Introduction: Mini Packaging Tape Greenhouse
Do you like sprouting seedling or growing exotic plants? If so, you should build a greenhouse, however, building a full-sized greenhouse is timely and very expensive. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to build a mini-greenhouse the perfect size for sprouting seedling with a very small budget.
To build the greenhouse you will need the following:
- about two and a half 8' 2"x2" boards
- one 1"x2" board
- one roll of clear packaging tape
- about 20 2-2.5 inch wood screws
- wood glue
- power drill
- tape measure
- pencil or pen
- clamps and or vice
- 2 small hinges with matching screws
- A screwdriver that will fit the hinge screws
Step 1: Cut the Frame Boards
To build the base frame you will need to cut the 2"x2" boards to the following lengths:
- four: 22-inch boards
- four: 12-inch boards
- four: 6-inch boards
To build the Roof you will need:
- one: 19-inch board
- four: 9 3/4-inch boards cut with a 40° on one side and a 50° as shown in the diagram. I would also recommend writing the angles so that you don't get them mixed up down the line.
Step 2: Assemble the Frame I
Using the 22-inch boards and the 6-inch boards, you will create two rectangles. First, arrange two of the 22-inch boards and two of the 6-inch ones, to create a rectangle, with the longer boards on the top and bottom. The rectangle should measure 22"x9". Now use a small drill bit to drill holes into all of the corners through the longer boards into the shorter sideboards. Now screw one wood screw into each corner. Now repeat with the other 22-inch and 6-inch boards two create another 22"x9" rectangle.
Step 3: Assembling the Frame II
Next, you will use the two rectangles to create a rectangular prism using the four 12-inch boards. First, arrange the two rectangles so they're standing up on one of the 22-inch sides. Place the two rectangles 12 inches apart and place the two 12-inch boards on either end so that they form a rectangle with the bottoms of the rectangle frames. Now you should have a rectangular prism that is missing the top two edges. Check that the bottom measures 15 inches by 22 inches. Now drill 4 pilot holes in the bottom corners through the 22-inch boards into the 12-inch boards and screw in four screws. Flip the entire prism upside-down and add the remaining 12-inch boards to create a complete rectangular prism. I will now refer to this prism as the bottom frame.
Step 4: Create Roof Framing
Next, you will create the frame for the roof. First, you must creat the two triangle pieces by gluing two of the special angle boards together. In order to attach them, apply glue to the 40° angle of one of two boards. Now press the glue surface to the 40° angle on the other board such that they form a triangle. Use a wide clamp or a vice to hold them together. Leave them clamped as recommended by the label on the wood glue you are using, the longer the better. Once you have made one triangle, repeat that with the other two angle boards so that you have two matching triangles.
Step 5: Install the Roof Frame
Two install it, you will attach the two triangles from the last step to the two far ends of the rectangular frame. Place the two triangles so that they are standing up on the two shorter ends of the rectangular prism. Make them so that they are flush on all sides with the base frame. Working on one triangle at a time, drill two pilot holes one on either side of the triangles, through the triangle board into the bottom frame. Screw in screws into the two gently pull up on the triangle to make sure that the screws went into the base frame. If the triangle is not sturdily attached, you can use longer screws, or drill another pilot hole further down. Repeat this with the other triangle piece on the other side, it should match the picture.
Step 6: Add the Cross Piece
Flip the box on its side, and place the 19-inch board at the points of the two triangles. You want the sides of this board to be diagonal rather than straight up and down. It may stay in place from pressure, or it may want to fall out. In order to install it, flip the box onto one of the small sides. Use one hand to keep the board in place and the other to drill a pilot hole through the top of the triangle into the 19-inch board. You don't want to drill right through your glue seam, so drill the hole slightly to either side. Next, keeping the board in position with one hand(or an assistant) add a screw. Flip the box onto the other side and drill another hole and add another screw.
Step 7: Glue, Sand and Paint
Now the frame is complete, which is why this is a good time to address any issues your frame may have. The first thing you will want to do is to check and make sure all the boards are secure. Try and gently twist all of the frame boards, if any of them twist you will need to add glue. To glue them in place, apply a droplet of wood glue to both of the seams, use a wet paint scraper, or just your finger to push the glue into the seam and to smooth it out. Do this with all loose boards.
Once the glue has dried, use sandpaper to smooth down any areas that are rough and splintery.
Finally, if you want you can go ahead and paint the frame, this step is completely optional, however, if you used untreated lumber, the boards will only last for a few years outside before rotting. Applying exterior paint will stop the boards from rotting.
