How to Make Your Own Garden Grow-Light Shelves


Many plants require substantial amounts of light for photosynthesis, especially when they're started from seeds. Delicate seedlings are not ready to be planted until the last frost has passed, so many gardeners start the growing process inside, which limits sunlight exposure. Make your own garden grow-light shelves to help provide the light these plants need, while also giving you a place to keep your plants organized.

Step 1

Assemble your shelving unit(s) as the manufacturer's instructions describe. Make sure you have connected all the parts tightly.

Step 2

Hang the first light from the ceiling directly above the top shelf of your assembled shelving unit. Mark the ceiling for your eye hooks with a pencil by holding the chains outstretched to the ceiling and marking where the hooks or S-hooks touch. Screw two eye hooks into the ceiling on your marks. Depending on the manufacturer, your eye hooks might be included with your shop light and hanging chains, but if not you can purchase the two eye hooks that you need.

Step 3

Place the hooks that are attached to the light's hanging chain into the holes of the eye hooks. Adjust the height of your ceiling mounted shop light so that it is about 2 inches from the top of your seedling or containers by moving the hooks that are connected to the chain down the necessary number of links.

Step 4

Thread the chains of another shop light through one of the wires that make the shelf part of the unit. You will bring the chain through the gap between two wire sections and wrap around. Then, you can use the chain's hook to secure in place by connecting the free end of the hook to a chain link, similar to attaching the chain hook to the eye hook. If you have too much extra chain to maintain the proper 2-inch distance, you can stretch the chain across the width of the shelf and then connect the hook to a chain link.

Step 5

Repeat the process of hanging a shop light from the wire shelf for all your remaining shelves and lights.

Step 6

Plug your lights into a power strip. Plug your light timer into the wall socket and program it, following the manufacturer's instructions, to turn off the lights after about 16 hours and turn them back on eight hours after shutoff.

Step 7

Plug your power strip into the light timer. If you need to use an extension cord it should be one that accepts three prong plugs and then plug the power strip into one end and the prong end into the light timer.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal/wire utility shelving unit
  • Three to four shop lights per shelving unit
  • Fluorescent tube bulbs, 2 per light
  • Extension cord (optional)
  • Power strip
  • Light timer
  • Two screw-in eye hooks (if necessary)
  • Pencil
  • Zip ties (optional)


  • Free-Home-Gardening-Tips: Seeds Love This Simple Indoor Greenhouse

Who Can Help

  • The Eskew's Homestead Weblog: Inexpensive Grow Light Shelf Unit for Seedlings
Keywords: indoor plant growing, grow light shelves, make grow lights

About this Author

Jennifer Long began freelance writing in 2005. She gained experience through different projects which led to SEO expertise in article composition, writing informative articles, as well as many other types of writing. She has been published online at Associated Content, as well as consulting sites such as

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