Grow lights are wonderful tools to make your houseplants thrive in dark areas of your home. However, manufactured grow lights can be quite expensive. To save on costs, you can make your own grow-light reflector and attach it to a light-socket fixture, creating your own grow light for a fraction of the cost of commercial lighting products. Use energy-efficient light bulbs in the fixture for further savings. Find the materials you need for this project at any hardware store or home improvement centre.
Lay out a 24-inch segment of aluminium-dryer venting material on the floor so that it's concave, curving inward. Measure at the bottom of the trough from end to end, and mark the midpoint with a permanent marker. Do not form the dryer venting material into a cylinder.
Measure the stem of a light-socket fixture for diameter. Fit a drill bit the same size as the diameter of the socket fixture into your drill. Place the dryer venting on an old phone book and drill a hole at the midpoint mark you made. The phone book is to protect the table under the venting.
Unscrew the nut from the socket fixture stem. Insert the free end of the wiring from the fixture through the dryer venting from the concave side. It will stick out the back. Pull the wires all the way through, drawing the light socket fixture into the venting material.
Insert the socket fixture stem through the hole so the threaded portion from which you unscrewed the nut sticks out the back of the venting material. Slide a metal washer over the wire ends and push it down over the fixture stem so that it lies next to the venting. Slide the nut from the fixture stem over the wires in the same manner. Screw the nut onto the stem against the washer. Now your socket fixture is securely fastened to the reflector and seated in the trough.
Wrap two or three layers of electrical tape around the fixture stem on the back of the reflector. The tape will probably cover a small section of the wires above the nut as well. This helps keep the wiring together.
Drill a hole at the bottom of the venting trough close to each end. Clip a length of small-gauge hardware chain through each hole using chain-rigging clips. The chains are the reflector hangers.
To use the grow-light reflector, wire the light-socket fixture to a lamp cord. Insert plant light bulbs into the socket fixture. Hang the reflector from the chains over the area where you want to use the grow light, and then plug it in.
Wear safety goggles when drilling metal, to avoid eye injury. Wire the fixture to a plug-in cord only if you're confident you know how to do it properly.
Tips and warnings
- To use the grow-light reflector, wire the light-socket fixture to a lamp cord. Insert plant light bulbs into the socket fixture. Hang the reflector from the chains over the area where you want to use the grow light, and then plug it in.
- Wear safety goggles when drilling metal, to avoid eye injury. Wire the fixture to a plug-in cord only if you're confident you know how to do it properly.