How to Make a Decorative Air Return Vent Cover

DIY decorative air return cover tutorial

The phrase, “it’s all in the details”, comes to mind when I think of what sets a basic-builder’s home apart from homes built back in the early to mid 1900′s.

Details are like jewelry for a home.

Over the past five years, I’ve been slowly getting rid of anything that screams 1980′s and adding little touches to give our home vintage-classic charm.

Board and batten hallway with gallery shelves

Click here to see the rest of the board and batten hallway

I’ve been wanting to change out our hallway vent cover, but didn’t want to spend $500.00 for a custom cover like ones I’ve seen on the internet. With a few tools and some supplies from the local home improvement store, you can make a decorative air vent cover for about $40.00.

DIY air return cover

 

To see where I was inspired for this project, head on over to my original hallway design board.

The supplies:

1. 4″ wide boards. I used the same primed finger joint boards that I used for our gallery shelves.

2. Wood glue

3. Decorative metal radiator screen found at Lowes. Here’s the item number to help you find what you need. There were three different types of screens, but I the quatrefoil pattern was my favorite.

item number for aluminum radiator screen

4. A Kreg Jig and a face clamp. I bought mine through Amazon.com. The kit comes with an instructional DVD to help you get started. It also includes a screw starter kit.

5. Staple gun

6. Power Drill

7. Miter Saw

If you’re unfamiliar with the Kreg Jig, here’s the link to a video from the super cute and talented, Ana White. If you put “Kreg Jig” in the search box on her website, you’ll come up with all sorts of projects that you can make with it.

The How-To:

Since our heating and cooling system has the filter built-in to the air handler, the frame I made only needed to encase the opening and hold the metal screen. I’ll show you in just a second how to make it hold a filter.

To make it easy to remove the frame, I countersunk the screw holes where it’s secured it to the studs and covered the holes with wooden buttons (also called screw hole plugs). If you need a frame that opens, you will need to secure it to the studs with hinges. Your best bet would be a piano hinge at the top of the frame so it lifts from the bottom.

Radiator screen vent cover

This was my first time using the Kreg Jig. I accidentally put my first set of holes too close to the inside corners. So, just over-look those. You’ll want to keep your holes closer to the center.

make a decorative air return cover

After you cut the boards to length, make pocket holes with the Kreg Jig. Secure the corners using wood glue and the screws that come with the kit. The face clamp is essential to keeping your corners squared and level when joining your boards.

Cut the metal screen the size of the opening plus two inches. I used my kitchen shears to cut the metal. The raw edges are sharp, so cover them with duct tape. Secure the screen with staples.

How to make a decorative air return cover

I had a reader email me and ask me how I could make the frame hold a filter, so after searching the home improvement store for something that works, this is what I came up with.

How to make a decorative air return vent cover.

The filter holders are made from 1″ corner brackets spaced about 6″ apart and attached to a 3/4″ square dowel rod.

DIY hvac air return cover tutorial

The square dowels are nailed down to the top and bottom of the frame so the filter can be slipped inside.

side view of the diy decorative air return cover

Thanks for all the sweet comments on the hallway! You guys keep me motivated to move on to the next project…plus the fact that my house looks like a construction zone. I’ve been working on the boy’s bathroom this week and can’t wait to show you how it’s all coming together! I’m also fitting in a few projects for our covered porch since it’s been so pretty outside.

If you want to check out all the projects that have gone into our hallway, just click on these links:

Hallway Design Board

Board & Batten Hallway Reveal

Gallery Shelves Tutorial

Monogrammed & Decoupaged Art That Hides the Doorbell

tricia tag

 

I’m linking this up to some of my favorite blogs such as:

The DIY Showoff
Uncommon Designs
By Stephanie Lynn
Savvy Southern Style
A Stroll Thru Life
Liz Marie Blog
A Blossoming Life

Enter your email address in the box to subscribe:
Or pick your favorite way to follow!
Pinterest, Facebook, RSS, Bloglovin', Google +, Instagram, Hometalk

Comments

  1. I love this project so much! Simple, yet such a difference to the feel of the space – amen to blurring those 80′s lines, sister! :)
    Jami @ An Oregon Cottage recently posted..Incredibly Easy Refried BeansMy Profile

  2. Looks amazing! It really is all in the details, such a difference! Great project.
    Krista

  3. This is perfect – we have a similar situation in our 1989 home. We have a huge, odd-sized air return at the top of our stairs that wasn’t really even finished properly.

    I’ve been wanting to create a return cover that looks nicer, fits the ductwork properly and something we could add a filter to because it would be easier to change the one here, than the one on our air handler in the garage.

    Thanks!
    Erica @ From Millstones to Milestones recently posted..Vintage Industrial Thread Spool OrnamentMy Profile

  4. Great idea! I haven’t seen anyone think of this before, but it’s actually a cute vent now! Thanks for sharing it at Monday Funday!

