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. This guide with electrical safety tips should be read thoroughly.
Step 1. 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. Its recommended to put some rocks on the bottom of the bucket, they will keep the bucket from getting clogged. The more drainage, the better.
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.
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.
Step 2. Cut holes on the sides (a hot knife can be used to melt the plastic) of the main bucket to hold the PC fans (8×8 or 12×12). Its 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 three or two fans). One will act as the intake, the other as exhaust.
Step 3. Pick a bucket lid and make holes for the bulb sockets. Wire them in parallel with cable and a plug. Use wire nuts! You can use a light fixture to simplify this step, but its not ideal. Once the wiring is done, glue a container on the lid for safety. 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 [Other Stuff] section for more information about this superior design!
Step 4. It is now time to glue a power strip to one side of the bucket. Here you will connect the plug from the lights (and timer) and the 12v power supply for the fans, among other things.
Step 5. Cut the top of 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. Put reflective material inside and tape outside.
Step 6. 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.
That is it, you’re done! You now have a fully functional Space Bucket. Plant directly in the main bucket, turn on the lights and timer, and watch life thrive and grow. 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 heat). You should keep in mind that this is the basic Space Bucket design: please check the following [Other Stuff] and [Tips] sections for advanced techniques.