The wire coil could even keep young hands away from the flame.
6. Glowing Grapevine Orbs
I’ve seen a few versions of this idea, and I think it’s got a great work-to-final-product ratio going for it. This arrangement of 5 in two different sizes looks fantastic. Also one of them wanted you to make your own grapevine balls. Like, out of your extra grapevines. I did not include that one. You’re welcome.
Tutorials are linked under the photos, but the gist is: buy grapevine balls at a craft store, and wrap with string lights. If you can’t run an extension cord out to your sukkah, try solar-powered LED string lights. They charge during the day and then turn on automatically at night. We string them across the top of our sukkah and love the effect.
7. Succulent Chandelier
I have a thing for succulents. When we lived in Jerusalem, my partner would surprise me with succulents from the plant store down the street every once in a while. At some point he thought it was funny to call them Social Justice Succulents. I don’t know why. But I do love succulents, and I love social justice, so if you make this amazing chandelier–the base used to be a potrack, FYI, and be sure you have a strong support beam to hang it from–please call it your Social Justice Succulent Chandelier. Thank you.
(Note: You could also use air plants for this project, but they don’t give a shit about social justice, so screw those guys.)
8. Hula Hoop Chandelier
Ingenious. Try spray painting your hula hoop white or silver if you can’t find one in a color you like, and again, think about solar LED string lights for this project–I think they come in icicle style too.
Full hula hoop chandelier tutorial here.
9. Sweet Ribbon Lanterns
These look like simple hanging tea light holders from a big box store, made sweet and colorful with bold colored ribbon in shades of pink, plum, and lilac. No tutorial needed, just pick any three shades of a single color for a cohesive look.
10. Beaded Chandelier
OK, so this one doesn’t actually include lighting, but it would be so easy to add string lights here that I’m including it anyway. This could have gone terribly, terribly wrong. But the streamlined shape and big white beads really work. And it’s another one that’s easier than it looks.
Check out the full tutorial here.
Got a tip for sukkah lighting that doesn’t suck? Leave it in the comments, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.