Space Buckets: Growing Cannabis on the Cheap

Making a space bucket is a great way to launch a personal grow on a budget.

Pruning a cannabis plant up close picture Source: iStock

A space bucket is an affordable product or DIY project that can take small scale cannabis growing to the next level.

What are space buckets, how are they made, and why are they so great for hobby growers and serious cultivators alike? Let’s take a closer look.

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What are Space Buckets?

A developer who goes by Ekrof, founder of SpaceBuckets.com, coined the term about seven years ago. After struggling to grow in an apartment with limited natural light, he developed a solution that allowed him to easily and sustainably grow plants indoors. 

A space bucket is a discreet, self-contained micro garden that’s ideal for growing weed indoors with limited space. While indoor gardening kits are not a new invention, the space bucket is particularly suited to the needs of the cannabis plant and the grower’s desire to keep a low profile. 

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The typical design includes at least one bucket that contains a ventilation system and a lid that is fitted with grow lights. A typical model takes up less space and energy than a mini-fridge.

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Benefits of Space Buckets

There’s a reason the subreddit r/SpaceBuckets, where “bucketeers” discuss modifications and growing information, has amassed 91.9k members. Space buckets are great for growing weed for several reasons:

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  • Space buckets are affordable and fairly easy to assemble.
  • They require very little space and less energy than a full grow room.
  • Space buckets are discreet. Since they are intended to be light-tight, the contents of the bucket are entirely concealed when the lid is closed.
  • This micro-environment offers increased control over growing conditions.
  • New growers can expect to yield around half an ounce of cannabis per harvest while experienced growers may be able to grow one ounce or more!

How Much Do Space Buckets Cost? Buying Online vs. DIY

Homemade space buckets are made from items that are easy to find at local stores or online retailers. If you choose to make your own space bucket from scratch, it’ll likely cost you somewhere between $100 and $200, depending on the materials you choose.

Building your own space bucket kits can cost slightly more but are easier to put together and require less cutting and measuring. Check out online retailers like HomeMadeGrow.com and StealthBuckets.com to compare prices, reviews and features. 

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Whether you choose to make your own or purchase a kit, space buckets can save you a great deal of money compared to factory-made indoor grow kits, like this LED grow kit, which retails for $2400.

How to Make a DIY Space Bucket

Want to learn how to make a space bucket of your own? Follow our step-by-step guide!

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What you’ll need

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  • 2 5-gallon buckets
  • 1 bucket lid
  • Black duct tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Rotary tool (Dremel)
  • 8 1-¼” wood screws
  • 2 USB fans
  • 2 USB power adapters
  • Utility knife or Xacto blade
  • Drill
  • Mylar
  • White glue or spray adhesive
  • Aluminum foil tape
  • Zip ties
  • 4 E26 fluorescent light bulbs, 23-32 watts each
  • 2 E26 light bulb Y-sockets
  • 2 E26 light bulb socket to power adaptors
  • 2 extension cords with double-sided outlets
  • Polarized 3-outlet tap
  • Programmable light timer

Step 1: Begin with the Base Bucket

Remove the handles from both buckets. Wrap the exterior of one bucket entirely in black duct tape. This will be your Base Bucket. Drill 12 evenly-spaced water-drainage holes into the bottom of this bucket. Clean up any leftover plastic bits.

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Step 2: Separate Light Lid From Drainage Tray

Place the lid on the second bucket. The top part of this bucket will become your Light Lid, while the bottom will become your Drip Tray.

Mark a line that is 1.5 inches below the lowest ring, going all the way around the bucket. Use your rotary tool to cut along this line. Put the top part to the side for now. 

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Step 3: Prepare Your Drip Tray

Mark a line around the Drip Tray that is about 3.5 inches above the bottom of the bucket. Drill 8 evenly-spaced holes along this line and screw in your wood screws so that the pointed tips protrude into the inside of the Drip Tray.

Measure and mark 7 inches up from the bottom of the Drip Tray and use your rotary tool to cut off any material above this line, resulting in a 7-inch-tall Drip Tray. Wrap the entire exterior of the tray in black duct tape, including the bottom. Place a strip of duct tape along the entire outside top edge of the Drip Tray, leaving enough of the sticky side to fold over the edge and press onto the inside of the bucket.

