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Making a Cold Frame

Hello all!

I've managed to get hold of some wooden pallets, and would like to try and build a cold frame.

DIY skills are extremely limited (!), but have got enthusiasm and 'where there's a will there's a way'!!

Any advice and/or photos would be gratefully received.




  • Pink lilyPink lily Posts: 175

     I've got old pallets in the garden and was intending to just make hanging wall gardens with them, but a cold frame is a great idea!  I will be following this post with interest.    I got a new drill for christmas and I'm dying to use it image

  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364

    Hmm! Well it is no more than planks put together in a rectangle or square with a lid on.

    Getting a non breakable Glass or Perspex lid on the top so it stays there and lifts up and and down is probably the hardest bit. 

    I could probably make one if I had time but CBA . I once made a house for my tortoise.

    diy cold frame plans

    how to build a cold frame from pallets

    how to build a cold frame from old windows

    cold frame plans pdf

    how to make a cold frame uk

    how to make a cold frame for raised garden bed

    how to build a cold frame 8 steps

    There you are some ideas.  It's worth a try.

    Last edited: 23 January 2017 17:29:43

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,290

    Guess this is an excuse to post these pictures again, Sandra.



    This is what I did: I had a old door and decided before I started that this would be the hinged top.  We had been doing some building work and had various size pallets around, including some long plasterboard ones.  Decided to use one for the front and back.  I didn't try to take them apart but used them as they were and cut them longways to the dimensions I wanted, shorter at the front and taller at the back.I had to cut them down a bit to make them the length of the door. I joined them together with wood from another pallet that I took apart and used the slats for the ends. It wasn't difficult and I did this in a few hours.  I bought some plastic sheeting from Wickes for the top and front.  This was the only expense I had.

    You could pretty much do similar with standard size pallets and make the top out of another one, cut down to fit.  Good luck.

    Last edited: 23 January 2017 17:30:56

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364

    Redwing.  It looks like a plant palace. Very posh. Respect. 

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • Sandra100Sandra100 Posts: 130

    Redwing that's fantastic, and thanks for all the detail in your post.  Need to get hold of a door, but when I do am raring to go!

    Iamweedy, thanks for the references.


  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,290

    Thanks Iamweedy and Sandra. I was chuffed with it when I built it.  It's now full to bursting with overwintering plants. This picture was taken in October when I brought plants in for the winter.


    Last edited: 23 January 2017 17:43:00

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,054

    You'll need basic equipment - saw, screwdriver and screws and the ability to use them. You could use nails but it's never very brilliant. Some hinges for the lid.

    Make it higher at the back than the front to maximise light to the plants, and the lid needs to be perspex or glass - old windows work well if you can get one. It should be deep enough to take a reasonable sized depth of pot plus it's growth.  About 9" or so at the front, and about 6" higher at the back, so you'll need a triangular piece of wood for each side at the top. You can achieve that by sawing a piece of timber in half diagonally.

    You can make it any dimensions you want, but make it of a size easy enough to reach the back for opening, closing and fastening the lid, especially if it's against a fence that you might fasten it to when open fully. Around 2 and a half feet in depth is ideal. The width (or length) can be almost anything, but if you make it too long, the structure of the lid especially might suffer. About 3 or 4 feet is pretty average. A timber post for the corners to attach the front, back and sides can be of 2" by 2" timber, but you can use old fence  posts or anything similar if you have it. A handle of some kind for the lid is useful.

    Hope that's of a little help. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble SuffolkPosts: 4,229

    Sandra, might be an idea to try your local freecycle website for doors/pallets. Just type freecycle and your nearest large town/city and it will take you directly to your regions page. Best of luck!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,400

    There is a whole thread on using pallets here - 

    Have a read and you'll find info on cold frames but also other useful projects to make with pallets.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Sandra100Sandra100 Posts: 130

    Everybody is so helpful - thanks!

    WonkyWomble I'm already using Freecycle, that's where I got my pallets from.

    Looking forward to having a go now!


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