Cold air return vent in hallway with mail sorting

DIY Vent Cover for Cold Air Return

Our relocated main floor cold air return gets a pretty facelift with a DIY vent cover made from trim and gold metal sheeting.

You can see our entire main floor renovation here.

Cold air return vent in hallway with mail sorting

This metal sheet, metalworking tools, and glue used in this post were provided to me by M-D Building Products and Gorilla Glue. All opinions presented are my own.

After we finished our kitchen renovation there were a few outlying areas that got put on the backburner (you can read more about that here). One of those areas was the new old air return we had to create inside the new pantry. For the past 5 months we’ve just had a hole in our wall.

I mean, it’s a functional hole. It is a working cold air return, but not attractive at all. It needed a vent cover. I wanted something a little more visually interesting than the standard, I decided it would be a great thing to DIY. And it turned out I had the perfect thing.

Last year when I was at the Haven Conference I met some of the folks at M-D Building Supplies and they were nice enough to send me a kit of their metalworking products to try out. I’d been racking my brain for what to do with them, but no longer my friends!

To create my diy vent cover I used the following materials:

  • Door stop trim (link)
  • Clear Gorilla Glue (link)
  • Wood filler (link
  • Aluminum sheet, cloverleaf pattern – brass (link)
  • Tin Snips (link)
  • Metalworking gloves (link)
  • Painters tape (link)

My first step was to cut my trim pieces down to the correct length with mitred edges.

To hold the metal sheet in place, Chris was nice enough to router a strip for me (I’m crap at the router). This routered strip means the metal sheet will have a little pocket to sit in, and the back will be flush.

If you don’t have a router you can simply attach the metal sheet to the back of the trim, but there will be a little gap around your edges when you install it.

After my trim was cut & routered I glued the mitred edges together using the gorilla glue. To hold everything together while the glue dried I used clamps at each corner. Once dried I used some wood filler to fill any small gaps and then painted the frame.

The next step is to add the metal sheet. It’s important when working with this stuff that you have the proper tools – special gloves with protect your hands from sharp edges (and they are sharp) and tin snips will easily cut through the sheet – regular scissors are not enough.

In order to make sure my metal sheet would fit in the frame perfectly I lined up one corner and marked where I needed to cut. Once cut, I glued the sheet in place and used painters tape to hold it in place while the glue dried.

To install my new diy vent cover I drilled holes on both sides for screws to go into the wall. I kinda like the darker screws, but Chris wants me to paint them …. we’ll see.

DIY cold air return

This little area is now looking a lot more finished. I also added our old mailboxes and cute little shelf mum and I picked up at HomeSense.

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