  5. Such a fabulous solution to such an ugly fixture. I love this. I would love for you to link to my Inspire Me Tuesday party still ongoing. This would definitely inspire others to change up their vents. Hugs, Marty

  6. I love this! Such a cute and clever idea to make something not so pretty looks beautiful! I would love if you would share this over at our blog hop! http://www.ablossominglife.com/2013/04/frugal-crafty-home-blog-hop-20.html
    Amy @ A Blossoming Life recently posted..Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop #20My Profile

  7. Such an upgrade from the yucky vent covers! Thanks for linking this up to Frugal Crafty Home!
    Carrie from Carrie This Home recently posted..Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop 20My Profile

  8. This is genius! I am totally going to do this! Thanks for the idea – I am pinning :)

  9. This turned out so great Tricia. So much prettier!
    Nancy
    Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule recently posted..Estate Sale Sideboard {2nd Time’s the Charm}My Profile

  10. Oh, Thank you! I’ve been looking online and all the door inserts etc. are over $400 which is not in my price range! I’m going to Lowe’s!
    Shell (Panama-mama) recently posted..On Fun in the Big AppleMy Profile

  11. wow, very cool!

  12. Fantastic! I actually bought those exact same quatrefoil panels months ago with the intention of doing a project like this, but have been agonizing over just how to make the frame. Searched the net and here you are! With the removal of a wall during my recent kitchen reno I now have 2 of those ugly returns staring at me in my new lovely kitchen. Thank you so much for this DIY post!
    Cynthia Crane recently posted..A Passion For PURPLE: Art and Gardening with One of My Favorite ColorsMy Profile

  13. I love the idea and was inspired by your lovely work. Hope you don’t mind me linking it on my blog.

    Thank you!

  14. This is the best but to save time you can also purchase the one from HCDS.com.au. Must visit you all will love it..
    Decorative Screens recently posted..Unique Staircases at StairPorn.orgMy Profile

  15. Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this article.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!
    relationship coach certification recently posted..relationship coach certificationMy Profile

  16. I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for.
    You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
    Bye
    http://www.pendock.co.uk recently posted..http://www.pendock.co.ukMy Profile

  17. I feel that is one of the so much significant info for me.

    And i’msatisfied stuxying your article. But want
    to remarkk on some basic issues, The site taste is perfect, the
    articles is in reality excellent : D. Goodd job, cheers
    Ge.Tt recently posted..Ge.TtMy Profile

  18. There are those who don’t like the shopping experience.

    The XXI century is certainly century fashion, where existing trends have a strong influence on society.
    Make room for your trendy new wardrobe by going through your old clothes and getting rid of unwanted
    clothes.
    buy boutique dresses wholesale recently posted..buy boutique dresses wholesaleMy Profile

  19. Appropriating the “Bridge Loan” amount to cover future grants and
    pledges to Fund 843, Project 108042, in the amount of $2,407,500;.
    Although not particularly promising for each and every individual just getting into
    the real estate business these techniques can be implemented in a variety of ways.
    While most investments can fluctuate wildly from year
    to year, many REITs have a track record of a 6-12% dividend paid out to shareholders annually.
    A crew of three not less than shall be at your disposal : captain, cook and deckhand.
    To the lenders, there is a perceived risk because if the restaurant is closed
    down, you could potentially lose 100% of your income from that restaurant.

    Safety laws can stipulate what selection families will be able
    to take up the house making sure that you should really uncover
    most of these conditions previous to viewing areas.
    If you are investing in commercial real estate, be aware that dramatic inflation over time can have a negative impact
    on your results. Demand for gasoline is causing weary citizens to
    wait in line for up to five hours, while they live on what little
    food is available. The operator may pay $5 of rent per
    square foot in an area where the rent for comparable properties is
    $3 per square foot. And since the debris accumulates on top of
    the mesh it is out of sight.
    foreign investors in us real estate recently posted..foreign investors in us real estateMy Profile

  20. This way, you can compare companies side by side without incurring
    any extra risk. Some companies will make an adjustable crankset for shorter or taller people too.
    Then the company has to design the magnet and reply with
    a proof for approval.
    moving and storage companies boston recently posted..moving and storage companies bostonMy Profile

  21. Quite a few treatment centers impose as per the time required each meeting.

    Vitamin C is found in many foods, notably the citrus group.
    Men and women who have long, medium or short hair can benefit equally from products that contain this wholesome milk.
    igrow reviews 2013 recently posted..igrow reviews 2013My Profile

  22. But the catch here is that you need to find a good hair transplant
    surgeon to do the job, if you really want good results.
    If you are not a person who enjoys going to the beach for tanning, then such products may just
    be what you need. Sun Laboratories dark sunsation self tanning
    lotion 8 oz should only be applied after applying the Exfoliant body scrub.
    spray tan at home toronto recently posted..spray tan at home torontoMy Profile

