If you’re interested in learning how to build a DIY stealth grow box, you’ve come to the right place.
This kind of growing environment can be incredibly useful, no matter what kind of plants you are trying to grow - or for what kind of purpose.
Not only can it hide your growing space to keep your growing environment more discreet and less cluttered looking, but it also offers the ideal growing environment for your plants.
There are plenty of other reasons to consider learning how to build a stealth grow box. In this article, we’ll give you more information on why it’s a good idea as well as some tips on how to make a cheap stealth grow box in the matter of just a few short days.
Let’s dive in.
What Is A Stealth Grow Box?
A stealth grow box allows you to surreptitiously grow your own plants at home. In this kind of system, a plant is enclosed within a box (hence the name) where light and nutrient-rich water is provided to the plants to give them everything they need to grow.
This kind of system is more or less self-contained, equipped with all that your plants need to stay healthy while growing in an indoor environment. You can fashion your grow box with everything from LED lights to fans, meters to pots, pumps to water reservoirs.
Stealth grow boxes have become very popular among home growers, since they offer a way to provide very specific growing conditions for finicky plants. Conditions are easy to maintain and can be regulated automatically, offering high yields and an easy (and concealed) way to grow.
Why Consider Building A DIY Stealth Grow Box?
As we mentioned earlier, there are countless benefits to building a DIY stealth grow box.
For one, these systems are incredibly discreet. Whether you want your plants tucked away (and out of sight) or not, there are lots of benefits to keeping your growing environment tucked away.
Perhaps you want to grow plants in a small apartment and don’t want them cluttering up your living space.
Aside from discretion, there are other good reasons to build a stealth grow box. Many feature hydroponic systems that will allow you to grow plants much faster (and year-round).
Install some automation features like drip irrigation tubing on timers and you won’t have to worry as much about monitoring and regulating the conditions for your plants, helping you to save time and diminish some stress.
While it will cost you some money to build a DIY stealth grow box, it will likely be a bit cheaper than if you purchased a unit from the store. Over time, you’ll likely find that your box pays for itself, too.
How To Build A DIY Stealth Grow Box - Step By Step
Ready to build your own stealth grow box? There are plenty of styles that you can choose from, but in this guide, we’ll tell you how to build a DIY stealth grow box that is affordable and easy to assemble.
At the end of the project, you’ll end up with a grow box that looks like a freestanding cabinet, meaning you can put it anywhere in your home. It should cost less than $200. It should take you around two full days to complete the project, though this timeline will of course vary depending on your skills and schedule.
Gather Your Materials
To get started with this project, you will need a staple gun, wire cutters, a circular saw, some duct tape, and a cordless drill.
You will also need:
- 7 pieces of industrial particleboard
- 3 inch wood screws
- 8 building studs at 2x4x8
- 20 ft of 1-inch steel chain
- 4 cup hooks
- 2 hinges
- Self-closing flush cabinet hinge
- Lock (optional, for added privacy)
After you’ve built the grow box, you’ll outfit it with the following growing equipment:
- 2 15-foot extension cords
- A small fan (a clip-on fan will do)
- Mylar sheets
- 1-2 LED light bars (you could use 8 compact fluorescent bulbs instead if you choose)
- Digital thermostat/humidity gauge
Frame and Build the Cabinet
Start by framing out the cabinet, using the 2x4s and 3-inch wood screws. The frame should measure about 44 inches long, 24 inches deep, and 36 inches tall.
Cut to fit and position the building studs for the frame, then measure and cut the particle board to fit the frame. If you don’t have a circular saw or similar tool to cut the wood at home, you can ask the staff at the hardware store to cut it for you. Just bring your measurements with you and they will often cut to size at no extra cost.
Place the back, sides, floor, and top on the frame of the cabinet, securing the particleboard with wood screws.
Install Your Fan
A fan is necessary for a grow box to help improve airflow - it will get stuffy inside that cabinet! To install the fan, cut a 6x6” hole in the upper righthand corner of the cabinet (you may need to adjust this measurement to be slightly larger or smaller depending on the measurements of your fan).
