Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Frugal Friday #2: Grow Light Fixture

Today we made another grow light for our seedlings. Store-bought grow lights are pretty expensive, so after doing some research and combining a few ideas, here’s what we came up with.

We started with the cheapest double-sided light fixture from the hardware store. The wires had to be routed up through the top of the fixture, with the threaded knob facing up.  We cut the female end off an extension cord so we could splice the wires together.

For the hood, we used 6″ diameter aluminum duct work/dryer vent, cut down to a 2 foot length. (We actually scored this for free; the hardware store was out of this particular size, and a customer nearby overheard and gave us a piece he happened to have in his truck.)  Threaded rods were drilled through each end for stability.

We exposed the wires of the extension cord and stripped the plastic off to expose the wire. Wire strippers are best for this job, but we used a box knife with great care.

We drilled a hole in the center of the aluminum hood and the center of the white plastic cap that came with the fixture, which allowed us to use it as a nut. The wires were threaded up through the top of the hood and the fixture was secured by tightening the plastic nut.  We then connected all three wires from the extension cord to the corresponding wires of the light fixture. As you can see below, yellow wire  nuts were used to make a tight connection and for safety.We wrapped the wires with electrical tape from the white plastic nut all the way up past the yellow wire nuts.

We used the threaded rods to hold the aluminum hood in the right shape. We planned to use nuts to secure the rods in place, but cutting the rods to size with bolt cutters left the ends uneven so nuts couldn’t be used. Instead, we used electrical tape on either side to prevent the hood from sliding.

This is our finished product. We will hang the fixture by attaching chain to the threaded rods on all four corners. We use compact florescent bulbs for energy efficiency, with low heat and high light output.

We’ll use this fixture for  more seedlings to be started this weekend!


3 responses to “Frugal Friday #2: Grow Light Fixture

  1. Bone February 28, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Do you know if this is more or less energy efficient than a store bought grow light?

    Very cool stuff regardless. Thanks for the info and inspiration.

  2. We Will Work for Food February 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Bone, is this another teaser question? … like what is organic 🙂
    The fixture itself isn’t more efficient, but using CFL bulbs makes it very energy efficient. Thanks for the comment and kind words!!

  3. Pingback: Getting Ready for Fall | Will Work for Food

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