How to Build Your Own Grow Light System for Plants


Indoor gardening in areas with little or no light is very easy with a simple grow light system. You can make a simple grow light system from commonly available metal fluorescent fixtures. However, plants grow more quickly with purpose made high output discharge (HID) that produce more lumens per watt than either consumer or full spectrum fluorescent lights.

Step 1

Select the type of lighting for your grow lights. Almost any type of light will work, but most grow light systems use fluorescent, full spectrum fluorescent, or HID lamps.

Step 2

Select a fixture that can be easily hung from the ceiling using chain. The chain will allow you to raise the light as your plants grow.

Step 3

Select molly bolts that will suit a pair of stout cup hooks.

Step 4

Drill two holes about two-thirds of the thickness of your mollies at what will be the center point of your grow light fixture directly above the table or surface on which you will place your plants. For example, if you are using a 4-foot-long table and a 4-foot fluorescent fixture, drill the holes 2 feet from either edge of the table.

Step 5

Slip the mollies into the holes. If the fit is tight, use a hammer or mallet to drive them in to the holes. You are better off with a tight fit on the mollies to ensure that the hooks and grow lights will be secure.

Step 6

Screw two stout cup hooks into the mollies.

Step 7

Attach the center of two chains to the cup hooks. The overall length of the chains must be twice the distance from the growing surface to the ceiling. For example, if the ceiling is 5 feet above the surface of your growing table, the chains should be around 10 feet long.

Step 8

Put S hooks equidistant along the chains to support the light. Although the light doesn't have to be perfectly level, it should be as level as possible.

Step 9

Drill small holes in the metal of the fixture, if none exist, for the S hooks.

Step 10

Hook the S hooks in the holes to hang the light from the chains. Change the height of the light by moving the S hooks up the chain as your plants grow. The fixture should be 3 to 6 inches above the tallest plant. Raise the fixture as the plants grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Molly bolts
  • Stout cup hooks
  • Chain
  • S hooks
  • Fluorescent or other grow light fixture


  • ACF Greenhouses: Indoor Plant Grow Light Guide

Who Can Help

  • Little House in the Suburbs: Laudry Table/Grow Light
Keywords: home grow lights, indoor gardening, hanging grow lights

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.