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A Jalapeno Pepper Suncatcher

The ristas seen in New Mexico inspired this colorful jalapeno suncatcher project. Peppers strung with beads make a great gift for chili lover in your life. 

how to make a rista with peppers


I was going to call this a jalapeno pepper suncatcher rista but thought: why such a complicated name for such a simple project?   This is very easy and inexpensive to make and I think it’s darn right pretty.  It would be a very fitting homemade gift for that person in your life who likes it on the hot and spicy side.  I’m talking about food of course!

I’m not sure that you know what ristas are so you can see examples of them here.  I am by no means a professional rista maker so my version is extremely scaled down and simplified.  I’ve been to New Mexico in the fall and they can be seen for sale at roadside stands and hanging on doors, gated and fences.  They’re such a very vibrant and colorful sight.  One of the farmers at our Santa Barbara Farmers Market sells them for a few weeks starting in late October and that was part of the inspiration of this project.

This year, late summer and early fall were hotter than usual so it seemed that the array of peppers in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes was over the top abundant.  One of my favorite farmers had these red jalapeños which were so big and so ripe that the skin had striations running through it.  I was going to use them in an  arrangement but decided that they deserved a more of a starring role.

Here I am at my work table in the garage making this jalapeno suncatcher:

Ingredients I used for this project:

Peppers;  the variety totaled 19.

Beads; lightweight & plastic with a lot of shimmer.

Needle & Thread; a medium sized needle which easily went through the stem but didn’t split it.

Here are the steps:

1- Double thread the needle to a length of about 12″.  The length can vary depending on how long you what the finished project to be.

2- Knot the beads at the bottom.

3- Thread the peppers through their stems at 45 & 90 degree angles.  This angling makes the peppers lie a bit differently, giving them a bit more interest.

4- Alternate the beads with the peppers using as many as you want to add a touch of sparkle.

5- Knot off at the top bead & tie a loop for hanging.

Total cost for me to make this:  $3.75

By the way, if you’re looking for another edible homemade gift inspiration, then be sure to check out this herb and citrus swag.


The peppers stay soft and fresh looking for at least two weeks.  They will slowly start to dry but still hold their color.  I ended up giving this jalapeno suncatcher to Jaz who was filming me because she makes salsa quite often.  There are other many peppers you could use but these red and green ones had the Christmas look.  This makes a great gift for the chili lover in your life or something colorful and fun to hang in your kitchen.

Happy (hot, spicy & colorful!) Holidays,

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