Step 8: Creating the Walls of Tape I
Once any glue and paint have completely dried you can begin making the packaging tape greenhouse walls. To do this you will need the tape and scissors. First, you will want to tape the outside, start by running a strip of packaging tape from one bottom corner to another, alongside one of the bottom boards so that it overlaps onto the bottom board by at least a quarter inch. Continue this strip all the way around the entire greenhouse until it comes back to the beginning. Now repeat this but higher up, make sure the second strip overlaps the first by about quarter inch. Repeat this again and again until all of the 4 walls are completely covered, each time making the tape overlap so there are no gaps at all. The walls should look like the fifth picture.
Step 9: Creating the Walls of Tape II
To complete the walls, you must add strips of tape to the insides of the walls, thus covering the sticky side of the tape. To do this, flip the box on its side, cut a bunch of strips of tape to 6 inches, now carefully place them perpendicular to the other tape on the inside. You will want to start on the left placing pieces one at a time moving right. I recommend overlapping the pieces to add strength and prevent any of the sticky surfaces from showing. Add these strips to all of the insides of each of the four walls. You should be able to run your hand along the inside and outside without feeling any sticky spots.
Step 10: Taping in the Roof
Like the sides, you will want to tape the roof first by placing strips all the way across lengthwise parallel to the ground. Place strips that overlap until you reach the top of the roof, but you only want to do this on one side of the roof, the other will be used for a door. Once you have taped all of one side of the roof, flip the box onto that side of the roof, and like before we will add tape strips to the sticky part. This time you will want to make 7-inch strips. Place them as before, perpendicular and slightly overlapping, from the left to the right.
Step 11: Taping the Roof II
Next, you will add packaging tape into the two triangles of the roof. First, like the other section before, you must tape horizontally all the way across the triangle starting from the bottom and adding more strips until the entire triangle is covered. Next, flip it over so the tape is on the ground. Cut pieces of tape to match the angles of the triangle, I recommend starting from the center with and working out to the sides. Place the tape into the triangle perpendicular to the other tape until there are no sticky areas left. Repeat this step with the other triangle.
Step 12: Building the Roof Door
For this step, you will first need to cut the 1"x2" board. Cut the board to make the following:
- two 21-inch boards
- two 7-inch boards
Once the boards are cut to those sizes, arrange them into a rectangle with the longer boards on the top and bottom. Since these boards are so thin, rather than using screws, we will use wood glue to adhere them together. One at a time, add wood glue to the ends of the 7-inch boards, then use clamps to carefully hold the corners perpendicular. If you have a 90-degree clamp, use it, if you don't you can just clamp them as I did in the last picture, or you can do one corner at a time and use a vice to hold them in place. If you are finding that you really can't clamp them, then you can try to use really thin screws such as trim screws.
Step 13: Finishing the Door
To complete the door you must do two things, first, you must tape the door as you did the rest of the box. To do this, run tape strips from one end to the other, lengthwise. Then flip it over and add strips of tape to the backside of the other tape so that there are no longer any sticky surfaces.
Next, you must add the hinges. To do this, use a measuring tape to measure along the back(the side that will be facing in the greenhouse) of one of the long boards, make a market at 5.25 inches, and one at 15.75 inches. I actually did this before I taped, but it doesn't matter in what order you do it. Once you have those marks, center your hinges with those marks as pictured, you want the other side of the hinge to be opposite of the tape. Install the hinge screws, you may or may not need pilot holes depending on how big your screws are, I did not as my screws were tiny.
Step 14: Installing the Roof Door
This part is a tad bit tricky with just two hands, but it is doable. First, hold the door in the place it should go with the hinges at the top and on the inside. Next, hold the door in an open position, making sure to keep contact with the top edge. Using one hand to hold the door in place, use the other hand to start adding the first screw. If you need to add pilot holes, use an awl or a pencil to make a mark where the hole should be, set the door down and then make your pilot hole. Once the first screw is in, the rest are much easier. I find it easiest, to prop the door open with a board(~3ft) and then add the remaining screws. Once all the screws are in, close the door and check that it closes properly and that there aren't gaps.
Step 15: And That's It
Now you can just move your greenhouse to where you want it. A great benefit of this design is that you can just pick it up and place it over your plants. It is also very important to monitor the temperature inside the greenhouse, you don't even need a thermometer to do this, just make sure to feel inside on warm days to make sure it's not too hot. I like to have a few small wood pieces to prop mine open on warmer days. You may find that the greenhouse spends parts of the year empty after your seedlings have grown up and moved out. However, growing plants isn't the only use for this greenhouse. I have found that the greenhouse is excellent for helping bread rise. On a 70 degree day, the greenhouse may get up to 90 degrees, which, is the ideal temperature for yeast development. Using this greenhouse can take bread rise times and cut them in half or even more. If you think of any more creative uses for this greenhouse, please share them below!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, don't forget to share your result if you make it!
Second Prize in the
Glue & Tape Speed Challenge