Introduction: UPDATED! Simple DIY Sukkah - Build Your Own From PVC Pipe - Free Standing
Please review the PDF to see how you can build an amazingly sturdy custom-sized sukkah. The stability comes from the way the corners are put together. This year, my sukkah will be 8 feet long by 8 feet wide by 7 feet high. I think that 10 x 10 x 8 should be the maximum size. I RECOMMEND THAT YOU BUILD A SQUARE SUKKAH. SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE BUILT RECTANGULAR SUKKAHS AND REPORTED THAT THE DESIGN IS NOT AS STABLE. YOU CAN BUILD TWO SQUARE SUKKAHS AND PLACE THEM ALONGSIDE IF YOU WANT A BIGGER FOOTPRINT. I used 1.5" PVC for all the pipes.
The photos illustrate each of the steps:
The first two photos show some of the tools I used.
The different pieces necessary for the sukkah are displayed in the next photo. There is also a close-up of what the corner elbow looks like.
The next three photos are devoted to creating the base. One picture shows how the T-shaped connectors are attached to the base. The 4 corners sections are formed by a 90 degree elbow with one foot pieces attached at each end. The base is assembled by tamping the corner sections into the "T" connectors. (Note: the open end of each "T" must face directly upward for it will be receiving the uprights.)
Once the base is created, the following two photos show you how the uprights looked when tamped in. One photo shows the first upright. The other photo shows all 8 uprights connected.
The roof is essentially the mirror image of the base, with the "T"s facing downward.
There were just two of us assembling the sukkah, so instead of building the entire "roof" and lifting it onto the uprights, we did it piece by piece. One photo shows the first horizontal roof piece being tamped into place and the next photo shows the corner section being added once two horizontal roof bars had been connected.
The final photo shows my friend Robin's sukkah, built according to these plans prior to being decorated. I think she found it an easy plan to follow.
To decorate: What I did once for the wall covering was to take bedsheets and sew on straps at the top so the they could be tied onto the head rails. The last time I built it, I bought inexpensive tab curtains, 12 panels in all. The tabs can fit over the PVC before the "T"s are tamped into place. For the roof schach, you can lay bamboo poles or thinner pipes across the top and throw greenery on top of them. If the poles aren't long enough, you can lay them diagonally across the corners. The person who first built this structure stretched fabric across the top and knotted it to the head rails. Greenery can be added on top of this.
Words to the wise: If you are storing your sukkah for a year, check the glued "T"s and the corner connections each year before building. Super glue is super - but it needs to be checked over. You can also use PVC cement - but get the clear kind. Whatever you use, make sure the connections haven't come loose. If they have, just re-glue or use a stronger glue. Note: you need not use any glue at all. It is fine to just tamp joints really hard with the rubber mallet. Up to you.