Then, cut a one-inch slot about four inches from the ground on the left side of the cabinet (the opposing side). This will help add some cross-ventilation to the box. Hook the fan up to an extension cord.
Install the Lights and Irrigation
You can use either LED or CFL lights in your grow box, though LED lights tend to be more affordable and efficient. You can find both at most hardware stores and both will resist overheating, making them a good option when you’re using them in an enclosed space.
Install the lights in your grow box adding dual bulb adapters if you want to be able to install two bulbs per socket. You can use an extension cord to run from the interior of the box to the exterior outlet, too.
You can construct a frame for the lighting, making it easily adjustable by placing one-inch stainless steel chains and bungee cords to hook to the edge of each frame.
At this time, you may also want to install some Mylar blankets on the inside of your grow box. This will help increase the heat inside the box as the light is reflected back.
You’ll need to consider the type of plants you are growing when it comes to installing your irrigation - that’s why we haven’t included irrigation items on the list of supplies needed for this project.
For many plants, drip irrigation is a good choice. You’ll need to install a pressure regulator, water filter, and timer along with your tubing to make sure your irrigation is effective (and can be put on a timer).
Drip irrigation works well for a grow box because it can save water, delivering moisture in a controlled fashion.
Build Your Doors
Use two hinges of 1.5 inches each and a self-closing flush cabinet hinge to build two doors that meet in the center of the box. These will help to seal out light and air. Plus, you can add a lock to the doors, if desired, for added privacy.
Lay A Tarp
Double up a large tarp and staple it to the bottom and floor of the walls. This will help prevent your cabinet from rotting when it comes into contact with water. Just cut the tarp to fit the measurements of your cabinet and staple it to the top and bottom.
Install Timer and Thermometers
Last but not least, it’s time to install your timer and thermometer. The thermometer and humidity gauge will help you keep track of the levels inside the box so you don’t have to leave them up to a guess. You'll Want to keep temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less inside your cabinet.
Growing In A DIY Stealth Grow Box
Now that you have your DIY stealth grow box up and running, it’s time to start growing!
This is the perfect environment for starting your own seeds. You should be able to fit your own cloning station with a base tray, dome, and heating mat with at least 50-75 cells inside your DIY box.
When your plants are mature, depending on what exactly you are growing, you can expect to be able to keep about half a dozen or so plants inside your container.
Watering should be simple if you’ve taken the time to install an automated system like drip irrigation. You can put your water on a timer so that your plants will receive the perfect amount of moisture when it’s needed.
If you’re not using a nutrient solution in a hydroponic set-up (and are perhaps instead growing in a soil-based grow box), you will need to fertilize.
A balanced 10-10-10 is generally ideal for most plants but this can vary depending on what exactly you decide to grow (and what stage the plant is in, be it flowering, fruiting, or vegetative growth).
Pests & Diseases In Your DIY Stealth Grow Box
While pests and diseases should be minimal when growing in any kind of indoor environment, there are a couple of exceptions to that rule.
One of the biggest things you will need to watch out for is the dreaded fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are more common around areas where water has accumulated and where it is exceptionally warm - in other words, the exact environment you’ll have inside your grow box.
You can get rid of them by pouring a little bit of apple cider vinegar into a bowl with a few drops of dish soap. Put a few bowls filled with this mixture around the grow box and it will attract and kill the fungus gnats before they invade your grow box.
When it comes time to harvest your plants, it should be no different than harvesting plants in any other kind of growing environment, be it indoors or outside.
Final Thoughts On Making A DIY Stealth Grow Box
Building a DIY stealth grow box is a great way to save money and improve your productivity as a gardener.
No matter what kind of plants you decide to cultivate in your new hidden growing compartment, you’ll find that DIY-ing the project is a fun way to become a more self-sufficient gardener.
Of course, if you decide that building your own stealth grow box isn’t right for you, you do have other options. Hydrobuilder has a large selection of premade grow cabinets and boxes that you can buy and install immediately - no construction required!
Or, check out our grow tent kits. These are very similar, but way more budget friendly. You'll be able to grow premium, top-shelf plants indoor without spending too much on your setup.