DIY cold frame

From NZ Gardener magazine

Rose Hughes’ step-by-step guide shows you how to easily make a cold frame to start seedlings early or extend your growing season.

Create a DIY cold frame for your garden

You will need:

  • 4.8m 200mm x 50mm treated pine
  • 7m 50mm x 50mm treated pine
  • 15m of 60mm x10mm or similar
  • 8 x M8 x 90mm coach screws
  • 10g x 100mm & 8g x 65mm exterior grade screws
  • 8g x 25mm stainless steel screws
  • Screwdriver, drill bits & 18mm paddle bit
  • 1 sheet of 2.4 x 1.2m Twinwall (polycarbonate)
  • Dust tape for Twinwall (polycarbonate)
  • Sandpaper, Wood glue
  • Drop saw
  • Cutting knife and clamps
  • Resene test pots, stencil brush, masking tape, paintbrush.

Cutting list:

  • Base: From the 200mm x 50mm pine – 2 x 1200mm & 2 x 920mm
  • Top: From the 50mm x 50mm pine – 1 x 1185mm top rail; for the side frames – 2 x 920mm, 2 x 400mm 4x 650mm.
  • From the 60mm x 10mm – 8 x 1200mm & 8 x 550mm.

Cost: $350 excluding paint.

Step 1Step one
Base: Mark two screw holes 25mm in from the end on the longer lengths. Drill 5mm deep holes with the 18mm paddle bit. Drill a centre hole through the timber. Mark and drill the screw holes to match on the side pieces. Undercoat with Resene Quick Dry Primer. Topcoat in Lumbersider – I used White.
Step 2Step two
Find a template for the tile design (optional) and use test pots to paint the design on the front face of all the pieces – I used Resene Gumboot & Quarter Regent Grey. Once dry, join the base together with wood glue and the coach screws, ensuring it is square.
Step 3Step three
Side frames: Cut a 45-degree angle off each end of the 920mm pieces. Mark the centre and cut a 20mm deep x 40mm wide trench in both.
Step 4Step four
Glue and screw one 400mm length into each trench cut. Mark and cut the angles on the supports (see image) and join with 65mm countersunk screws top and bottom. Cut the Twinwall using the frames as a guide. Cut two Twinwall panels at 1200mm x 665mm.
Step 5Step five
Apply Twinwall tape as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Undercoat and topcoat pieces with Resene Quick Dry Primer and two top coats of Lumbersider – I used White.
Step 6Step six
Create two sets of frames with the Twinwall panels between. Screw together from the inside face only using the 25mm stainless screws. Attach the Twinwall to the side frames. Attach hinges to the top inside edge of each panel and attach this to the top rail. Slide the top rail into position in the gap on the side frames and attach with a 100mm screw at each end. Attach the top to the base along the sides.

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