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Cold Frame for Balconies & Patios – How to Build

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Alright today on Repairs101 I’m going to show you how I made this miniature Cold Frame. For starting seeds and getting a jump on spring – even on the smallest balconies and patios.

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I used this impressive piece of two inch thick western red cedar. I salvaged and milled all the pieces I needed out of it on my table saw.

To hold the glass panels I cut steps in the stiles and muntin bar and grooves in the top and bottom rails. I put the one side together without glue so I’d always have an easy “in” if I ever needed to change the glass.

Then I glued and screwed the top rail where the hinges would be attached for extra strength.

Next I clamped down a piece of glass with a straight edge and lubed the roller on my glass cutter. Use glass cut running pliers to snap it clean.

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So then I backed out the screws from the bottom rail and dropped in the glass. Now, when you’re putting this back together be sure you’re not getting the glass caught between the rails so that when you draw it back together it breaks. When you’re done, it should fit loosely in all directions.


Next I laid down a bead of indoor – outdoor acrylic latex caulk with silicone on the weather side of the glass. One of my favourite tricks is to wet my finger with some paint thinner and smooth out caulking with it. Use your finger to get the shape and texture you want and a scraper to define the edges.

Now if you don’t have a clean scraper handy to apply glue to the end grain on the base cut yourself a clean piece of plastic to use. You’ll avoid contaminating the glue with all the dirt and oil from your fingers.

I found these shutter hinges cheap at my local hardware store. All I had to do was bend them a little bit in my vise to match the slope of the box. Now for a base I just grabbed a piece of white corrugated plastic to maximize reflected light inside the box.

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You can use wood, bricks, or even just the floor or the ground wherever you set up. Alright thanks for watching and don’t forget to subscribe!

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