Covering radiators – how to create a DIY radiator cover
- Cost40-50 €
- Duration4 h
You just moved and set up your new flat exactly how you like it, but your radiator just doesn’t fit your decorating scheme? Then we have the perfect solution for you! In this guide, we’ll show you how you can easily build your own radiator cover yourself to make your radiator a fundamental part of your interior design.
Have you heard about our 18V system yet? It offers a huge variety of devices for many different applications. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that’s part of the 18V system and move on to the next step. By the way, all the 18V cordless power tools used in this project are also part of the POWER FOR ALL Alliance.
Pay attention to occupational health and safety every step of the way to protect yourself and your health. You’ll find all the important information you need to know in our overview of Safety precautions for DIY projects.
- folding rule
- wood glue
- White varnish
- Kitchen scissors
- 1 MDF board (25 x 1040 x 200 mm)
- 1 MDF board (12 x 1000 x 850 mm)
- 2 MDF boards (12 x 850 x 180 mm)
- 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 850 mm)
- 1 squared timber (40 x 40 x 890 mm)
- 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 120 mm)
- 2 rattan mats (400 x 700 mm)
Let's go - step by step
Measuring and cutting
You need: Cordless hand-held circular saw, Cordless dry vacuum cleaner, Sandpaper set, pencil, pocket rule, g-clamps, brackets, 1 MDF board (25 x 1040 x 200 mm), 1 MDF board (12 x 1000 x 850 mm), 2 MDF boards (12 x 850 x 180 mm), 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 850 mm), 1 squared timber (40 x 40 x 890 mm), 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 120 mm), 2 rattan mats (400 x 700 mm)
Planning is the first and most important step for this DIY project. Before you start, you need to have a clear picture of how you want your radiator cover to look when you’re done and know how large the radiator is that you want to cover. Also note whether there are any pipes or skirting boards around the radiator that need to be considered during construction. We’ve gone for a decorative rattan design. For this, we’ll need two rattan mats later on. We’ll cut them to 400 x 700 mm using kitchen shears.
When measuring your radiator cover, you should note the following: it’s very important that you leave a little space around the radiator so that the warm air is able to circulate when you’re done, otherwise it will limit the radiator’s function later on. This applies equally to the height, width and depth.
To make the top part of our radiator, we need an MDF board with a thickness of 25 mm and a surface area of 1040 x 200 mm. For the front piece, we need one large board measuring 12 x 1000 x 850 mm, and for the two side pieces, we need two boards measuring 12 x 850 x 180 mm. The top part will be placed over the front and side pieces later on so that it protrudes a few centimetres both at the front and the sides. If there are skirting boards or pipes, it’s a good idea to saw out the notches during the first step. It’s best to use a hand-held circular saw to cut the boards for the straight pieces. A jigsaw with a fine curved saw blade is perfect for the notches that need to be made.
What’s more, we’re using squared timbers so we can connect the individual parts more easily later in the project. The MDF boards will be glued to them to ensure everything remains firmly in place. In a later step, the timbers will be placed inside the radiator cover. We’re using squared timbers with a height and width of 40 x 40 mm and need them in lengths of 890 mm (1x), 850 mm (2x) and 120 mm (1x).
When you’ve finished cutting them to length, you can briefly sand the edges by hand.
Sawing out the pattern
You need: NanoBlade saw, pencil, pocket rule, 1 MDF board (12 x 1000 x 850 mm)
For the pattern, four rectangles have to be cut out of the MDF board that will later serve as the front side of the radiator cover. The rattan mesh will be attached behind it later. Go ahead and draw the pattern. How your radiator cover looks is of course entirely up to you.
For the two smaller upper rectangles, go 40 mm down from the top edge and make a mark. From there, go another 80 mm down and make another mark. For the upper left rectangle, make these marks 80 mm away from the left outer edge and connect them with a vertical line, doing the same for the right upper rectangle but 80 mm away from the right outer edge. Starting from the middle of the board at the centre point between the two lines you just drew, move 40 mm to left and draw a line that matches the line on the left. Return to the same centre point, move 40 mm to the right and draw a line that matches the line on the right. Then, draw a connecting line between the two top marks on the left and a connecting line between the two bottom marks on the left. Now, do the same for the marks on the right. The pattern for the two upper rectangles should now be marked out.
Now, for the two large rectangles, start 40 mm below the bottom lines of the upper rectangles and draw the two larger rectangles, keeping the same 80-mm distance from the outer edges of the board as well as a distance of 80 mm from the bottom edge of the board and a gap between the two rectangles that also equals 80 mm (40 mm in either direction from the centre point) just like the upper rectangles.
Now you just have to cut out the patterns. A NanoBlade saw is ideally suited for this task. This tool makes plunge cuts a piece of cake.
Routing edges and embellishments
To give a nice contour to the patterns we just sawed out, we’ll rout the cut edges. For this, you need a router and a router bit with a radius of 6.3 mm. Carefully run the router along the edges of the cut so that they are neatly rounded. Tip: to avoid getting things dirty, you can also use a dry vacuum cleaner. Click here to find out about the hazards wood dust entails and how to improve your DIY safety.
On the MDF board for the top part, we first round off the edges using the same router bit (6.3 mm). To create a beautiful embellishment, use the 4.5-mm router bit and rout the edges again. This gives you a modern-looking decoration.
You can then carefully sand the routed edges again by hand.
Gluing and varnishing
You need: Cordless paint spray system, wood glue, g-clamps, White varnish, 1 MDF board (25 x 1040 x 200 mm), 1 MDF board (12 x 1000 x 850 mm), 2 MDF boards (12 x 850 x 180 mm), 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 850 mm), 1 squared timber (40 x 40 x 890 mm), 2 squared timbers (40 x 40 x 120 mm)
Now you just have to connect the individual parts to one another. First, we glue the two long squared timbers (40 x 40 x 850 mm) to the long ends of the two side pieces (12 x 850 x 180 mm). We attach the two short squared timbers (40 x 40 x 120 mm) to the upper end. Then, we glue the two side pieces to the front piece (12 x 1000 x 850 mm). To do this, we use the squared timbers as an additional support surface so that the two short timbers form the top piece.
Now, we put the long squared timber (40 x 40 x 890 mm) between them. This structure serves as a support surface for the top part of the radiator cover (25 x 1040 x 200 mm). We attach this so that it is flush with the rear. The top part protrudes a little at the sides and front.
Tip: Allow yourself enough time for this step and use G-clamps to help you in the process. That way you can be sure that everything will be in the right place when you’re finished.
When the glue has dried, you can paint or varnish the radiator cover however you like. It is best to do this now, before attaching the rattan mesh. This is quick and easy to do with a paint spray system – check out our paint spray guide to find out more.
Attaching the rattan mesh
You need: Tacker, Radiator cover, Rattan mesh
In this final step, attach the rattan mesh to the radiator cover from the inside. Make absolutely sure that the rattan is fastened securely and evenly on all sides. Also make sure the mat is kept under tension when fastening it, otherwise it will sag later on.
Now all you have to do is place your new radiator cover where you want it.
Would you like to try out more creative DIY projects involving wood that you can use to create more storage space or beautify your home? We’ll show you how to turn a ladder into a practical hanging shelf or how to build a corner bench for your dining room.
If you need more inspiration for your home, visit our DIY decorations for the home category. You can also find tons of useful video tutorials for DIY projects for the living room as well as other videos with instructions for DIY projects in the bedroom on our YouTube channel.