  23. Cross country moving which is also known as interstate moving is quite common in many states of USA.
    Ask questions to get an accurate assessment of the move and cost.
    And, if you’ve taken taxis for any length of time in Bangkok,
    you’ll know this is pretty much the norm, unfortunately.
    storage units bryan college station tx recently posted..storage units bryan college station txMy Profile

  24. So the next time you use Social Media remember it’s potential power and always be on the lookout for ways you can use it to your advantage.
    Constantly run 2 ads on Adwords for every ad group. Why
    would you entrust them with a matter as sensitive as SEO for your website.
    free Online Marketing resources recently posted..free Online Marketing resourcesMy Profile

  25. Genuinely when someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other people that they will help, so
    here itt happens.
    support.turn2interactive.com recently posted..support.turn2interactive.comMy Profile

  26. I savor, lead to I found just what I used to be having a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great
    day. Bye
    hobbies for couples to do together recently posted..hobbies for couples to do togetherMy Profile

  27. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a
    colleague who had been doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your blog.
    domain recently posted..domainMy Profile

  28. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog
    could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche.

    Excellent blog!
    gift market singapore recently posted..gift market singaporeMy Profile

  29. Houseboats in Echuca are ideal houseboats which have the accommodations that allow you
    to relax and explore the lake with all the comforts of any regular home.
    Methods for baiting a hook – Step 5: Use
    them for fishing. If you’re worried about your stored wine going
    bad in the heat of your boat, you need to invite me over.
    deck paint vs Deck Stain recently posted..deck paint vs Deck StainMy Profile

  30. I have noticed that car insurance firms know the cars which are vulnerable to accidents and
    also other risks. Additionally they know what form of cars are susceptible to higher risk along with the higher risk they’ve
    got the higher the particular premium rate. Understanding the uncomplicated basics with car
    insurance will help you choose the right form of insurance policy that will take care of
    the needs you have in case you get involved in an accident.
    Many thanks sharing the actual ideas for your blog.
    e-link.eu recently posted..e-link.euMy Profile

  31. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This sort of clever
    work and exposure! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve you guys to blogroll.
    best air conditioning service north miami fl recently posted..best air conditioning service north miami flMy Profile

  32. To get the best products at most competitive prices, just get in touch with us.
    Besides seafood a couple of times every week, rely of plenty of colorful fruit, leafy green veggies and nuts to fill up your belly.
    These suggestions are provided to assist you in optimizing your meal plans with approved foods with
    these quick weight loss diets.
    hcg weight loss hcg eguide recently posted..hcg weight loss hcg eguideMy Profile

  33. I think the admin of this website is truly working
    hard for his site, as here every information is quality based information.
    phone company las vegas recently posted..phone company las vegasMy Profile

  34. With the surge of new social community options and new methods to waste your time,
    it’s extra seemingly Fb will die slowly.
    hack facebook admin page recently posted..hack facebook admin pageMy Profile

  35. Your syndicate agreement does not have to be a complex document.
    For instance at a time when anglers where sticking rigidly
    to the mantra of 3 to 5 milliliters of flavour, plus 1 to 2
    milliliters of intense sweetener to a pound of base mix or more, as measured by 4 large
    eggs or 6 medium eggs as a basis of measurement, I tried other approaches and
    reaped big rewards against much more experienced anglers.
    If you are getting ready to go deep-sea fishing, there are
    a few things you might want to know about sea fishing bait.
    dock waltz box Step recently posted..dock waltz box StepMy Profile

  36. If this is your resolution this year, then it might be time to
    step back and reconsider your vacation plans.

    This training course helps yourself to operate on your diving
    skill and much better them each day. The carp is a fish species surrounded in myth, legend, and lore.
    news recently posted..newsMy Profile

  37. If you are going for most excellent contents like me, simply visit this site daily since it provides feature contents, thanks
    Elroy Accardo recently posted..Elroy AccardoMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Style/Tips/Crafts 1. DIY Decorative Air Return Cover by Simplicity in the South [...]

  2. [...] Style/Tips/Crafts 1. DIY Decorative Air Return Cover by Simplicity in the South [...]

  3. [...] I’m drooling over Tricia’s hallway makeover and in this post she shows you how to make a custom air vent cover over at Simplicity in the South. [...]

  4. [...] I was inspired by the open frame doors tutorial from Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl to give our HVAC air return cover a glam makeover. I made some modifications to make it work for our opening that I will explain in greater detail in a future post. Otherwise, check out her tutorial for building the frames. Update: The vent cover tutorial can be found in this link. [...]

  5. [...] Check out this DIY Decorative Air Return over at Simplicity In The South. [...]

  6. […] HVAC system is a happy HVAC system, and an efficient one.” And, just as an added treat, consider fabricating your own cool, DIY floor or wall grille. Good luck and good […]

  7. […] I have decided we will make a new return (I found this one on Pinterest). We didn’t install the battens on this section yet, as the new return will be a […]

  8. […] liked the look of this project and followed some of the advice for our own diy. You’ll notice we did things a bit different […]

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge