TwinklePhone's Logo Icon Hitting your plants up with the best twinkle from grow lights.


By Austin Lee

Updated on August 21, 2018

A Quick Overview:

  • Cost: ~$150

  • Tools Needed: Rubber Mallet or Hammer

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Total Assembly Time: ~30 Minutes.

Materials Required

Item Number Approx. Price Where to Get It
48" wide wire shelf unit (L5-Tier Steel) 1 $75 Lowe's
48" long T8 fluorescent work lights with cords 2 $16 ea. Lowe's
Warm T8 fluorescent bulbs 2 $9 ea. Lowe's
Cool T8 fluorescent bulbs 2 $9 ea. Lowe's
Digital timer 1 $12 Amazon
Surge Protector 1 $10 Amazon
S-Hooks 4 $0.40 ea. Lowe's

Building your DIY Grow Light Setup

Step 1: Assemble & Install Your Shelf

Assemble your metal shelf, or if you already have one, install it where you want to grow your seedlings. My shelf is in daylight basement next to a south-facing window. Save the cardboard from the shelving box. Use it to line the shelves (to keep water from dripping on the shelf below). DIY-Grow-Light-for-Seedlings-6.jpg

Step 2: Assemble & Hang the Lights

Insert one cool bulb and one warm bulb in each fixture. Hang the lights along the length of one of the shelves, parallel to one another. Make sure the bulbs alternate warm-cool-warm-cool. Use the S-hooks to attach the chains to the shelf above. Adjust the chains so they are 1-2 inches above your plants. DIY-Grow-Light-for-Seedlings-7.jpg

Step 3: Program Your Timer

Program your timer according to its instructions. The lights should be on for about 14 hours per day. I have mine set to keep the lights on from 6 AM to 8 PM, 7 days a week.

Step 4: Plug In the Lights

Plug your lights into the surge protector. Plug the surge protector into the timer. Plug the timer into your extension cord/wall outlet. DIY-Grow-Light-for-Seedlings-11.jpg

Step 5: Watch Your Seedlings Thrive!

This is the fun part! You'll notice that your seedlings will no longer be spindly and weak, but stout and strong. Lettuce seedlings planted in a repurposed clamshell are strong and healthy about a month after being planted. DIY Grow Light for Seedlings-Cabbage and onion seedlings happily basking under the glow of our DIY grow light I've since added another shelf of lights. The other shelves are perfect for storage for my seed potatoes, watering can, and other plants awaiting warmer weather. Here's my station about a month after construction. I've added another shelf of lights, and remaining shelves house seed potatoes and other plants.