Grow Cabinet Light Box

Person Author: Mark Calender January 14, 2015 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment 1 Comment

My how i made my light box grow cabinet for £40.

Originally i wanted to use an old chest of draws and convert it to a light box. However i do not have a garage or shed suitable so i had to think about having one in the house. This was not a problem but i didn’t really fancy a scrappy lump of wood with wires sticking out in my office. So i did some thinking and came up with my build. Hope you like it as much as i do.

I started off with a canvass wardrobe, A simple light weight structure that allowed a large space for my plants and also gave me the additional shelves for storage.

It did not take long to set up and for a mere £17 including delivery i really think it was a bargain. After all a tin of white gloss paint was going to cost around £15 just to make the first idea of a wooden cabinet look remotely reasonable in the house.

Having the main structure built i did start to wonder that the height would be an issue. As it is upright the floor space for my plants would only be 24 inches x 16 inches. I would have to build shelves on the inside so that i could utilize all the space possible.

This would take some pondering thoughts however i carried on and started to line the interior with reflective material.

Many people have made their own grow light boxes and used aluminium foil, the same we use to bake a chicken.

However i have always found foil to be very easy to tear and i thought it would need replacing or taping together more often than not.

I decided on using emergency blankets. The type you see those athletes wearing after doing a marathon, Thinking if they do not tear up when wrapped around someone they must be alot stronger than aluminium foil.

The reflectiveness matches the same as any tin foil and with the added strength i think it will last a lot longer.

Now you may think well foil is cheap, and in fairness it is however i really wanted to make this light cabinet work, look good and not have to tape everything up like my grans Christmas presents are.

So you may be pleasantly surprised to know that the two emergency blankets only cost me £1.89 with free delivery. They were actually cheaper than the £1 a roll of happy shopper tin foil.

It was fiddly to cut to size and i still had to use sellotape to join each panel together but with a little patience and completely boz eyed by the light reflecting off the interior i gave up for the night while i considered my options regarding the height issue and the task of building shelves.

Today is a new day i decided  really did not want to build shelves and if i could make some wooden supports i could actually turn the cabinet on its side so the small shelving supplied as the wardrobe would run along the top, leaving me with a large space for my plants with a reasonable height and also storage at the top.

Not often i have a brain wave but it was decided, Out came the table saw and wood was cut. I used the back panels of the chest of draws i was originally going to use as my cabinet so really i used it in the end. The wood chest of draws was free, It was being dumped as the draws were all broken so i asked if i could have it for the wood so no real additional cost there but at a guess you could probably get the 4mm ply cheap at a diy store. Each piece is 18 inches by 14 inches so not to big to be a huge additional cost.

As you can see with the wardrobe on its side i have a larger floor area, still enough height and storage above. The best of both worlds really. As i only purchased two light fittings and two bulbs to start with. If i had to build shelving with the wardrobe vertical i would need a further two light fittings and a further two bulbs.

The light fittings i purchased where standard plastic clip lights at £3.39 each. I know i could have used standard ceiling rose fittings and wired it all up myself, however by the time i purchased the cable the fittings and the plugs these worked out a lot cheaper and saved me time messing around wiring everything up.

The next expense would be the light bulbs. I looked at LED panels and grow lights and kits. The expense would be well over my planned budget so to keep inline with my plan to build a grow light cabinet for a reasonable budget i purchased

2 x 30 Watt Bulb CFL 1 x 2700k bulb and 1 x 6400k bulb Equivalent to 150 Watts of Incandescent Light, having been recommended by Seed Parade forum regulars Gavin and Panda. The two bulbs were a total of £11.98 which does sound alot considering the wardrobe was only £17 with free delivery.

Last but not least was to finish the reflective panel on the door.

Simply taped on and overlapped to the floor space to which my plants will sit.

I may have to consider a tray at some point incase water spillage but that is no real problem right now as this is just the build stage.

The last job was to fit the light bulbs, drop the last two wooden shelves in to place and then plug it all in.

I personally do not think it is a bad effort if i say so myself.

I have a grow cabinet light box with plenty of space, plenty of light and room to add more light if required. It matches in with my office being a black cabinet and has the additional benefit of extra storage along the top for all my gardening items.

My seed box, watering parts and my books.

The top is also very sturdy so will easily accommodate my electric propagator. And all this for a remarkable  £37.65.


If you wish for a full break down of costs :-

Wardrobe £17.00.

Emergency blankets £1.89 for two.

Light Fittings £6.78 for two

Light Bulbs £11.98 for the two.


I hope you found this build useful. I will add full pictures to my user gallery and look forward to seeing your own grow light builds on the forum very soon.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section or join us all on the forum here at Seed Parade where you will find everyone very friendly and willing to help.

Best wishes and happy sowing, building, digging and any other garden jobs you have planned.

One Response to “Grow Cabinet Light Box”

  • Naturewoman:

    I think you have done a great job with your ‘grow box’. I will look forward to seeing your chilies growing in it.

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