TOH readers are no strangers to the idea of upcycling—and if you've been to the TOH Pinterest page, you would know that window greenhouses are all the rage. Here, we gathered tips from four fellow DIYers to help you craft a successful seed-starter or decorative structure for your own garden using salvaged windows. See four ways to make a greenhouse from old windows below.
Set Up an Inner Frame and Base
Be mindful of your materials and how they will interact with your climate. Melissa J. Will, a blogger at empressofdirt.net, built this elevated version using six windows she found from a home built in the 1880s. The price of the windows was right (free!) but each differs in size. To create a unified look and sturdy design, she built a simple wood frame and attached each of the windows onto it.
To keep the structure from sitting in soggy ground, Melissa also elevated the frame. Using scraps of wood found at the hardware store, she created a 36-inch-tall table base for the greenhouse to sit on. The legs are made from pressure-treated wood to withstand moisture and harsh weather.
See more photos of her project and the step-by-step instructions: Make a Window Greenhouse
Paint the Windows and Make a Roof
Be sure to reinforce the structure. TOH reader Steve Ashby used 11 old windows and materials found around his house to create this starter greenhouse. After cleaning and fixing the old panes of glass, he painted the wood frames and built a base. To reinforce the structure, he used screws to tie the windows together.
For a more weatherproof roof, he placed old storm-window panes over two of the wood windows, then routed a frame around it. Finally, he topped it off with recycled metal roof tiles bent over the top.
See more information about how this was built: Old Windows to Mini Greenhouse
Add on Function
Customize with purposeful pieces if your budget and skill level allow. To make this $150 backyard greenhouse, vintage windows were attached to each other with wood. Simple hinges from Home Depot helped create an outward-swinging door. A handsome arbor was built over the door, where a helpful hanging lantern is easily hooked. Since this structure is tall, interior shelves were added to maximize the interior space.
See more photos: Greenhouse Made From Vintage Windows
Keep It Simple
Repurpose and reuse everything! With only a few materials, you can create a greenhouse to put anywhere. Anne, a blogger at DesignDreams by Anne crafted a mini version out of three uniform-size, used storm windows and scrap lumber. She even incorporated a latch found on an old door and a wood pallet for the base. Since she only had three same-size windows, she designed this greenhouse to sit against the exterior of her home, but it could just as well sit on a balcony, deck, or patio.
See additional photos and how she built it: Mini Greenhouse From Old Storm Windows