Grow Your Own, Part 3: Building a Grow Cabinet

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Click here for Part 1 (Starting a Garden)
Click here for Part 2 (Designing a Grow Cabinet)

Following cabinet design and frame construction, the third article in this series will demonstrate how to put the sides, roof and doors on the cabinet as well as the painting, which could be easily completed by two people in one afternoon.

These instructions could ostensibly be used to build and maintain a personal grow garden of any type, by any lady with some help from a few friends. The garden cabinet we created stands almost 6’5”, 4’ wide and 2′ deep – large enough to support 10-12 full size cannabis plants – with a shelf for flowering and one for vegetative state.

After completion of framing and basic construction, the next step is to attach the walls, roof and floor (please refer to the previous installment for details on 3D design and required materials).

Subfloor boards from Lowe's

Subfloor boards from Lowe’s

Most hardware stores offer free measuring and cutting with digital accuracy if asked and provided with plans, so the wood can be cut to appropriate lengths and brought home in a large car or the top of an SUV – no need to rent a special vehicle at all for this project. Before leaving the hardware store, ensure you have all of the necessary parts cut out of the wood, including the 4 doors, sides, top and floor, as well as your plans (from personal experience, leaving one’s plans at the store is embarrassing and a complete waste of valuable time). One entire sheet can be used to cover the back of the cabinet. You don’t need to use expensive wood for this project – rather some basic subfloor will work just fine, and costs only about $20 per sheet.

The design you created with the 3D graphics program from the previous article will lay out your design for you so you will know where boards need to be attached and where screws need to be screwed – it’s all just basic woodworking. However, there are a few small yet important details you’ll need to consider when building a grow cabinet rather than a furniture cabinet you might have made in the past.

Creating notches

Creating notches

We created our design a floor as well as a very sturdy shelf, which required notches be created by hand to hold the 2×4’s inside the cabinet. It is also essential to drill some holes in the top and sides of the cabinet to allow for ventilation and electricity; make sure your design plans take this into account.

Attaching the 4 front doors might be a challenge with 2 people, but should proceed smoothly, using hand drills and small, wood screws to attach the brackets. The 2 top doors should come together, with a beam on the inside of the right door, and fit snugly. The bottom 2 doors should also have a beam on the right side, screwed securely into the door and they should fit snugly with the top doors. Door handles are not necessary due to the type of magnetic lock chosen for this cabinet.

The inside of the cabinet can be painted after the light in the lower cabinet is measured and pre-installed. It should be removed for safety, with the bulbs stored in the house, away from children or other menaces.

Inside Cabinet

Inside of cabinet, painted with white base and primer mix

We recommend using a base white paint and primer combination (currently on sale at Lowe’s for $6.95 a quart) for the inside of the cabinet. Using a paint and primer combination saves both time and money, so you don’t have to wait for the paint to dry or add additional coats. Using a white or light color is also necessary to provide enough light reflection inside the cabinet for healthy plant growth. If you’re creating the same size cabinet as our template, two quarts will give overall coverage to the ceiling, walls, floors and inside of each of the 4 doors.

Locks should also be considered at this stage of construction and are an extremely important item if you have children or pets. The locks suggested for this project are magnetic, available online for $17.88 for 4 locks with one key magnet key; you can likely purchase a similar system at a local hardware store. These are the same locks parents use to keep children away from hazards and appear to be strong and secure enough for a lovely cannabis garden, or any other plants a lady may choose to grow.

The next subject in this series will be covering the outside of the cabinet, so it actually resembles a piece of furniture or art, with a special stain made from hemp. Future articles will detail other construction items, specifically electric, light and blower installation, as well as updates on how cannabis plants can be expected to grow and mature in such a personal grow cabinet…hypothetically.