Muse & Schmooze: Grown-Up Sukkot Crafting

I loved Sukkot as a kid—and not just because we ate under the stars for a week! I loved the holiday because it spoke to my craftiness; we spent hours in school stapling together paper chains, painting gourds and laminating harvest-inspired pictures to adorn the school sukkah.

Nowadays I don’t have a space to build my own sukkah, but I still like to look at this holiday as a fun excuse to get crafty and decorate for the fall season. From old-school fun to chic contemporary, here are five harvest-inspired crafts to decorate your own sukkah or home:

  • Make paper chains: These are classic! They’re fun and easy to make with friends over a bottle of wine (or with the kids!). Using any paper—colored, white, recycled newspaper or magazines—make strips that are about 1 to 1.5 inches wide and 8 to 9 inches in length. Make a loop and overlap the ends by about half an inch. Staple the ends together and keep adding strips to build a chain until it’s as long as you need to drape across a window, doorway or wall. For a meaningful touch, write quotes, thoughts, wishes or favorite words on the strips before you connect them to create a more personalized chain.
  • Create glitzy gourds: Yes, you can buy pre-decorated pumpkins and gourds in many places this season, but why not create your own? Get some small pumpkins or gourds at the local farm—Allandale Farm, Volante Farms, Wilson Farm, Russo’s—and use acrylic paint, Mod Podge water-base sealer and glitter to make your own glitzed-up variations. Just be sure to wash them well first so your paint or Mod Podge sticks. Use them as place cards to impress your guests by writing their names on the gourds!
  • Go with the grain: Hit up Boston Homebrew Supply for a beautiful array of grains—malt, corn, hops—that are safe for kids and easy to craft with. Use card stock or cardboard to cut out the shapes of etrogs, Torahs and palm trees; use white glue to adhere the grains in any pattern you choose. Want to also sample some harvest brews? Join New Center NOW on Sunday, Oct. 12, for a Sukkot-themed event in Brookline.
  • Make faux stained glass: Slices of dried orange, grapefruit and lemon look like stained glass and add a great smell to any space. Follow these simple instructions from Whole Foods Market to make these natural decorations.
  • Carve pumpkin candle holders: Carve out the tops of adorable mini pumpkins with a teaspoon to make space for tea lights. Use these seasonal candles to light your sukkah, Shabbat table or home.