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Step 4: Mark and Cut Your Fan Window

Rest your Base Bucket on top of the screws inside the Drip Tray. Grab one of your fans and place it on the sidewall of the Base Bucket just above the top line of the Drip Tray.

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Use your utility knife to trace the outline of the fan, creating a scoreline in the duct tape. Use your knife or rotary tool to cut out the fan window. This is where we will install the Input Fan.

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Step 5: Add Reflective Interior

Cut mylar into paper-sized sheets. Apply glue to one side of the mylar sheets and paste them onto the inside of the entire Base Bucket, overlapping to prevent gaps. If you cover the fan window with mylar, use your utility knife to cut that section out, exposing the window again.

Place a strip of aluminum foil tape halfway along the inside top edge of the Base Bucket and fold the other half over the edge towards the outside to completely seal the mylar lining. Fold the aluminum tape over the edges of the fan window as well.

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Step 6: Install Input Fan

Measure and mark four points: each point should be half an inch away (diagonally) from one corner of the fan window you just cut out of the Base Bucket.

Use a 7/64ths bit to drill holes as maked. Place the Input Fan in the fan window, making sure the airflow is directed towards the interior of the bucket. Thread zip ties through the holes and the corners of the fan and secure tightly. 

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Place aluminum tape along the interior and exterior seams where the fan meets the bucket to make it light-tight. Cover any exposed zip tie material inside the bucket with aluminum tape as well.

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Step 7: Install Power Strip

Place your power strip vertically on the outside wall of the Base Bucket and mark the four points where you will secure it with zip ties: one on each side near the top of the power strip and one on each side near the bottom. Avoid placing them where a zip tie would cover up any of the outlets.

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Drill the holes, zip tie the power strip to the exterior, and cover the exposed zip tie material with aluminum foil tape on the inside. If you need to, mark and cut out a section of your Drain Tray to allow space for the power strip to fit.

Step 8: Prepare the Light Lid 

In the top center of the Light Lid, mark and cut out a window for the Output Fan. Mark and drill four zip tie holes near the corners of the window as before. 

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Mark where you will cut out the holes for your light sockets. These holes should be opposite from each other on the lowest ring of the Light Lid (where the handles used to connect to the bucket). Use the socket to trace and create the socket windows with the rotary tool. Test to see that the end of the socket fits through the hole.

Line the inside of the Light Lid with mylar like you did for the Base Bucket. Cut mylar away to re-expose the socket and fan windows, and seal the edge with aluminum foil tape as before. Wrap the exterior of the Light Lid with black duct tape and cut out the windows once again.

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Step 9: Install Grow Lights and Output Fan

Screw your lightbulbs into the Y-shaped sockets, and place the sockets into the socket windows you created. You may have to rotate your lights slightly so they are not touching each other. Attach your power adapters to the ends of the sockets. Add black duct tape to the outer seams where the sockets meet the Light Lid and cover the inner seams with aluminum foil tape.

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Install the Output Fan as you did with the Input Fan, but make sure the airflow for this fan is pointing outwards to allow the heat from the lights to escape.

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Step 10: Power Up

Hook up the light socket power adapters to the extension cords. Plug the USB power adapters into the outlets on the opposite sides and plug the USB fans into these power adapters. 

Plug the other ends of the extension cords into the polarized tap and attach the tap to the timer. Test the connections by plugging in the power strip and turning it on. If it lights up and the fans turn on, your space bucket is ready to go!

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Tips on How to Grow Weed in a Space Bucket

Growing weed in a space bucket is a lot like other methods of growing weed indoors. Use high-quality soil, make sure your plants are getting quality nutrients, and follow these tips:

  • Convert your lighting and feed schedules from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage sooner rather than later to prevent plants from growing too tall. 
  • Many space bucket growers achieve the best yields using a combination of low-stress training and topping methods.
  • Be careful while watering. Unplug your space bucket first to avoid mixing water with electricity.
  • Use additional buckets to increase the height of your space bucket and add ventilation fans as needed.

Good luck, and happy growing!

Space Buckets: Growing Cannabis on the Cheap was last modified: by