DIY Greenhouse Terrarium using Picture Frames

A few months ago I shared this project over at Ella Claire.
And today I thought I'd re-share it here on my own blog for any of you 
who may have missed it.
 I made this terrarium out of  picture frames I bought at the dollar store.
I came across this idea one day on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. 
The instructions I found were somewhat complicated and so
I have come up with a simpler way to make one.

Other instructions involve brackets, screws and hinges.
I made mine with lightweight frames, hot glue, and white duct tape.  Like I said, Simple :)

To make a picture frame greenhouse like mine, you will need to start out with 
8 lightweight picture frames;
Two 8 X 10's, Two 5 X 7's and four 4 X 6's

The perfect place to find lightweight frames is at the dollar store.
The frames need to be lightweight so that they will hold together easily with just hot glue.

Before purchasing my frames, I laid them all out on the floor at the store, making sure that they lined up perfectly together. 
The two 4 X 6's next to each other need to be equal length to the 8 X 10's

When you get your frames home, the first step will be to paint them.
Remove the glass and backing of the frames, then spray paint them on both sides.
I used Rustoleum semi-gloss spray paint.
Once the paint  is dry, it's time to glue the glass back into the frames.
Place hot glue in each of the four corners of the frame. 
 Be careful not to add too much or it will show through the glass.
Now lay the glass into place.
Secure with the metal tabs.
Now run the glue gun down into the cracks between the frame and glass.
Once all of the glass is glued into the frames, it's time to construct the greenhouse.
Run the glue gun down the side of your 5 X 7 frame and glue onto your 8 X 10 frame.
Contunue glueing on each frame until you have created a box.
Now run the glue gun at each corner on the inside of the box.  This will help to secure it even more.
To create the roof, first glue the 4 X 6's to each other lengthwise. You will be making two that look like this:
You will NOT be gluing all four frames together, instead you will want to use white duct tape.
The duct tape will create a flexible edge that will allow for the roof top to fold over.
Note: I also added duct tape over the sides I had glued together, but realized later that this was unnecessary. You only need to tape the four frames together (see line below).

It helps to have someone holding the roof while the other person is gluing it into place.
Once the roof is on, your greenhouse is finished and should look like this:

Place greenhouse over your favorite little plants next to a sunny window, and watch the plants grow. 

I don't think I could be any happier with how my green house turned out.

What do you think?
Will you be making a picture frame greenhouse of your own?



  1. Emily, you're a genius! :)
    Your terrarium looks amazing, I think I might give it a try soon.
    Pinning for now :)

  2. How pretty and I will be making one for me. Thank you for the post

  3. This is beautiful. How clever to use picture frames. I think I will have to make one for my porch. Thank you for sharing.

    Letters from the Shore

  4. Dollar stores are amazing places for cheap frames you can adapt to suit your needs. I love the idea of a picture frame greenhouse, because my wife and I are always taking photo's and looking for inventive ways to show them off. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions; I hope to be making my own greenhouse very soon.

    Refugia Stein @ Container Domes

  5. Great idea. Cute enough to just be a decorative piece too. Love that you simplified the project. May have to try this one day.

  6. Love Love Love this. I have a box of Frames already.i have got to try this for sure. You made it Simple. I really love that. Thanks

  7. Cindy from Tyler, TX
    I have CATS, and they like to nibble my plants, so my greenery lives in a room with an eastern window, all alone, where I cannot enjoy their beauty. I am going to create several glass 'cages' for my plants, with screening on the top frames for breathability for the plants.
    Thank you for this great idea! I'm heading over to my neighborhood Dollar Tree for several frames. :)

  8. This is a brilliant and informative tips. I must follow your tips on moving from one place to another.I also highly recommend everyone to follow your tips on their moving. Thank you for sharing such a great article on housing moving tips. I am really happy to read it.

  9. Hi Emily, I followed this link to your post: I noticed that your post is two years old, and wondered if, now that you can look back at it, you would change any of the instructions or recommendations. I love this!

    1. Thank you Marilyn. My little greenhouse is still holding up well after two years. :)

  10. I must say this was very innovative to use the frames. It made me laugh a little because its so simple. Yet so inventive :D :D Well done! And thanks for the share.