I was building a small out building on my property out of re-used lumber and I wanted a little more light. In the spirit of not using new materials I decided to get a round door from a washing machine and make it into a window.
Step 1: Tools
You will need a router, drill, framing square, tape measure and a saw to do this.
Step 2: Get a Window
I got mine by asking a scrap metal yard to save me one. I came back the next day and they had the perfect one. It cost around $3!
Step 3: Frame by Frame It
There needs to be framing in the wall to support the window. It should be sized to slide your new window frame inside.
Step 4: Measure and Plan
So that it would fit inside the framing I glued together three layers of plywood. The part that fits inside the wall was made oversize and then cut square afterwards. It would have been easier to just cut the outside square. Measure and decide on the circumference (inside and out) of your circle. Divide by two, that's your radius. When you mark the center point it is very important to make cross hairs that are square to each other and go all the way to the edge of your circle. This will be crucial to lining up the pieces and marking where the window hinge will go. DO NOT SKIP THIS!
Step 5: Make a Compass, Cut Away
Cutting circles in plywood is easy. I used 1/4" plywood to make a
compass, but I think that 1/2" would hold the screws to the router base a little better. Measure the distance from the center point to the inside edge of the router bit for the radius of an outside cut, the outside edge of the bit for an inside cut. Drill the center point of the compass and screw it to the center point of your plywood. Screw your plywood to a work bench with the screws out of the way of your router. The cord will get twisty and the screw will try to come out so stop and fix this every few passes. It is important to work from the outside to the inside or you will cut off your center point. When you cut go 16th to 1/8" deep at a time.
Step 6: Glue It Together
I glued and screwed the back two pieces together separately. When They were dry I attached them to the front piece the same way. This is where having cross hairs comes in.
Step 7: Install the Hinge and Catch
This was probably the trickiest part. The measurements had to be very accurate so that the window would be centered on the plywood circle. Again, having those pencil marks made all the difference.
Step 8: More Router Fun
When I screwed the window on for a test fit, it wouldn't close all the way so I chamfered the inside edge. I wanted a round over on the outside so while I had it attached to the workbench I did this too.
Step 9: Finish It
I used plywood that I had lying around. The surface wasn't too smooth so I used a lot of spackle. I should have sprung for a better grade of plywood. I used spray primer and multiple layers of spray paint. when the paint is dry put it back together.
Step 10: Install It
It should slide right into place. I drove 4 screws through the inside of the window frame into the studs and that's it.
Step 11: Lessons
The paint could have weathered better, I think using nicer plywood to begin with would have helped this. I added a roof later to keep it out of the weather.
The cross hair marks to reference the center and square were critical. I'm glad I thought of this before I started.
Remember to account for the siding when deciding how thick it will be.
There is no inside handle to close it. You have to swing it and then pull your hand away. I still don't have a solution to this but it isn't a huge problem.
I had a lot of fun building this and would do it again.
Runner Up in the
Tiny Home Contest