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DIY cold frame

It’s surprisingly easy to create a handy cold frame from a large recycled window and some fence palings – perfect for protecting seedlings or cuttings during cold weather.

You will need: Wooden-framed window (ours measured approx. 710mm x 1500mm) with old hinges and fittings removed, 1.8m fence palings cut to the following sizes (depending on the size of the window):

Also required: 50mm exterior screws, 30mm exterior screws, bucket, cloth, electric screwdriver, exterior filler, exterior hinges, garden hose with clean running water, pencil, tape measure, paintbrushes, Resene Lustacryl tinted to Resene Permanent Green, Resene Quick Dry, Resene Paint Prep and Housewash, sandpaper (coarse), saw, set square, stiff-bristled brush.

Top tip: Placing a layer of thick cardboard or newspaper in the base of the cold frame will help to prevent any weeds from growing through. Position your cold frame in a sunny but sheltered spot and check regularly to see if watering is needed. Prop the lid open from time to time to increase ventilation, but always ensure the lid is closed at night in the cooler months.

To get the look: Mark painted the background fence and shed wall with Resene Lumbersider tinted to Resene Soft Apple.

Here's another idea: To create a larger-scale cold frame, construct the base from landscaping timber or macrocarpa sleepers and use an old exterior glass door as a lid.

As seen in kiwigardener

Step 1 Step one
Mix one part Resene Paint Prep and Housewash to three parts clean water.
Step 2 Step two
Scrub the window frame vigorously with the solution using a stiff-bristled brush, and then rinse with clean water. Allow to dry.
Step 3 Step three
Fill any holes in the window frame with exterior filler and allow to dry. Lightly sand the window frame to ‘key’ the paint surface. Wipe off any sanding residue with a clean cloth.
Step 4 Step four
Measure, mark and cut the fence palings to the dimensions listed. Smooth any roughsawn edges with sandpaper.
Step 5 Step five
Fix four of the 710mm pieces of timber together at right angles, as shown, using 50mm screws.
Step 6 Step six
Attach two of the 1.5m lengths of timber into position, as shown, to form a rectangular frame. Use the set square to ensure corners are at right angles.
Step 7 Step seven
Turn the frame on its back and attach the third 1.5m length of timber into position, bracing with the three 300mm pieces of timber, as shown (trimmed to fit, if necessary).
Step 8 Step eight
Measure, mark and cut the two remaining 710mm pieces of timber into identical triangular shapes to form sloping side edges, and fix into position. Attach the 1.5m x 70mm piece of timber along the back edge of the cold frame.
Step 9 Step nine
Spot-prime any areas of bare timber on the window frame with Resene Quick Dry and allow two hours to dry.
Step 10 Step ten
Apply one coat of Resene Quick Dry to the cold frame base and allow two hours to dry.
Step 11 Step eleven
Apply two coats of Resene Permanent Green to the window frame, allowing two hours for each coat to dry.
Step 12 Step twelve
Apply two coats of Resene Permanent Green to the cold frame base, allowing two hours for each coat to dry.
Step 13 Step thirteen
Place the cold frame base into position and attach the window frame to the base using hinges and 30mm screws.
Step 14 Completed project
A large recycled window and some fence palings – perfect for protecting seedlings or cuttings during cold weather.

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