Do your plants receive enough exposure to the natural sunlight? If not, they will show obvious signs such as stretching towards the sun, losing their shape, producing paler growth with small leaves, and even root rot since plants cannot use all the water they have been given.
To prevent that, you need to change their environment somehow, either by repositioning your plants to a sunnier spot or supplementing their exposure using grow lights.
Grow lights are an easy and affordable way to simulate daylight. Read on to learn how you can build a DIY grow light stand.
- 1. Plan Ahead to Make Grow Light Stand DIY
- 2. Find Inspiration
- 3. Sketch Your Light Stand
- 4. Prepare Your Tools
- 5. Build Your Grow Light Stand
1. Plan Ahead to Make Grow Light Stand DIY
Before endeavoring to construct a plant light stand, think in advance:
Type of the Plants
What plants are you going to grow under grow lights? Not all plants need full sun and some prefer to grow in the shade. Select those sun-loving ones that receive insufficient light.
Are these seedlings or mature, taller plants? This determines the distance between the plants and the lights, the intensity and duration.
How many plants are going to be lit by one source? This will influence the number of lights you need since one light should be used for only few plants grouped together.
Type of Lights
What type of lights will you be using? How many of them do you need? Flowering and foliage plants have different needs and this affects the color spectrum. Familiarize yourself with how to choose and use grow lights.
Where are you going to cultivate your plants? How big is the growing area?
Dust the area regularly and if painting, choose white since it reflects light best and fill the room with mirrors.
Do you have at least two outlets near the place where you are going to position your grow light for indoor plants?
The more, the merrier, because you will need them for lights and heat mats and an extension cord might not suffice.
Make sure not to overburden your outlet since it can pose a risk. Keep all cords together, protected from the water.
Assess how much money the light stand will cost and compare the price to other products. Choose the option that is most cost-effective, durable and efficient.
Shop in your own home
Take a look around and see if you can make use of any old shelf or materials. This will save you some money.
2. Find Inspiration
Check out some creative designs on the Internet if you have a hard time thinking of your own.
It would come in handy if your relatives have a knack for constructing this type of furniture. You can also ask other gardeners or plant lovers for advice.
3. Sketch Your Light Stand
It is always a good idea to make some kind of architectural design or a drawing, at least.
That will help you with the design and also lead you to think about:
- the dimensions of the grow light stand
- the material: wooden, PVC, metal, or some other
- the color – will it be aesthetically pleasing and serve a decorative purpose, too
- vertical (taller) or horizontal (longer)
- is the light going to be hanging or attached to the wooden piece of the fixture
- are there going to be shelves and how many of them
4. Prepare Your Tools
Once you have your sketch ready, it is time to prepare your tools.
The selection of tools you will need depends on whether you have decided to buy separate items (shelf, lights, heat mats) and assemble the stand or construct the stand from the scratch.
If you are constructing your own light stand from wood, you will need:
- scaffolding boards
- some old posts
- electric drill
- Tape measure
- Instructions or a drawing
- Circular saw
- Speedbor spade bit set
- Chain links or S-hooks, screw-in hooks for lights above the ceiling
- Curved claw hammer
- Framing nailer
- Two wooden broom handles
5. Build Your Grow Light Stand
Your DIY grow lights or grow light shelves should be:
To build your grow light stand, you should first prepare all the necessary parts of the fixture, assemble it, install lights and other vital elements. Only then can you position your plants under the lights and start reaping the benefits of this new method of cultivation.
Prepare the parts
Regardless of whether you are making a stand of your own from the scratch or combining ready-made elements that you have bought, you need:
- A shelf or a similar construction
- Grow lights
- Heat mats
- Optional: trays
1. Making it from the scratch
You can construct a shelf on your own, from wood or metal, or use an old one.
Or you can construct something like this.
Follow these steps to make it:
- First, cut the scaffolding boards by using a framing nailer and a circular saw according to the dimensions in your sketch. You need:
- one board for the left side
- one for the right side
- one to be the ceiling
- two boards combined and fixed together that will go straight across and be able to move up and down through the fixture
- few more boards to make the base of the stand
- Next, make the top of the scaffolding boards smooth using sandpaper or a sander. You can also treat the boards using wood treatment or paint the boards if you want.
- Drill about seven holes on what should be the left and right side of the stand using a spade bit so that you will be able to adjust the distance between the lights and the plants.
- Create the frame of the fixture and drill it together.
- Construct the part that goes straight across through the fixture. Place one board in front of the fixture, one board behind it. Cut two squares from another board and use the electric drill to attach them to the boards.
- Prepare the floor pads or similar construction that will ensure stability.
- Now you have all the pieces to assemble the stand.
- Attach the light to the board that goes through the fixture.
- Put wooden handles through the holes on the right and the left side to hold the light.
2. Buying a shelf
Since the process of constructing the light stand or shelf can be tiring, the easier way is to buy one.
You can buy this adjustable shelving unit if you need a three- or four-tier shelf or this one if you need five shelves. Both of them are open shelves that are easily adjustable.
Once you have the construction which will be your light stand ready, it is time to install the grow lights.
Make sure you are familiar with the types of lights and know which one will fit the needs of your plants best.
In case you are making the light stand as in the picture above, you can buy this full-spectrum light with a reflector or the usual LED light tube with a red and blue spectrum. Consider the length of the tube as it needs to fit in between the construction you have made.
You can also use these for the shelf, but it might be a better option to get this full-spectrum light that is perfect for seedlings. Hang the lights with the hook to keep them higher or metal strings to position the light closer to the plants.
Install the lights according to the instructions.
Since both light stands, the shelf and the stand in the picture above, are easily adjustable, you won’t have to worry about the lights being too close to the plants.
This is an optional step, but a highly recommended one since heat mats provide additional heat to support the plants’ root system.
They can vary in size, but it is better to buy a shorter one for practical reasons and they support the growth of seedlings. Make sure they are waterproof and that they have a long cord that extends from your stand/shelf to the power outlet or extension cord.
This two-pack waterproof heat mat is highly recommended and will support the growth of your seedlings.
Power strips/ outlets
Depending on how many lights and heat mats you are using, you will need a few power strips or outlets.
Getting a power strip that has a timer is the most rewarding option. You can find similar options.
If you are getting these items separately, plug the power strips into a timer which should then be plugged into the wall.
Optionally, you can buy some trays on which you will position your plants to catch water, such as these multi-purpose trays.
Putting it all together
Now that you have all the necessary elements of the light stand, it is time to put it all together.
Put your plants under grow lights on the heat mats and/ or plant trays.
New Plant Year can finally begin.
One of the ways in which you can see marvelous buds and flowers outside the growing season is by using grow lights which supplement plants’ natural exposure to the sunlight.
Getting a plant shelf with the lights installed can be expensive. Luckily, you can always make a DIY light stand, either from a store-bought or handmade base.
It is much more cost-effective to buy each element separately if you don’t have the tools to make a stand.
The total cost of the shelf, the grow lights, the power strip with a timer, the heat mats and the trays is over 200 dollars, which can be lowered if you omit heat mats and trays.
The process of constructing a grow light stand is made easier by designing a stand according to your needs and the needs of your plants, using what you already have, looking for separate elements and comparing their prices on various websites.
That will help you create a stand that is functional, yet cost-effective.