Introduction: DIY Miniature Greenhouse
In this project, we will be building a DIY Miniature Greenhouse our of balsa wood and sheet protector. Visual model of this structure will help students to understand how to build this model. Moreover, students will understand the learning standards those are applied to this course. This project is particularly for students in grades 9-12 at the high school level students. Students should already have an experience with the lesson about different building types. The purpose of this project is to provide students an example of how building is being made with different style depends on the field they are being used.
The plan for this project is to build a miniature greenhouse that can be used both indoor and outdoor. we will use sheet protector as a window glass, and balsa wood as the frame. We will also add hinges on one of the roof windows in order to open them for watering the plants.
This project works with two STL standards, #14 and #20. #14 states that "Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use agricultural and related bio-technologies", and #20 states that "Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use construction technologies."
We will look specific benchmarks from each standard:
- C. Artificial ecosystems are human-made environments that are designed to function as a unit and are comprised of humans, plants, and animals. (Grade 3-5)
- M. Structures require maintenance, alteration, or renovation periodically to improve them or to alter their intended use. (Grade 9-12)
- N. Structures can include prefabricated materials. (Grade 9-12)
- Learn how handmade artificial ecosystem can be designed to function as a unit and are comprised of humans, plants, and animals.
- Learn the necessity of maintenance, alteration, or renovation in construction.
- Utilize tools to produce a visual model of a structure
Step 1: Materials
You will need:
- .5cm X .5cm X 100cm(1m) Balsa wood stick (8 counts)
- Sheet Protectors (about 3 sheets)
- 3/4 in X 11/16 in hinges (2 counts)
- Super glue
- X-Acto Knife
- 19 cm X 26 cm bottom box
Balsa wood sticks -----$14 ($1.75 each)
Sheet Protectors -------$3.10 (pack of 10)
Hinges --------------------$2.50 (pack of 4)
Super glue --------------$3.50
X-Acto knife ------------$4.15
Step 2: Sketching
This mini greenhouse will provide the space for multi-purpose use, indoor or outdoor. You can put the vase inside to make it more decorative or put the structure outside in the yard and locate it on the mini garden.
The actual structure will be 19.5cm X 27.5cm X 27cm big. The window will be alternated to plastic pad, from sheet protector. Add hinges on one of the roof windows in order to open them for watering the plants. This structure will be perfectly surrounded and block the rain and accept the sunlight, so it will be fit to use them both indoor and outdoor.
If you want to build more realistic environment, you can add several tools inside of the greenhouse so you can make the temperature and humidity under control. Since the size of the structure is big enough and have empty space to place other tools. For example, we can attach LED light strip on the edge of the structure to make an artificial sunlight.
Step 3: Cut and Assemble-1 (Body Frame)
Once we are ready to go, we can start crafting. Body frame will be based on the dimension of the box. We will use the ruler to measure the exact length to cut and use the super glue to attach them together. We start off with cutting out the bottom part of the box and pretend that as the planting area. The size of the bottom frame should be a little bigger than the box, so we set the size of the base frame as 27 cm X 19.5 cm and 19 cm pillars.
For the bottom base and pillars part will need several different lengths of the part:
- Two 27 cm (Base length)
- Tow 19.5 cm (Base width)
- Four 19 cm (Pillars)
We use X-Acto knife to cut these sticks but if you have better cutting tools, you may use that. X-Acto knife still works fine! Cut these parts as exact as possible if you want to have a good-looking frame! Make sure glue is all dried before you give a force to the frame. (It might break)
Step 4: Cut and Assemble-2 (Roof Frame)
Now we are working on a second part, building a roof frame and windows. On this step you will be building a roof part structure and cut the tip of the frame in order to attach them well with other structure.
You will need those in this step:
- Two 15 cm (Roof width)
- Two 14 cm (Roof width)
- Two 27 cm (Roof length)
Through this step, you will be making 2 different sized frames and attach them together to make a roof. Make two of 3-dimension square (Two 15 cm and one 27 cm balsa stick). Moreover, as you can see in the picture 3, you will also need to trim the tip of the opened edge to the 45-degree angle, so it makes a flat surface when it attaches to the pillar.
!! Before you attach them together, remember that the trimmed edge should always facing upward instead of downward !!
Stack those frames in 90 degrees. Attach top plane of the shorter leg frame to side plane of the longer leg frame. (Remember, trimmed edge should face upside!! NOT downside)
Step 5: Cut and Assemble-3(Window & New Pillars)
By this moment, I assume that you would have some glue on your finger. Almost done! We will be making a window that will be attached to the roof frame. Also, we will add another pillars that is connected from the bottom straight to the roof. This pillar is to prevent a roof collapse under weight of the snow or rain.
This step, you will need:
- Two 14 cm
- Two 15 cm
- Four 27 cm
- Two 26 cm
Remember we had two different size of the roof frame? We will be making a same frame into 4-dimension square this time (Picture 1). Don't worry! you do not need to trim the tip this time! Use 14 cm, 15 cm, and 27 cm in order to make this. And with 26 cm stick, you will be cutting the tip into A-shape (Picture 2) in so this pillar can fit in the middle of the roof and support them (Picture 3).
As you can see in picture 3, attach the wider window frame on the longer roof side. Then, add hinges on the end of each side of the 14 cm width window (Picture 1). Connect the other side of the hinges to the tip of the wider window (Picture 3).
How did I put the transparent paper on the window? I will show you in next step.
Step 6: Cut and Assemble-4 (Window)
Now, this is the last part. we will attach the sheet protector instead of the glass. Glass will be the most idealistic but since it is not easy to get a custom sized glass for this project, we will use sheet protector for this time.
- Three sheet protectors
This is not hard! Just follow through these steps:
- Place the sheet protector on the table.
- Put a glue on the frame where the sheet will be attached.
- Place the glued frame on the sheet (Picture 4).
- Let them dry for a while and trim the sheet out following through the frame shape.
- Do the same thing in all dimensions but the floor, leave them open.
Make sure we leave the bottom part opened and check if glue is perfectly dried before you lift the frame. After you done this in all 6 dimensions, you are done! now you made DIY Miniature Greenhouse!
Step 7: Conclusion
I personally made a flower to place it on the imaginary garden in the green house. The picture 1 is showing how it will look when this structure is being used in outdoor. Picture 3 is showing when it is used indoor. As using it indoor, there is still a room to add other tools to create an artificial environment. The design itself makes an cozy mood by placing a vase inside of this structure.
I want to think about how the standard that is used in this project, Standard #14 and 20.
I would like to think about this whole project in the view of standard 14 benchmark C.
C. Artificial ecosystems are human-made environment that are designed to function as a unit and are comprised of humans, plants, and animals.
Imagine if this structure is as big as your height and you actually can get inside of this structure. Then we are using this structure as a human-made environments that are comprised of human, plants, and animals.
I would also like to think about using hinges in this structure represent the view of standard 20 benchmark M and N.
M. Structures require maintenance, alteration, or renovation periodically to improve them or to alter their intended use. (Grade 9-12)
N. Structures can include prefabricated materials. (Grade 9-12)
Using hinges and plastic sheets in this structure represents that this structure needs maintenance and alteration to improve it. Hinges and plastic sheets have very limited usage; it can break and get rusted. Someone needs to keep look after the part of the structure and change the broken one to maintain the structure in good condition. Using hinges and plastic sheets also can represent of benchmark N. Those are prefabricated materials that enhance the function of the structure. Whatever that are made in hands will have better detail, but many times adding prefabricated materials helps the structure be in a better quality and save time.