It’s just the beginning of February here in the Pacific Northwest, but this year I’m determined to start my seedlings properly. And by “properly” I don’t just mean on time (although that would be nice too). This year I want a totally functional seed-starting station.
So what constitutes a seed starting station? There are seed trays, small pots, a warming mat and grow lights. I’ve collected all of those things over the past few years, and the truth is that none of them are very expensive. As you can see, I use cheap shop lights to hold full spectrum compact fluorescent bulbs.
But my set up is incomplete, because I don’t have an adjustable stand that will allow me to control the distance between the lights and my plants. This, I have learned, is a crucial part of any successful seed starting operation.
So this past weekend I spent $16 and about an hour of my time building a grow light stand out of rigid PVC pipe. It was actually much easier than I thought it would be. Assembling the stand took about 15 minutes. The rest of the time was spent at the hardware store getting all of the supplies.
Start at the End
Before we go any further, here’s a photo of the completed grow light stand.
You can probably figure out how to build your own stand just by looking at this one. The key features of this stand are:
- Inverted T-legs for the base.
- A header across the top to add stability.
- Using a slightly larger pipe and larger T connector to assemble the adjustable crossbar.
But if you want more detailed instructions, read on! The photo below shows you all of the pieces I needed for my particular design. Remember that this stand has been customized to fit into my small space…which is nothing more or less than a corner of my basement. So please use the dimensions I’m about to give you as a guideline.
1” Rigid PVC
2 pieces 35” long (used for the vertical supports)
1 piece 46” long (used for the header)
4 pieces 6” long (for the base)
2 90 degree elbow connectors
4 end caps
1 ½” Rigid PVC
1 piece 46” long (used for the adjustable crossbar)
2 Clamps (used to secure the crossbar in place)
Assembling My DIY Grow Light Stand
Assembling the grow light stand literally takes minutes. You’ll notice that I’m not using any glue on the PVC pipe. Not only does this make the project faster and simpler, it means I can modify the grow light stand if and when I come up with a better design.
The first step is to assemble a base and vertical support. As you can see in the picture it’s as simple as attaching 2 6” pipes to either end of the T connector. Use 2 end caps to seal the short pipes. Then add the 35” vertical support in the perpendicular position.
Now repeat that for the second side of the stand.
Once you have the base and vertical support assembled, put those aside and assemble the crossbar using the 1 ½” PVC. Just connect the 46” crossbar to the center (perpendicular) hole in the T connector. You’ll need one T connector on either end of the crossbar.
The larger diameter of the T-connector on the crossbar allows the crossbar to slide up and down on the vertical supports.
Before you go any further, place the crossbar T-connectors over the vertical supports. Let the crossbar slide down so that it is resting against the base pieces. This should provide enough stability for the structure to stand upright.
Now all you have to do is to use the 2 elbow connectors to attach the 46” long header (1” PCV) to the top of the vertical supports.
The last step is simply to raise the crossbar up to the desired position. Then use a clamp on either side to prevent the bar from slipping down again.
Here’s a photo of the completed grow light stand in position, ready to provide simulated sunshine to my seedlings. It’s time to garden!