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Building a Window Frame Trellis

In just one afternoon, turn an old window or door frame into a rustic trellis for vines.

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Morning glories quickly filled this trellis made from a cast-off window frame.

Forget curtains and sheers. Dress up an old window frame with draperies made of annual vines. This window frame salutes the day with sun-worshiping morning glories. Cardinal climber, cup-and-saucer vine, thunbergia, and hyacinth vine provide similar eye-catching results.

This vintage window frame, salvaged from a church, provides height and substantive architectural trims for this one-of-a-kind trellis. You could also use a door frame or start from scratch by building a custom frame using new trim and molding. Attach your frame to an existing fence or to wooden posts using drywall screws.

See below for a materials list and step-by-step instructions.

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Tools and Materials List

Thunbergia is another quick-growing annual vine.
  • old window or door frame
  • hammer
  • nails
  • 1x2s (optional)
  • power drill/driver
  • wooden fence posts
  • tape measure
  • marker
  • 3-inch drywall screws
  • screw eyes
  • 20-gauge galvanized wire
  • wire cutters
  • seeds for climbing annuals

1. Move your window frame to a work surface that is level and accessible from all sides. If you use architectural salvage for the frame, consider reinforcing it. Brace the frame by nailing 1x2s over all the joints and possibly along the entire length of the back. This frame was three-sided to begin with; nailing a 1x4 across the bottom strengthened the structure.

2. Starting at the top of the frame and working down, measure and mark 6-inch increments along the inside edge of the frame. These are the points where you'll insert screw eyes. Do this on all four sides of the frame. Predrill pilot holes at each mark, then twist the screw eyes into place.

3. Position vertical wires first by looping wire through the first screw eye at the top left. Twist the wire to secure it, then pull it taut to the corresponding eye at the bottom. Add 10 inches to the wire's length; clip, then twist the excess length to secure it. Repeat the process until all vertical wires are in place. To create horizontal rows, start at one side and weave wire over and under vertical rows to the opposite eye. Secure the wire ends.

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