Introduction: How to Make DIY Grow Lights With LED Strip Lights

Picture of How to Make DIY Grow Lights With LED Strip Lights

Taking care of plants is a pleasurable activity that can provide food for a family or offer a portal to nature within the home.

LED lights provide a rich, full spectrum light, and are extremely energy efficient. Another benefit of LED grow lights is that they provide even, directional light distribution and emit very little heat — leading to a less expensive garden with greater yields or more robust growth. Here's a guide for building a DIY LED grow light using Flexfire LEDs strip lights.

Step 1: Gather the Tools

Picture of Gather the Tools

DIY LED Grow Light Parts:

  • UltraBright™ 24v Architectural Series LED strip lights*
  • Aluminum bars for heat dissipation
  • Adhesive pads
  • Silicone
  • RTV silicone
  • Nylon ties
  • Solderless LED strip connectors (strip-to-strip and strip-to-power)
  • Female coaxial connector with screw terminals for wiring
  • 24v LED strip light power supply

* Even when working in an indoor environment, consider water resistant Outdoor 24v Architectural LED strip lights to protect against humidity and also allow for easier cleaning

Step 2: Attach LED Strips to the Aluminum Bars

Picture of Attach LED Strips to the Aluminum Bars

Start by cutting the strip lights to match the width dimensions of your project. Check for markings after every third chip to locate the appropriate place to make your cut. After that, peel off the paper over the adhesive backing and attach the strips along the aluminum bar mounting. The aluminum will act as a heat sink, protecting your plants from excess heat and extending the lifespan of the LED chips.

From here, attach solderless connectors to the strip lights. For added stability, tie down the wires with a nylon tie and apply a silicone blob over the connection for insulation.

Step 3: Install the Aluminum Bars Fitted With Strip Lights

Picture of Install the Aluminum Bars Fitted With Strip Lights

Place the bars in parallel over the desired grow space. Adhesive pads at the end of the bars will secure the lights above the sides of the indoor garden frame. The bars can be bolted to the frame to add strength to the light set-up’s structure. For an even distribution of light, space the light bars evenly over of your garden.

The most straightforward method to wire your lights it to connect one strip to the power supply, and then run strip-to-strip connectors from the end of each strip to the next. This method will allow you to run up to 32 feet of strips and wiring off of one power supply. To connect the first strip to the power supply, screw the wire end of the strip-to-power connector into a female coaxial connector. Then plug the coaxial cord into the power supply’s male connection. To turn on the lights, simply plug the power supply into to any wall outlet.

The Daily Light Integral (DLI) requirements of the plants you are growing will determine how many LED strip lights to use. Take PAR readings in your indoor garden to make sure you have the right amount of light to meet the demands of your plants.

Comments

camelia23f (author)2016-08-28

Im trying to grow my tillandsia inside an aquaruim indoor, can i use this led strip spec that u did in the project to my tillandsia grow light project?

ShariM9 (author)2015-11-11

Oh and one more thing, how close to the plants this should be mounted.

Thanks again!

ShariM9 (author)2015-11-11

I need grow lights for my flowering plants like african violates and begonias, what kind of lights should I use, i.e. Ultra bright, etc.? and can these strips stick to wood, (I have a wooden stand that I want to attach these to the top.) and is it ok?

Thanks!

doctormetaphysics (author)2014-12-27

Don't these have to be in the right spectrum for proper growth? Can you use this for growing vegetables, such as peppers or tomatoes?

They do provide the right spectrum for plant growth. We've had clients grow a wide variety of indoor plants using our LED strips. Tomatoes and pepper are high DRI plants, so you should check out our UltraBright Industrial series lights, which produce a lot of light!

robchang (author)FlexfireLEDs12015-10-19

Thanks for providing this instructable! I had been looking at your LEDs and strip LEDs in general for making my own lighting for a planted aquarium. I know your LEDs are more expensive than the generic ones you can find...can you tell me in terms of numbers what makes your LEDs better, for example, what types of emitters you use (are they CREE, Luxeon, etc?) what is the lumen output of each emitter, etc. I am specifically looking at the 12v versions vs the 24v that you have in this instructable.

Thanks!

ShahrehmanS (author)2015-07-24

very nice post, i ever seen, thanks

seamster (author)2014-11-05

Looks like a great LED solution for those that grow plants inside. Thanks!

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Bio: Flexfire LEDs offers LED lighting solutions and expert advice that allow your visions to become reality while minimizing your project's environmental impact.
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