Space Buckets are easy to build at home, and will allow you to grow small amounts of marijuana in a way that’s low budget, simple, and doesn’t need a lot of room. Unlike other, more expensive grow methods, a basic starter Space Bucket can be made for Less than $100.
Materials Needed to start growing in space bucket
Space Buckets are easy to make, and require readily available items. You won’t need to find anything special.
Items Needed to Make a Space Bucket:
- 4 x 5gal (20L) buckets, and one lid (you can use more buckets for a taller Space Bucket / bigger plants) – to save some extra cash these buckets are usually cheaper to buy in person, for example you can get 5 gallon buckets at Home Depot for $5/each
- 6 x 23w CFL bulbs and the same number of E27 sockets(more light is better up to a point, but heat is also a concern; using 6 small CFLs gives the best of both in a space bucket)
- 2+ PC Fans and a 12v power supply (use more fans for additional cooling)
- Any kind of reflective material (like white paint or Mylar)
- Optional but recommended: black masking tape
- A nice power strip with surge protection
- A standard 24h timer to automatically turn lights on and off
- Some wire, glue and other minor tools you probably already have around the house
How to Make Your Space Bucket
These grow buckets can be made in a few hours, and only basic knowledge of the dangers of electricity is needed. A few steps in the following guide were simplified for the sake of legibility and common sense.
Build Main Casing For Space Bucket
Make holes in bottom of one bucket for water drainage
Drill holes in the bottom of your best looking bucket (can be done with a hot screw driver)Pick your best looking bucket and make some holes in the bottom with a hot screwdriver. This will enable water drainage once the soil and plant is put in. It’s recommended to put some rocks on the bottom of the bucket, they will keep the bucket from getting clogged.
The more drainage, the better.
Place reflective material on inside walls
Next, put reflective material on the inside walls, it sticks neatly with any kind of glue (and a little patience).
If you happen to have white buckets, this covering is optional, as the walls will be very reflective. Aluminium foil is usually not recommended for safety reasons.
Cover outside with black tape or paint to light-proof your bucket
Also, don’t forget to cover the outside walls with layers of black tape or paint, this will make the Space Bucket mostly lightproof and will let you control light leaks.
Create Your Exhaust System (Intake & Outtake Holes with fans)
Cut holes on sides of bucket and install your exhaust fanCut 2 holes on opposite sides of the main bucket (a hot knife can be used to melt the plastic).
These will hold the PC fans (8×8 or 12×12) so you will need to cut them to size. It’s best to have a tight fit and apply some pressure, as bucket walls bend.
Once the fans are in place, connect the 12v power supply to them.
Make sure the power supply has the right amperage (a standard one with 1A can run at least 2 or 3 fans).
One fan will act as the intake, the other as exhaust.
That means that one fan should be pointing in (intake), and the other fan should be pointing out (exhaust).
If one fan is bigger than the other, use the bigger fan for the exhaust (pulling air out of the bucket). Pulling hot air out is more effective than trying to push cold air in. Whenever possible, it’s generally recommended to place your exhaust/outtake hole closer to the top, so that it is pulling out the hot air close to your grow lights.
Install bulbs on lid
Here’s the design I originally used for Space Bucket lids, though I’ve found the following design is far superior:
When building your space bucket, a horizontal light configuration will make better use of your CFL grow lightsThis is a better light configuration for CFLs when growing marijuana plants (as opposed to hanging CFLs vertically)
In this design, the lights are placed horizontally to maximize the amount of light given to the plants. This configuration also reduces the height needed (additional bucket tops) for your Space Bucket. You can add an extra exhaust fan to pull hot air out and away from your lights.
Pick a bucket lid and make holes for the bulb sockets. Wire them in parallel with cable and a plug. Here’s a diagram I made on how to wire your lights in parallel for your space bucket.
Use wire nuts!
You can use a light fixture to simplify this step, but it’s not ideal. It’s better to wire your own lights.
Once the wiring is done, glue a container on the lid for safety, like this:
You can use a lot of things for this, but never use aluminium foil or any other conductive material.
You can also make a light-top to fit more CFL wattage inside the bucket. This allows for sideways bulbs, and should be more effective than light-lids. Check the Optional Extras & Upgrades section for more information about this superior design as well as other tricks!
Glue Power Strip To Side of Bucket
View of nearly complete space bucket, notice that the power strip is glued to the sideIt is now time to glue a power strip to one side of the bucket.
This is where you will connect the plug from the lights (and timer) and the 12v power supply for the fans, among other things.
Cut off tops from all buckets except one, and stack them on top of each other to give your bucket adjustable height
Cut the top off every bucket but the main one, leaving some inches of the plastic wall. The tops will be stacked to the main bucket to alter the height of the lights. This allows you to adjust your lights easily as your plants grow. Put reflective material inside and tape outside.
Light-proof your finalized space bucket and connect everything together
You can now connect and assemble your indoor garden. Use black tape (or paint) and glue to cover holes and make the bucket as lightproof as possible, this step is for details and finishing touches. Connect the timer, lights and 12v supply to the power strip, and then the strip to a socket.
You can always add more bucket tops if you need more height for the lights, and CFL bulbs can be upgraded to 42w (watch out for the additional heat put out by these bigger lights).