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  • Kevin O'Rourke

How to Build Custom Grow Lights

Bear Bottom Acres | Kevin shows you step by step how to build custom growing lights for starting seeds indoors. Watch him take you step by step through this easy wiring project.

In one of our previous videos we addressed our seed starting needs by first purchasing some indoor/outdoor green houses. We chose them for two reasons. First we liked the plastic covering which would make them "cat proof". The second was that they were so inexpensive, only $30. We actually went back and purchased 3 more because they were on sale for only $20 apiece. The problem is that they were only 23" wide. The grow lights that we previously purchased were 24" and with the fixture they were 27" long.

Initially I wasn't worried because if you look on line I could find the same thing in a 22" or an 18" model. When I went to go and actually purchase them they were discontinued. I couldn't find any anywhere including Amazon. I looked at the manufacturer's website and I think they are phasing out fluorescent bulbs and will be doing exclusively LED's. So In retrospect if we started from scratch and figured out the total cost we might have done something different.

We ended up going with a flood light set up. The problem with this is the total height. It was so tall that we took our 4 shelf greenhouses and made them into 2 shelf models. Not a big deal because we just purchased 3 more for $60. We also love how at the end of the season we will be breaking them down and storing everything very easy.

So the wiring for this grow light set up is very easy. You need wire, I went with 14 gauge wire. The amount you need is dependent on how many you are doing and the height of your shelves. The light socket were only $1.09. You also need electrical tape, a handful of wire nuts and some boards to mount to. The expensive part is the bulb; $9 each. We did 5 grow houses at two shelves a piece and two light bulbs per shelf. That is $180 in bulbs. We are also doing one more set up with 4 bulbs per shelf so that is $72 in bulbs.

It is a number of small decisions that can really add up. I do not feel like we overspent and if we decide to do something different I can reuse and reconfigure any of the components. The only thing is that if we would have cleared out room in a space that would be closed off from the cats maybe we would have choose something different. But who can dedicate a room? Also part of the fun is seeing these grow. If you lock them away you might not attend to them as well out of sight out of mind.

The Big take away is that wiring your own lights in a simple series or parallel circuit is a snap and nothing your should fear.


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