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With a cold frame tunnel, your plants are well protected from unpredictable weather. Compared to a construction made of wood or double-walled sheets, a foil cover is easier and more flexible to handle. These instructions explain how to build a cold frame tunnel yourself.

Building a cold frame tunnel out of foil is not difficult

Material and tool list

The quality of the film largely determines whether a cold frame tunnel works. Conventional plastic film is not suitable for this purpose. Instead, use greenhouse film (€15.90) or similar UV-resistant PE film. To build a cold frame tunnel 120 cm wide and 300 cm long, the following materials and tools are required:

  • 600 cm long and 250 cm wide transparent greenhouse film
  • 4 pieces of 300 cm long rods made of galvanized steel, stainless steel or glass fiber (diameter 5-8 mm)
  • string and wooden pegs
  • Hammer, ruler, scissors

In order for the foil tunnel (€11.46) to have an acceptable height of 75 cm, the rods should be 300 cm long and flexible. In order to achieve a greater height, correspondingly longer rods are required.

Building instructions - How to build a cold frame tunnel yourself

Building a cold frame tunnel is so easy that you don't need any additional helpers. The best time to build is in early spring, once the ground has completely thawed. How to proceed step by step:

  • Insert the rods 75 cm apart 30 cm deep into the ground
  • Then bend each stick into a semicircle and press it into the ground on the opposite side of the bed

To stabilize each arch, wrap the string once around each pole at the highest point. Pull the two cord ends taut and tie them to wooden stakes that you have previously driven into the ground. Only then stretch the foil over the construction. Weight down the overhangs with stones or staples.

To take care of the planting and to ventilate, simply push up the foil on the sides.


In order for the right germination temperature to develop in the cold frame tunnel, prepare the location with a natural heater. Dig a pit 50 cm deep and fill it with two 20 cm layers of horse manure and semi-mature compost with garden soil. Then build the foil tunnel over it according to these instructions.

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