Introduction: A Glassless Cold Frame / Mini-greenhouse

About: I like to tinker. I'm a co-founder and active participant of my local hackerspace: Hack42 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. You can also find me on under the name Moem.
This describes how I made a cold frame, or a bottomless mini-greenhouse if you will, using an old skylight dome for the top. It's a simple process really, too simple to warrant a full step-by-step.
  1. Acquire skylight dome, recycled of course
  2. Measure the size of the frame that will fit inside
  3. Make frame from plywood: 30 cm high, and almost as wide and long as the dome
  4. Paint the frame so it will be durable. I used two coats of white primer for outdoors
  5. Place frame in your garden on a patch of good clean soil
  6. Sow your herbs.
As an extra, you'll see how I made markers from disposable forks, using a label writer.
Over time, my skylight dome acquired a border of black ductape, which looks neat and hides some cracks; I also added some luggage ties so I can cover the dome with something translucent to shield my herbs from too-bright sun.

What are the advantages of building this cold frame?
  • You can sow your herbs and veggies earlier in the season, capturing the sun's heat to boost them
  • There is no glass involved. It's safe for children and pets
  • It keeps your seedlings safe from birds, snails, hail and Godzilla
  • It's a great way to reuse an old skylight dome
  • It's very easy to build
My kitchen herbs are doing well. I'm getting hungry just writing this and looking at the pics.