8 Easy Steps to Build Your Own Grow Light Stand (from Scratch)
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
Our living room turns into a nursery in early spring, and into a forest by late spring. And trying each year to start more seeds than ever makes running out of space just a matter of time.
Thinking vertical seems the way to go.
When processing an idea and designing a project I favour more and more the multi purpose approach to anything I build so it's worthwhile the space it takes up.
To begin, grab some paper and just jot down ideas and measurements for fitting the space(s) your creation can occupy in and outside of your house if needed. My grow light stand can also be a very sturdy shelf or a winter garden, a micro seeds growing rack during the summer after the spring seedlings have been planted outside. It can be moved around easily as it is on wheels.
Tools and Supplies needed:
left over, salvaged (or purchased) building wood
screws (1", 2" and 3 ")
4 wheels (optional)
LED lights (I really like these lightweight full spectrum Barrina lights )
(water level is helpful)
Step by Step Instruction
Step 1: Find Wood
We don't have a great wood storage area yet. But we've been tackling enough building and taking apart building projects on the farm that I just had to dig a little under the snow to uncover some building material that's in pretty good shape.
With lots of 2x6 and 2x10 timber I decided to cut some of it lengthwise, just to take off some of the bulkiness.
Step 2: Cut to Length ("=inches and '=feet)
According to my design I had sketched on a piece of paper I needed 4 posts @2"x2" in 5' length, five shelves* @22"x52" and ten end pieces @2"x2"x22".
* The length of my led lights are 4 feet. So I decided to hang the shelves on the end pieces to fit the LED lights on the bottom and 4 seedling trays on top.
The width of the boards you use for the shelves can vary depending on what you have around. I used one 2x10 and one 2x6 with a nice gap in between.
When you cut your timber, and especially if you are recycling with possibly old nails or screws stuck in the wood, wear safety glasses. That's my bare minimum standard. And whatever standards for safety you have, do follow them.
My tools are fairly rudimentary. I cut everything with my circular saw. (In fact I've build a whole small house with that saw. I do love it!) You can use a miter saw, table saw or a hand saw, whatever suits you.
Cut all the pieces to length. If needed, cut some 2x6 timbers lengthwise by placing them on two equally long timbers with a gap big enough to leave room for the saw blade. I did that for my 2x2 posts and some of the shelf end pieces.
Step 3: Sand Everything
It makes it look nicer, be safer, and absorb the stain or paint better at your finishing stage.
Step 4: Assembly
Start at the bottom. Drill the shelf end pieces to the shelves. (If you are using thinner boards for your shelves you might want to screw the shelves on to the end pieces instead of the end pieces on to the shelves.)
Then screw the four posts to the shelves using longer screws (>2.5")
Important: Screwing the posts to the sides of the shelf board grabs the grain better than screwing it to the shelf end pieces and will provide more stability. Also I pre-drill all the holes for the screws.
It's a bit wobbly at this stage. But it will gain stability with each shelf you add and 2 corner pieces at the end.
Measure from top of each self 13 inches (or more if you'd like more space for taller plants) and pencil mark it. That's where your next shelf will go. Keep building it up. You may require a helper (or a box or a stack of books) to hold the shelf in place while you put in the screws.
Step 5: Stability
Your stand should already be quite stable by the time you're done installing the top shelf. But a couple of simple corner pieces will do the ultimate trick.
Place them on the top or bottom on what you choose to be the back side of your stand. Fit them with 4 screws. Done.
Step 6: Wheels
This is optional, but helps immensely with moving around a heavy duty 4'x5' shelf like this one. four smallish rubber or plastic swivel wheels will do the trick. They should have a stopper for when you need the shelf to just stay put. Fit 4 wheels to the bottom of your stand.
Step 7: Painting Finishing
The stand is built and it is functional and looks awesome as is.
I did decide to stain it with an old urethane oak stain I had sitting around. You can decide to paint, stain, colour wash or varnish it. If you're using one of the stronger VOC emitting products, make sure you're working in a well ventilated area. Give it a couple of weeks to off-gas before putting your planter trays on it. Also bear in mind that preciously painted or treated wood may not absorb a lot of stain. I made the mistake to not wipe off the excess stain and it dried to a sticky surface in the end. Oh well....
Step 8: LED Light Assembly
Here's a low tech solution to adjustable height of the lighting: string and drill holes :o)
Normally I would have used loop screws, but I had none around. So I decided to drill a hole through the top of each shelf for each light (two lights for each shelf) threading a string with 4 or 5 loop knots for adjustable height through it. Fasten it simply by hooking it onto a screw above the drilled hole.
This is totally improvised. If you come up with a different and more functional solution, do let me know.
Use thinner wood for lighter shelves. 1x6 and 1x8 will certainly work. Or salvaged, recycled finished shelf pieces if you can find them long enough.
Of course you can use the same design for 2 ft long shelves if that's the size grow lights you have or want to just fit it into a smaller space.
It's done. If you can operate a saw and don't mind handling timber in a robust, creative and fit for your purpose kind of way you can build this in less than a day. With your toddler and other fun duties getting in the way you might give it a day and a half.
I hope you'll be inspired, or just nudged to get this project going. Let the growing begin.