At last! I finally made my little window greenhouse. I found the windows on the side of the road quite a while ago and they have been occupying precious space on my covered patio ever since so it’s great to have it done.
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First, how many 35 x 42″ (ish) windows you can fit in a small hatchback car (without having to leave your companion) at the curb?
For the record, the answer is 16.
This project requires just 6 windows so I have 10 more to play with later.
Here’s the problem. These windows came from a house built in the late 1800s. And every single window is a slightly different size, varying anywhere from .25″ to 1.5″ in height and/or width. That’s a huge variation to work with when you’re trying to frame something!
After sketching out several different plans, and worrying that I was not thinking it through properly, I decided to build a very sturdy inner frame that I could attach the windows to.
You see a lot of projects like this where the windows are simply joined to each other, but I wasn’t confident the wood was strong enough (could have some rot inside) plus, there was the problem of varying sizes. I might be able to join them together but they would be so far from square that it would look somewhat ridiculous. Even I have my limits, so the frame seemed like a good idea.
I also wanted to create the roof with windows and these suckers are very heavy. By creating a support frame, I could be confident that there would be no tricky joins or mishaps later.
1. Build a table base to hold the window greenhouse.
The height was determined by how much snow we get. I didn’t want the greenhouse to sit in wet snow for 6 months of the year so this way it’s 36″ off the ground. If it snows more than that, we’re all doomed anyways.
The added bonus is that this height makes the entire structure visible from the patio, as it sits higher than most of the garden plants in front of it.
2. Build a frame to mount the windows (sides and roof) on.
Truthfully, my main goal was to build something really cute and quirky. The fact that it has a door that opens and closes and can house delicate plants is a bonus.
3. Paint and decorate windows.
First, of course, I had to sand, repair, prime, and paint the windows. Then came the fun stuff—decorating the windows with glass paints.
There was one unfortunate event which you’ll hear about….
4. Assemble structure and admire.
Forget measure twice, cut one. I must have measured a dozen times! I wanted to be able to build and paint the structure on the covered patio (to avoid hot sun and rain) so I had to be sure that everything could fit through the doorway to get it out to the garden when it was done. You’ll see what happened…
Tools & Materials
- 6 old wood-framed windows (4 for sides of greenhouse, 2 for roof)
- 2×4 lumber for frame and table base
- 4×4 lumber for table legs
- 1×6 lumber for table top
- Self-tapping screws
- L brackets (to attach greenhouse frame to table)
- Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System
- Electric drill (used as a screwdriver)
- Compound Miter Saw (you could also use a circular saw or a hand saw)
- Palm sander and sandpaper
- Carpenter’s wood glue
- Primer, paint, and wood stain, paint rollers and brushes
- Glass craft paints, artist paint brushes
- Decorative picket fence panels
- Door hinges and handle
- Safety gloves, protective glasses, ear protectors
- Carpenter square (for marking cutting lines on wood)
Part One: Build A Table Base
As you can see with the completed table base shown here, it’s a simple structure designed to be very strong and sturdy. Since the windows were already a mishmash of sizes, I opted to buy wood from the seconds pile at the lumber store to keep costs down.
- (4) 4×4 legs
- (4) 2×4 side panels
- (4) 2×4 for support – cut at 45°
- (6) 1×6 pieces to form table top
- As you can see in the photos, I formed a square frame with the outer 2×4 pieces and attached the legs to the inner corners.
- Extra 2×4 pieces with 45° miter cuts were attached to make it really secure.
- The 1×6 table top boards (not shown) were cut to fit on top of the frame.
Once the table top was added, it became very sturdy with no wiggle room. Again, I knew the greenhouse would be very heavy so this baby had to be strong.
Next it was time to make the greenhouse frame which was my introduction to this wonderful tool:
Here’s all the steps for building this window greenhouse
1. Make A Window Greenhouse – Build A Base Table (Part 1)
2. Make A Window Greenhouse – Build A Frame (Part 2)
3. Make A Window Greenhouse – Paint & Decorate The Windows (Part 3)
4. Make A Window Greenhouse – Assemble Everything (Part 4)
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