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.
I checked out the price on vent covers and quickly realized I 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.
To see where I was inspired for this project, head on over to my original hallway design board.
Supplies to make a decorative air return vent cover:
(affiliate links are included for your convenience)
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. You can also order it on Amazon.com by clicking this link if you can’t find it in the stores.
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.
Directions on How to Make a Decorative Air Return Vent Cover:
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.
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 overlook those. You’ll want to keep your holes closer to the center.
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.
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.
The filter holders are made from 1″ corner brackets spaced about 6″ apart and attached to a 3/4″ square dowel rod.
The square dowels are nailed down to the top and bottom of the frame so the filter can be slipped inside.
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: