Affordable Walls and Light-proofing

Thanks to those who take the time to read and help me through these things… it’s somehow both easier and harder than I thought. Advanced appologies for the kebtgh; I don’t know how to ask much shorter. TL;DR at bottom.

I finally made sense of a lot of things; but then there’s always more. I can not figure out how to have a paced out grow without dumping cash. I can do this or that, couple hundred here or there, but I don’t have that money right now. Y’all have to help my keep it simple a bit. The two major issues I have, or maybe three, that are preventing me from having plants on two light cycles are light proofing my air ducts, and the conditions in my basement. Most winters, like now, it’s 35% humidity and 65*. There is not much I can do about either of those things until I can afford to wall off the area. I have a small amount of lumber, and some moving blankets. Not enough lumber to build frame sadly. They hang from the ceiling just fine, but leave a large gap under. Better than nothing?

Otherwise I foresee the cheapest option to be put up Panda film; although that is a bit of an expense still even. Panda film and stud wall is easily my first choice but out of budget. I also need to lightproof my flower tent, two 6” holes for the light fan. Two 6” holes for intake, and one 8” for exhaust. Currently there is just open intake and one 8” fan exhausting out the top of the tent. Taping off any pinholes or seams is cheap as a roll of aluminum tape. Airflow seems to be the expensive part of light proofing.

TL;DR I need to close off a 10’x9’x9’ and it needs to be done… let’s say under $100 USD. I have tools, I have fabrication skills. I do not have much cash. Or anyway of getting some anytime soon. I swear this damn virus is going to kill me even if I don’t get it.


Panda film and good duct tape.


By walling off, or Panda filming off your grow space, and place your plants and lights inside - both of those numbers will rise.

As for closing off the area, if we’re talking about your basement and your budget is so tight that you can’t easily afford $50 for some black and white poly, how about blocking the light from coming in the basement windows and from the door entering the basement? Hell, you can even use cardboard and gorilla tape to black out the windows (though I’d add something that looks black or white from the outside). Then you can work on building out a grow space as your budget allows.

BTW - if you CAN budget $50 for the black and white poly, here’s a 10 ft x 50 ft roll on Amazon:


I just cut up my 3x3 tent and nailed it over a slightly cracked window hooked a cheap 6" duct fan in for air intake with a duct running to the ground to prevent light from getting in. Probably not the best setup for temp/humidity control, but its winter in the southern US 3000w hids will keep it warm enough and the outside intake should keep it cool enough. Still gotta figure something out about light proofing the door though


The basement itself is light polluted from electronics but the windows are blocked. It’s… not quite pitch black. The major issue is running two lights on separate cycles.

I may just outright have to wait until I can work again. Which is… February at the moment, but can be pushed back any time.Just panda film hanging from the ceiling…that, it maybe a birthday present come next month.

Worst case scenario I am just happy with what I get from one tent. Keeping a mother or two would be nice, but it can wait.


Black poly was always my go to for blocking windows, also to create light containment entries to flower areas from veg areas in big basements, think old school photographic dark room procedures…BTW, micro climate (Small area) environmental controls are IMHO way harder to dial in than large grow areas…


If you were near, I have materials to donate.


How small do you mean?

Humidity and heat retention, and blocking light between the vegging plants and the tent. That’s the emphasis. Humidifying the tent is nearly pointless atm, I can put it in but it doesn’t stay. My extraction fan won’t lower any farther, a temp controller is in the future. I have electronic parts and and arduino dev board, I could make one, but I don’t have any perfboard, I would have to build the control level circuit on breadboard and solder the 120v side directly to the relays contacts. Humidity would also be controlled then.

Currently everything just runs. I have a 24hr power strip and a 18/6 strip for lights and fan. The humidifier runs into the air intake, I can’t afford space IN the tent. So tarping off an area would really help to buffer the environment. The size is flexible- height is the only hard dimension. Currently a have. 3x3 tent and a 1’x4’ veg are outside. Do you propose I’d be happy reducing the room size to maybe 5’x5’? I plan to flower in a 2’x4’ tent but that won’t be purchased until… whenever.

Although… I still don’t have an answer to isolate the light between the two areas. Would I maybe be BEST off also building out a small frame for the veg and putting additional panda over it? I think I can swing 50-100ft. Lumber I have enough for a squatty little 4’ tall tent; maybe 2’x5’. This will require some ducting trickery still.

My idea is I can build a space to use as a buffer from my otherwise cold and dry basement. I will add filtration and air circulation, literally as soon as I can get some work again. Problem is all the methods to lightproof I see are at least $20-$30 per entry/exit. With 5 holes to cover on the tent; maybe my new tent would have less holes. But that means buying a new fan. Unless… I connect ventilation inline with the other tent. Has anyone has luck making say an S bend in flexible duct? I have 10’-15’ of 6” flexible duct, I can pick up some spray paint. The only other option I could figure is buying and blacking 2 90 degree elbows, but at the cost of 10 elbows… nope. I can of course change things around but… I’m fairly happy with my set up. I don’t really want to mess with my tent as it’s performing well.

I have found the aluminum tape doesn’t work all that well for pinholes or around unused zippers . Colored silicon is better .


Hmm… never used it. The self fusing kind?
I do have electrical tape, that may be better than the aluminium tape.

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The type I used was automotive high heat gasket sealer that I had lying around . I tried electrical tape and black duct take as well but after a while they started to come off .

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A few pin holes probably really don’t matter that much anyway . :smiley:

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That is another thing I struggle with… logically they are outside, there is moonlight and such. They shouldn’t need 100% blackout, just like 98-99%.

Honestly, I think I can get away with simply adding my air filtration. The intake end of it will be long enough to block light. The exhaust will have a carbon filter… eventually. Currently plan of action is to hold on for dear life until that first harvest is done; once I am saving that money ($140 a week!) it’s opens up options. I’ve tried T-Breaks but just not an option in the world we live in today. So as long as I grow enough to get to the next cycle? Cool. That’s like $30 a month to run, much better. At that point maybe I can divert some funds. Just trying to get to that point lol. I need to put half of my plants into flower; but the ones in veg polluting the night worries me. It seems people either agree with me or total darkness is essential.

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In veg light leaks are not an issue at all .


I did some dumpster diving for materials when I first got started, hell well here, 20 years ago now, to build a NGB stealth box.
I was diving construction site dumpsters, as they have no garbage in them, just materials, off falls, and many times just left overs of stuff. PVC pipe, conduit, insulation, wood, boxes of screws, boxes of fittings. So much stuff. 3 dumpsters, and I did not buy much but bits and baubles, to finish it off.
I built my first light from security lights, from how to threads. A rocking 150 HPS. After one cycle, I added a 70 MH to it, and that was magic for us, and a steady supply, 2-4 ounces per cycle. Not perfect, but workable.
Painted tarps were my first *white * walls, when I opened up, a larger area, by using my saved allowance from what I did NOT buy, now that I had my buds from the box.
Long story a bit shorter, I started off with $500.00 what a premium oz cost back in 1999-2000 IF YOU COULD FIND THEM.
You can do it man!!

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That’s not at all a bad idea, I dumpster dive the theaters I work at, less frequency of stuff but I get it before the dumpster even.

I did discover Menard’s has 6” elbows for half the price of Home Depot. So all of the sudden I can buy 12 for $30, well that sounds more doable… as soon as I can get so cash I’ll get those and a can of the flattest black I can find.

Also Habitat for Humanity store is just a bit up the road from me, I need to get out there and see what I might find, but for walls I may have to just rough it out with 2x4… I don’t need to shoot for 16” stud spacing- this wall is only meant to hold a doorway, some plastic, and a couple register boots. It may be a very cheap price, I just haven’t had a plan yet. I do poorly when given too many options, lol. So building a wall out of “anything” becomes hard to plan. I think I’ll start by just hanging plastic.

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One of my first grows was in a used 30x30” cabinet. It was exhausted by a big computer fan and lightproofed with strip insulation for doors. And a 250hps.

I also made my pots out of cardboard to fit the space perfectly. Total cost…$150? Give or take.

My point is creativity.

All the best.


Hey CD, I also used pieces of lauan and foam insulation, as I found about a 25 pieces, 2’ to 3’.6" wide by 8’ long in the dumpster, and the lauan, as some was damaged, so the crew tossed them, and just worked the best stuff.
Once I glued the lauan to the foam, with gorilla glue, that stuff was like a solid. The corners, I shoved screws coated in gorilla glue, rock solid.
Hell even a paint splatted partial roll of flashing was dumped. I made hoods, folded and riveted.
As Foreigner stated, just ideas for out of the box adventure builds.
Best of luck in your crafting and scrounging tactics.


Love the ideas; they help in many aspects of my build plans, not just the tent lol.

Foam was an easy choice, except it’s kinda squishy- I couldn’t figure a way to attach a panel to fiberglass driveway markers for reinforcement and give it a hard surface to mount LED strips to. I’ll maybe have to do some more research on an epoxy/adhesive to use, but I forgot Gorilla Glue doesn’t eat foam, I put that shit on everything.

I think I have it all mostly cut down in price to the point I can’t get much lower, pending me finding a good deal… Just picked up some thing last night, will be raising the tent up higher, give it some air and make things easier on my back, and ducting to do a better exhaust run, theoretically light proofing it. With the addition of the 6” elbows I dare say I’ll be lightproofed. Unfiltered still, unwalled still. Each of those is priced out and just waiting on me to buy it.

Anyone have a nice intake filter box on the cheap? Happy to hear ideas on anything still. It’s not done until I build it, stay open in your planning and like you guys said, be creative.

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Hey @ChemicalDependant. Out of high school once I built a whole grow space underneath the steps where a closet would go in my parent’s unfinished basement. I used sheets of cardboard from pallets from my job. I lined each prefabricated sheet with glued on Reynolds Wrap. Dull side out. The shiny side collects light in the wrinkles apparently. Then I lined the whole inside of the of the closet space. Connecting each piece with foil tape. Its sounds bad but I would trade it for my grow tent any day. I didn’t actually use it threw to flower because of a law enforcement scare.
I was thinking if you cant get the panda film for right now just make a simple frame and get a cheap tarp to wrap around it. Use that for your veg and flower in your tents. Until you get the proper funds to get the proper stuff. Best of luck tho. I love DIY stuff. Its crazy what people can come up with.

Might wanna check this place out for used equipment. Maybe you can work something out with someone.

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