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Small medical marijuana grow tent

DIY Grow Tent | Beginner’s Guide | 2021

You’ve decided to grow your own weed — Congratulations! You are about to enter the well-established world of home growing. With a little bit of planning, you will soon be harvesting your first crop of sticky dank buds. Not only will a diy grow tent save you money, but you’ll find the quality of your “home grow” to be generally superior to almost anything you can purchase.

Diy Grow Tents – Getting Started

While there are many factors to consider when starting your first home grow, location is critical. While some may have the luxury of an outdoor garden, for many the only choice is an indoor grow setup or diy grow tent. Outside we can rely on Mother Nature to provide the essentials such as light, warmth, natural airflow, precipitation, etc. Indoor growers must create these essential needs themselves.

A spare closet can certainly be repurposed, but most of us don’t have the luxury of extra space. Therefore, you will need an enclosure. You can always purchase a ready-made grow tent, but the expense may be above your means.

Never fear, we are here to help. There are a variety of choices available to build your own indoor grow space. While all of them require some effort, none are too complicated, and all can be assembled with minimal tools and experience.

Let’s get started.

Before You Build Your Indoor Grow Tent

Before you start building your tent there are several things to consider

  • Location: You will need to control humidity, temperature, and light in your tent. Many people use their attic or basement. This generally works but attics are not insulated, and basements can be damp. Make your life easier by selecting a location where you can maintain a fairly constant temperature and relative humidity (RH) range.
  • Water in/Water out: Plants need water —  if you can grow somewhere near a sink it will be easier to do your watering chores. Also, try to plan for the inevitable spills — trying to clean up nutrient-laden water on carpets is not fun.
  • Odor control: Maturing weed can be stinky! No one likes a house that smells like skunk. You can either vent through a window, or you will need an appropriately sized carbon filter.
  • Electricity: Your indoor grow tent setup will need power for lights, ventilation, etc. Make sure you have enough available.
  • Cleanliness: Wherever you choose to grow, give it a good cleaning. If growing in an unfinished basement, make sure to use an appropriate cleaner on the floor.
  • Available height: Having 7-8 feet of grow height available would be ideal but not always possible. The amount of total height available will help determine the size of your grow tent.

Depending on your environment you may choose to build a diy grow tent , grow box, or grow can . We recommend building a tent when you have a fairly private enclosed space with adequate height. For smaller areas it might be better to build a grow box or grow can.

We will show you how to build all three!

Supplies for your DIY Enclosure

Once you’ve decided where you will be growing and have chosen a tent, box, or can enclosure, you will need to gather some supplies.

DIY Grow Tent

  • Reflective Poly plastic: Also known as “panda” or “zebra” plastic. It’s white on one side, and black on the other. Use the white (reflective) side for the inside of your diy grow tent.
  • For the frame: use either 1×2 wood (pine is an inexpensive option) or ¾” rigid PVC tubing (available at any hardware store in the plumbing department). Choose wood for lower cost and to make it easier to attach the poly to the frame. Choose PVC for an easier, cleaner build. You will also need some fasteners: for PVC that will be an appropriate glue, and for wood you can use screws or nails.
  • Tools: An appropriate saw, duct tape, a staple gun, some cable ties. you’ll need these to wrangle together your DIY grow tent.

DIY Grow Can (GC)

If you are only interested in growing a single plant and have minimal space available, a grow container setup may be a good option. You will need:

  • A large plastic garbage can: Something in the 32-gallon range if possible. Try to purchase something that has consistent dimensions from top to bottom.
  • A drill with some hole making attachments: While it is possible to cut through this plastic with a knife it is not fun and quite messy. You will need to cut some holes at various locations for electricity and ventilation. A power drill will be helpful.
  • 3-4 T5 Fluorescent or T5 LED lights: A GC setup allows lights to be placed along the inner sides of the container. For a very low-cost approach use standard T8 bulbs, however full spectrum T5s are worth the extra money. Depending on the size of your can choose 36” or 48” versions. You will also need a small grow light for the top of your grow can as well.
  • Small fan: Your can will need a way to ventilate. Consider a small fan to pull fresh air in and exhaust the stale air out.

DIY Grow Box

This approach is very similar to building a grow can, except instead of a garbage can, two large storage containers are stacked on top of each other, with the top one turned upside down. Use this approach when space is very limited. You will need:

  • Storage containers: Select two identical containers that will fit into whatever location you have chosen. Don’t select any container with clear or opaque sides, black is best. Make sure that you can “reverse stack” the containers, so that the top one, can safely rest on the lid of the bottom one when turned upside down.
  • Lights: Once again T5s are probably the best choice, but there are numerous screw-in grow bulbs that will also work. If selecting the screw in bulb you will also have to buy sockets and wiring to mount them on the roof of your box.

Check our our detailed diy grow box guide for more information.

What’s just as important as a tent for your grow? Seeds!

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Step by Step Guide for DIY Grow Tent

There are many videos on the Internet that can show you how to assemble your DIY Grow Tent, Grow Container, or Grow Box but here are some steps to keep in mind.

Design (Grow Tent only): Work out the dimensions of your tent and then assemble the frame. For the top of the frame use two cross beams to add rigidity and give you a place to hang your lights. You will need 4 equal lengths for the vertical pieces, and 8 equal lengths (assuming a square tent) for the floor and ceiling. The length of the 2 cross beams will be roughly the same as the floor/ceiling pieces.

Assembly (Grow Tent only): Build your frame. Cut your pieces to length – if using wood, simply join the pieces together with screws or nails. If using PVC, make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area because the glue is quite volatile. Note that you will need a cleaner and glue for PVC. Remember to mount the cross beams in the ceiling of the GT.

Wrapping (Grow Tent only): Once you have the frame completed, wrap three sides, roof, and floor with the poly wrap. Remember that the white side faces inwards. If mounting on wood, use a staple gun, if mounting to PVC use duct tape.  For the 4th side just use a loose sheet of poly that can act as a curtain so you can access your plants.

Lights (Grow Tent Only): For a GT hang your lights from the cross beams of your tent. Having some light hangers will be very useful since they will allow you to adjust the height of the lights. For a GC, mount the T5s vertically, evenly spaced around the interior, and a smaller light on the interior lid. For a GB, mount the lights on the bottom of whichever box will be on top, and then flip the box over to form the top of your box. Regardless of the type of enclosure you will need to have at least one opening for electrical wiring. An extension cord with multiple sockets works well here.

Ventilation (All): All three enclosure options need inflow and outflow air holes. Install carbon filters or a vent to the exterior as required. If you plan on running flexible ducts (not required for a GB or GC) make sure the holes are correctly sized. Connect your carbon filter, which will probably be outside of the enclosure to help save space.

Test (All): Before placing any plants in your enclosure run a test. Place a thermometer inside (with RH reading if possible), turn on the lights and fans, and let it run for a while. With lights on you would like the range to be between 70-85F. With lights off in the 60-75F range. Keep RH below 60%.

There, that wasn’t so hard now, was it? Your enclosure is now ready. Time to germinate some seeds and begin growing!

Interested in getting started with a ready-to-grow tent instead?


Check out our guide to the Best Small Grow Tents to get you growing!

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