DIY Grow Lamps for Spring Seedlings

DIY Grow Lamps

Ah, Spring…

You aren’t tired of hearing about seed starting yet, are you? Nah, I didn’t think so.


This year was my second year starting seeds indoors – and I was determined to go BIG or go home!  Ok, so I was already home – but you catch my drift.  Remember all of those seeds I purchased?  Seed starting went more smoothly this year – amazing how having a plan helps things!


The one thing, however, that I DIDN’T have was lights.


Ah, grow lamp set-ups.  You are pretty and nice.  You are also expensive.  Oh, and did I mention: I don’t like to spend money.


See my dilemma?


I just KNEW that I could find a way to do this cheaper – and by cheaper, I mean less money, NOT crappy quality.   Got me?


Ready to see what I came up with?


First stop was the local thrift store.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for, but I was keeping my options open.  Imagine my excitement when I found two identical light fixtures, each able to hold 4 bulbs, for only 3 bucks each!  Score!


Next up was the hardware store.  I first looked at grow light bulbs – Um, excuse me?  6 bucks per bulb?!  Nah, I’ll pass.  But I figured I could do 4 of the grow light and 4 regular fluorescent bulbs, alternating them in the light fixtures.  I purchased four (bulbs) similar to these for the grow lightbulbs and four bulbs similar to these for the regular fluorescent lightbulbs.  My last purchase at the hardware store was two light cords (like these) and 4 ceiling hooks to pull it all together.

DIY Grow Lamps


Once home, my dear hubby spliced the light cords into the fixtures.  I had previously decided that the BEST place for my seedlings was still on my moveable island, so we suspended the light fixtures above the seedlings using the ceiling hooks and fishing line.  As the seedlings grow, we will be able to adjust the height easily with the fishing line.  We started with the light about 2 to 3 inches from the seedling tops.

 DIY Grow Lamps

Last thing to do is to screw in the light bulbs and position the seedlings.


Voila!  There you have it – DIY grow lights for a fraction of the cost of a commercially produced set-up.

DIY Grow Lamps


Oh, and I should probably add:  My seedlings went nutso when I added the light – finally growing out, not just up!


What kind of set-up do you have for your grow-lights?


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15 thoughts on “DIY Grow Lamps for Spring Seedlings

  1. Congratulations on your second seed starting season.

    One more suggestion to save even more money, skip the grow lights. I’ve been using regular shoplights with fluorescent bulbs for years. I don’t buy grow bulbs, but try to get full spectrum bulbs (as close to 5000k as possible), which are relatively cheap.

  2. Another great trick, which may not work in your set up but does work wonders with the shop light is to hang foil from the edge of your lights. This concentrates the light around the plants and reduces the leggy issues we sometimes run into. We had great success with it in my classroom the last two years just using simple shop lights.

  3. It seems as if all the plants are growing well under such grow lights. I will definitely consider such lights for my garden too. Thank you very much for such a benevolent post.

  4. Great setup! To keep excited seedlings from “spindling” or getting “leggy”, make sure to either set up a small fan to act as wind on them, or gently brush your hand across each one several times daily (kids love to do this). This activates the fibres that strengthen the stalks and keeps your seedlings more compact and healthy.

  5. I have a grow rack that my neighbor (back in the city) gave me when she bought a couple of those expensive ones you mentioned. I’m thrilled that I now have room in the house to do it. In the city we put the rack and seedlings in the garage and because it was so cold we would have to wrap it in plastic. Not very easy to water 🙂

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