Plant Stand Construction:

Jimmie's Light StandThis is the design that I finally settled on after trying a few different designs. The light stand measures 53" wide by 74" high and 24" front to back, the distance between each shelf will be 16". You can vary the finished size by varying the measurements of the PVC pieces. Before you start making adjustments let me point out a few reasons for making it the size I did; first the width of 53" allows two of the stands to be placed end to end with no gap in between that is usually caused by the light fixtures extending beyond the shelves and the plywood used for the shelves doesn't have to be cut to length, second, a full sheet of plywood only has to be cut 3 times and most home centers will do this for you. I will admit that a light stand built with PVC is a little bit on the wobbly side but so are the majority of the plant stands that I have seen. This design does stand up to my cat wandering around on the bottom shelf with hardly any movement, small children or grand children might be a different story. After a couple of near misses of total collapse I am now CEMENTING all of the pieces together.

List of Materials

(for a 4 shelf unit)

4 - 1" diameter PVC caps for bottom of legs (optional but adds a finishing touch)
4 - 1" diameter PVC 90 degree elbows for top shelf
40 - 1" diameter PVC T's connects it all together
4 - 1" x 6" PVC Pipe for legs
16 - 1" x 15" PVC Pipe Up right spacers between shelves
20 - 1" x 2" PVC Pipe Connectors
10 - 1" x 14" PVC Pipe Spacers for shelf supports
10 - 1" x 50" PVC Pipe Shelf supports
4 - 24" x 48" 1/2" plywood
4 - 1" x 2" firing strips
4 - 48" Shop lights with fluorescent tubes
1 - Small can of PVC Cement

Note: Each individual shelf of the plant stand will require the following - 8 T's, 4 pipe connectors, 2 14" spacers, and 2 shelf supports.

Optional:PVC Cutter Photo is recommended if you think you are going to make more than one. A hacksaw may be used, if you are only going to make one. Another tool that I like to have on hand when constructing a light stand is a rubber mallet. I purchased mine in the sporting goods department at Wal-Mart. It is a nice tool to get a snug fit without damaging the connections.

Construction Notes:

The biggest job of making a light stand is the cutting of the pieces, this can be done with either a hacksaw or a PVC pipe cutter. Which ever method I use the hardest part is trying to cut the pipe straight, but it doesn't seem to matter if is it or not. After all of the pieces are cut I like to lay them out on the floor as you can see in this Shelf Layout Photo photo in the order that they will go together. Next simply push all the pieces together no need for any adhesive they will fit tight enough without it, just make sure they are pushed in all the way you may want to give each piece a small tap with the rubber mallet to make sure. Since I originally built the stands I have found need to somehow fasten all the pieces together (don't ask how I came to this decision). What I am now doing is cementing all the pieces together. Makes them harder to move if ever need be but the peace of mind is worth the effort. When assembling the finial or fifth shelf be sure and replace the four corner T's with four 90 degree elbows. The reason for making the top shelf the same as the rest is that you may like to put a piece of plywood there to make room for extra storage. After all shelf units are assembled push one leg (I like to put end caps on each leg just adds a finishing touch) into each corner of shelf unit number one. Hang in there we are almost done with the construction of the stand. All that is left to do with the PVC part of our stand is to add the rest of the shelves with the up right spacers between them.

Last thing to do is finish the wooden parts of our light stand, this is the most time consuming part of building a light stand. These units are constructed out of 1/2" plywood and the 1" by 2" firing strips. The firing strips add extra support and keep the shelf from slipping from front to back if it is bumped. The Support Detail Photophoto shows the placement of the support strips. I like to drill, screw, and glue the supports into place. After the glue has set they need to be sanded and painted. I gave mine a coat of primer and then two coats of an exterior white house paint. After the paint has been allowed to dry all you need to do is to add the light fixtures and drop the shelves into place and place the plants on it.

Several people have inquired as to how I attach the light fixtures. The simple answer is that I use a washer and a screw. Here is the rest of the story. I have yet to see a twin tube 48 inch light fixture that the center panel was not removable. Once you remove this center panel you should see a couple of holes one at each end. I center the light where I want it to be on the underside of the wooden shelf and attach it to the underside of the shelf with screws and a washer through these holes. The washer serves two purposes it helps to strengthen the hole of the light fixture and acts as a spacer so the 1/2" screws that I use do not come through on the right side of the shelf. All that is left is to replace the center section and bulbs.

Here is an idea that I have been thining about for sometime and have just now decided to give it a try. Instead of permainetly attaching the light fixture it is suspended from a cup hook under the shelf and the chain that comes with the fixture. Chain suspension Photo This should give some flexibility in adjusting the distance from the lights to the plants.

Converting to LED Lighting:

It has been some time since I built my plant shelves and it is becoming quite common for growers to use LED lights, I am not going to go into detail on how to install or the materials that I am going to use to switch my stands over to LED. Here is a link to a website that goes into detail about using and installing LED lighting, GROW PLANTS WITH LED LIGHTS

Printer Version:

For those of you that would like a paper copy of the materials list and directions here is a printer friendly version ie. no pictures, background, or links click here, it will open in a new window and after the page loads click on the printer icon on the toolbar to print the page, it is about one and half pages in ength.

Image 01 Home Page Header Graphic