Here are my steps for placing ready-cut black vinyl on a white bucket. This is both the easiest and most aesthetically pleasing way of blacking out a space bucket indoor grow system. You don't have to wait for paint to dry, and you don't have to apply tons of duct tape. If you do end up with a wrinkle and it's driving you crazy, you can usually smooth it out with your fingers -- failing that you can use a heat gun (this is the same kind of stuff people use to wrap their cars).
If you're wondering whether or not you need to black out your bucket, I would HIGHLY recommend it if you are keeping it anywhere people spend significant time. Maybe it's fine without if your setup is in your garage or shed, but if it is inside your living space, bright grow lights (even from inside a bucket) get annoying fast.
You can cover white buckets with anything black (paint, duct tape, thick paper) to serve the same purpose. I have a comparison of a few different methods in my project diary. For colored buckets, glue mylar lining to the inside (but not the bottom). Don't forget to use scissors or a penknife to cut the ventilation holes through the blackout material.
- matte black vinyl, cut in the shape of the file attached here
- One whole bucket
- One bucket cut in half (bottom half is the water reservoir, top half is the light mount)
- One lid
We're not going to black out the water reservoir, so you don't technically need it for the steps here, and I suppose if you're doing a hydroponic grow or something where you don't need a drip tray then maybe you don't need it at all.
This is adapted from an excerpt from my full grow anything grow bucket instructable.
Step 1: Cover the Lid
Take the backing off the vinyl for the lid, and lightly stick it on so that the vinyl is centered over the hole for the fan. If you don't have a hole for your fan in that location just center it as best as you can. Flatten the vinyl from the middle to the edge of the rim.
Step 2: Cover the Bucket for the Plant
First, with the backing still on the vinyl so it doesn't stick, wrap the vinyl around the bucket to get the placement right. Trace one edge of the vinyl with a marker. Unfold 1 inch of the backing off the same edge, and carefully stick this edge onto the bucket where you marked. Reach under the vinyl to pull the backing away while smoothing out the vinyl on the bucket with your hand. Trim the vinyl with scissors to uncover the air intake holes, and trim extra vinyl off the end. This is the method that I found to reduce the number of wrinkles in the vinyl as much as possible.
Step 3: Cover the Rims of the Buckets
Cover the rim of the bucket that will hold the plant, as well as the bucket half that will hold the lights. Cut strips to the size of each rim section (I just eyeball it), and stick them on. Congratulations, you've blacked out your bucket!