UPDATED! Simple DIY Sukkah - Build Your Own from PVC Pipe - Free standing

Happy 5775!

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 although you can build several frames and place them together.  I NOW RECOMMEND THAT YOU BUILD A SQUARE SUKKAH.  SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE BUILT RECTANGULAR SUKKAHS AND REPORTED THAT THE DESIGN IS NOT AS STABLE.

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 and the 4 (90 degree elbows with the one foot piece attached at each end of the elbow).  The base is assembled by tamping the corner sections into the "T" connectors.  

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.

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 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.  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. Super glue is super - but it needs to be checked over.  Make sure the connections haven't come loose.  If they have, just re-glue or use a stronger glue.  
LlAF made it!10 months ago

I made this sukkah- it ended up being 10' x 10' x 8' :) I used clear PVC cement instead of the superglue (did not prime however), and it held up to the wind fine -even though we live on a hillside and do have wind. We used five 3" x 1" for beams across the top, with just some light branches cut from trees on our property. The branches did fall down in the wind, but the sukkah swayed and didn't fall (the beams were tied to the top with twine, this may have helped with stability). It wasn't really big so we used a small brass table and just brought in cushions depending on how many people were coming over. I used one wide piece of unbleached muslin (11 yards) to go around the entire sukkah on three sides and it also covered the two pillars in front, and then tried to clip it tight enough so that it wouldn't billow out at all. Thank you so much for posting the plans, we love our sukkah and it has been a lot of fun to celebrate sukkot this year :)

Emanex311 months ago

This design looks awesome. I want to build a more rectangular sukkah,

Dimensions: L =10ft, W = 6ft and H = 6.5ft. Do you think that it would have the same stability as the more square design?

ESocolov (author)  Emanex311 months ago

Hi. Please note that the person who built a rectangular sukkah did have some issues which *might* have been caused by the rectangular structure. See discussion above. Good luck!

laltenburg made it!11 months ago

We just finished making ours. 8' x 10' x 7'. It's important to ensure the non-glued joint locations are well malletted else they will come apart. We used garden netting and sisal twine across the top to help hold up the s'chach. Home Depot carries 6' x 16' bamboo garden fence that works great for the sides. All in all it took about an hour or so with one person to build the frame the first time. Very easy and much cheaper than those kits you can buy elsewhere.

ESocolov (author)  laltenburg11 months ago

Very nice and I guess the rectangular structure worked for you. Looks nice and cozy in there. Thanks for the picture!

ESocolov (author)  ESocolov11 months ago

Thanks for all the details. Maybe the design needs to be square? Perhaps it is the rectangular element that gave you issues. Keep me posted!

Update - The sukkah collapsed today from the wind and probably the weight of the s'chach. Will reassess structural integrity tonight and potentially adding other solvent weld points...

ESocolov (author)  laltenburg11 months ago

That is terrible! Did you use superglue the joints? Maybe use the clear pvc cement - but make sure the space is well ventilated. I have never had this sukkah collapse - even in a storm. So sorry.

I used PVC solvent weld, and those joints were fine. (I do not recommend superglue on this size - use actual solvent weld with primer to ensure the joint does not come apart.)

Last night we rebuilt the structure and did not put s'chach back on. We put some of the bamboo siding on as the roof so there would be no weight on the structure overnight. We also rope tied the roof level as shown in the attached diagram. The rope adds cross tension to the roof level to keep it more stable.

However overnight the structure still shifted and tilted from the wind. The roof remained intact, but it was clear that Assemblies A and B have nothing preventing them from rolling or rotating. So, depending on what happens during the day today, I will likely apply new solvent welds to the base points indicated below in green. This will make the A and B assemblies into L shapes with a 90° angle that should prevent them from rolling or twisting. If the structure is still standing when I get home from work, I plan to only solvent weld the base level as the roof level is already rope tied and rather taught. If it collapses again, I'll solvent weld the roof assemblies as indicated on the diagram.

Hopefully that will help. I'll post more pictures tonight.

ESocolov (author) 11 months ago

Hi. This year our sukkah was 107" x 107" x 86". (Cut pieces were 75" & 12" for base pieces and 84" for the height). This way we could lay 10ft pieces of cedar across the roof and they fit perfectly. I am getting four cheap full-sized flat sheets and sewing ribbon/webbing ties along the long side to tie them at the roof line. Each sheet is 87" x 102" so they should fit perfectly. Will post final picture. Sukkah looks great. A friend made a string of apples to go across. If the squirrels stay away they should dry perfectly.

ryoun81 year ago
E - what did you use across the top? Are there bars or slats or something under the fabric? I'm going to have Avi tie string across the top (I hate climbing on stepladders). Got the walls up - pictures coming soon!
ESocolov (author)  ryoun81 year ago
We lay bamboo stalks (which we happened to have) across the corners since they aren't long enough to go the full span of sukkah. Then we throw boughs on top. I have contemplated making it smaller so that it will be easier to roof (but then it will hold fewer people). Just make the pipes between the "T"'s shorter next year. You can also just drape fabric across the top for the roof. Can't wait to see those pictures!
justjimAZ1 year ago
I like it.
I think you'd get more views and votes if you actually typed the instructions up an posted them with pictures. Even pictures with the sukkah disassembled would be nice.
I voted for you.
ESocolov (author)  justjimAZ1 year ago
Thanks. You are right! I will do that tomorrow when we build the sukkah! Step by step with images is the way to go.
Looking forward. Good luck in the contest!
ESocolov (author)  justjimAZ1 year ago
Hi. Added photos - but could figure out how to do the "step by step" version. Maybe I had to do it at the start. Thanks for your comments.
The photos should help you get more appreciation!