Tabletop Greenhouse with Faux-Etched Glass
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you probably know how much we love our plants and finding unique ways to incorporate them into our décor, both inside and outside. There’s just one problem. We have purr babies that like attacking Christmas trees and seeing how far they can smack small potted plants around on the potting bench. 😀 That’s why this easy-to-make, portable tabletop greenhouse with faux-etched glass windows works so well for us.
Not only is it cat proof, but the greenhouse provides the perfect, light-filled growing spot for small plants and seedlings.
And don’t even get me started on those etched windows. I love how it adds a hint of old-world charm to the whole look.
The DIY greenhouse doesn’t take up too much space and can be used inside or outside in a protected spot.
Since the greenhouse is lightweight, it’s easy to move around when a cold spell hits or the light changes.
And when I need to get to the plants, I just use my
patented “skewer and bead prop up” system 😀
You can customize and decorate the greenhouse to suit your unique style. I add small fleur-de-lis embellishments to the sides of mine.
Okay, before I show you how to make a tabletop greenhouse with faux-etched windows, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
I found four frames at a local thrift store for the astronomical sum of R50. That’s R12.50 a frame or, at our current exchange rate, less than $1. Bargain 😀
Besides some cheap frames, you’ll also need:
- 2 x small narrow hinges
- Acetone or denatured alcohol
- Paint and paintbrush
- Clear all-purpose glue (E6000, Welbond, or Prately will all work)
For the etched windows of my tabletop greenhouse, I was originally going to use etching paste, but the warnings put me off. Geez, it sounded like I had to get my hazmat suit out, so I used frosted glass spray paint instead. If scary chemicals aren’t your thing either, I’ve shared two other ways to get the etched glass look towards the bottom of the post.
How to make a tabletop greenhouse
This tabletop greenhouse consists of two parts:
- A glass roof made from frames to let in all that delicious light
- And a wooden base to hold the plants
If you know how to cut a straight line with a jigsaw or table saw, and can use a screwdriver, then this one is a breeze to make.
Making the greenhouse glass roof
Remove the glass and backing and clean the frames.
Figure out where you want to put the hinges on one of the frames. About 3 – 4cm in from the edge should be fine. Use masking tape to keep them in place while you screw them on. Just check that your screws aren’t longer than the frame is deep. You don’t want those screws popping out on the other side.
Line the second frame up with the first one (long end to long end), and tape the hinges down on the second frame before screwing them in.
Paint the frames and hinges in a color of your choice. I used Satin Heirloom White from Rust-Oleum.
Making the wooden base
Place the hinged frames on their long ends to form a triangle, as shown below. Measure the height (A) and bottom (B).
These measurements will determine how to cut the sides of the tabletop greenhouse base. Add about 5cm (2”) to the bottom for a tray area (C ).
Measure the length of the frame (D).
Subtract about 3 – 4 cm (1 2/8″ – 1 6/8″) from the frame length (D) to figure out how long to cut the front and back sides of the greenhouse base. Add 5cm (2”) for the width.
Eeeeeek, I hope the piccies explain it better than I can in words. Let me know in the comments if it’s all just too confusing, and I’ll try to make a plan in one of those fancy 3D woodworking programs. Anyhoos cut two sides and a back and front from wood and sand.
Glue and screw the sides together.
Trace around the bottom of the tabletop greenhouse and cut another piece of wood. Glue and screw in place and paint the wooden greenhouse base. Seal with 2 – 3 coats of varnish to protect the base from water.
Faux-etching on the windows
Ahhhh, now for the etching. As I mentioned, I was going to use the real thing. I even have a piccy to prove it, but I chickened out at the last minute.
Spray paint in a can is more my style 😀
Just remember to clean the glass with acetone or denatured alcohol before taping down the stencil and painting the glass with two to three light coats of sandblasting spray paint. Wait for each coat to dry fully before doing the next one.
Leave the last coat of spray paint to dry overnight before moving on to the next step.
Gluing the glass to the frame and finishing up
We’re almost done. There are two ways to put the glass back inside the frames. Using those little metal things that hold the frame backing in place or good old-fashioned glue. Since I didn’t want the glass to go wobble, wobble, klink, klink every time I opened the greenhouse, I used glue.
Put the glue-in glass frames on a flat surface and wait forthe glue to cure fully.
To keep the glass roof up while I’m moving plants in and out, I used two wooden beads and skewers. Just glue the beads onto the bottom corners of the base.
And when you’re ready to work in the greenhouse, pop the skewers inside the beads to prop open the roof.
The skewers can be stored inside the greenhouse for easy access.
Just be aware your plants will need extra love and nutrients when they’re cooped up in a greenhouse. So, you need to add a bit of compost or organic fertilizer.
On the plus side, those etched windows make it easy to see how your seedlings are doing. The basil on the left looks a bit sad and probably needs extra love. On the other hand, my mint is going crazy. She’s putting out some weird side shoots.
Not a bad way to repurpose cheap frames, amiright?
What do you think?
Would you make a tabletop greenhouse to protect your young plants from fur babies and other stuff?
If you like the idea of making a tabletop greenhouse with faux-etched windows, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring 😉
Other faux etching alternatives
I promised to share a few more ways to get the etched glass look without using harsh chemicals; Unique Creations by Anita has a tutorial showing you how to create this meditating Budha on a sliding door.
Or, if you want something with loads of detail and 3D effects, then you don’t want to miss this post by Birdz of Feather.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉
Or if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then one of these beauties may appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
18 thoughts on “Tabletop Greenhouse with Faux-Etched Glass”
Oh Michelle love the tabletop greenhouse. So cute! I could use a large one for my spider plants. Those are the only plants that my furbaby messes with.
I wonder why your fur baby likes spider plants? Our kitties love swatting the babies, but we’ve hung them up higher so they can’t get to them.
Super cute idea for indoor plants! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thanks so much, Valdene
I am in love with this project. Terruiams can be pricey, so making your own is a much better option.
Thanks, Kippi and I agree; most of the time they’re bigger than what our space will allow.
I’ve wanted to try this for so long. Would love a frosted glass of Fedigan & Fedigan going into our office. Thank you for showing how you did this, It turned out beautiful.
You’re welcome, Brooke. Please share when you make your frosted glass sign. I’d love to see how it turns out.
So clever! You spent a lot of time creating something beautiful. Great job!
THank you, Marty. We use the greenhouse all the time so it was well worth the effort
Wow Michelle , you out did yourself with this one. I was impressed with etching on the final product but reading the tutorial that you built it from recycled picture frames is just pure genius. Well done you. I secound Sara’s comment the skewers and beads are a great idea. And all that for R50, cheap as chips.
You know me., Anita. If I can repurpose a bargain into something useful I’m all for it.
Well done and such a great idea!
Thank you, Janet
Dang, another fabulous alternative for etching glass (just came from Anita’s blog) because this would have been perfect for the project I attempted to etch, botched, and threw away for our challenge this month. 😢 I love your mini DIY greenhouse with vintage charm. Brilliant idea for propping the window open too!
Awwww, I’m sorry you had to throw your project out, Marie. I would have loved to see what you conjured up.
Awesome project Michelle!! I don’t blame you for not wanting to use the harsh chemicals; I’ve only used it once and really don’t like it either. BTW, I love your skewer trick; it’s brilliant!
I don’t normally scare easily when it comes to try new things, but the warnings on that bottle made me do double-take. I think I’ll stick with spray paint.