Introduction: How to Make an Industrial Radiator Cover
Want to hide an ugly radiator? Then why not make a custom radiator cover for it. In this post I'll show you how I made an industrial style radiator cover for my bedroom.
- 18mm MDF
- 6mm MDF
- Scaffold Board
- Diamond Mesh
- Eggshell Paint
- Hammered Black Spray Paint
- Osmo Wood Wax Finish
- 8mm Wooden Dowels
- KEKU Clip
- Wood Glue
- Table Saw - Use Code: AverageJoe5 for 5% off
- Mitre Saw
- Thickness Planer
- Router Table
- Palm Router
- Tin Snips
- Foam Roller & Cotton Cloth
- Drill & Driver
Step 1: Cut the MDF to Size
I kept the design for this radiator cover really simple. It uses MDF for the main construction along with a scaffold board for the top shelf. It also has a removable front panel to make it easier to access the radiator if need be and to dry clothes. It features diamond mesh and teal fabric to give a nice contrast and industrial look.
I cut the MDF pieces to size using my table saw and mitre saw. These cuts can be done with a circular saw and straight edge if you don't have access to a table saw though. The dimensions are of course determined by the size of radiator you want to cover. Remember to include the pipes at the bottom of the radiator in your measurements if you want to hide those with the cover too.
Step 2: Loose Tongue & Groove Joinery
To join the pieces together I opted to use a loose tongue and groove method of joinery. I started by routing a 6mm groove in the 2 side pieces on the router table. You could use many different options instead though. Pocket hole screws, dowels, biscuits, dominos and even half lap joints would all make great alternatives.
I also used a palm router with a 6mm slot cutting router bit to create the grooves edges of the MDF pieces. The longer side pieces get a groove the full length of the piece.
You're probably wondering how we can join two grooves together. Well, because we cut a 6mm wide groove we can use 6mm thick MDF pieces to act as loose tongues to fit in the grooves. Plenty of wood glue secures them in place.
Before gluing the 2 upright side pieces together I needed to measure and mark where to fit the horizontal pieces. I measured 50mm down from the top the allow a gap for hot air to escape from the radiator. I also measured 50mm up from the bottom to make the design look even.
Step 3: Glue Up the Radiator Cover
The upright side pieces can then be joined together with plenty of wood glue. The grooves fit nice and tight onto the 6mm MDF tongue pieces.
The same joinery method is used on the end of the horizontal pieces.
The frame gets glued together along with the removable front panel. Fixing the front panel together on top of the frame makes it easier to be sure it all matches up. The removable panel gives the radiator cover its real design. The frame behind it is kept as basic as possible to minimise wasted material.
When the glue was dry I used the same palm router and 6mm slot cutting router bit to create a recess in the back of the removable front panel. The recess will later receive some diamond mesh.
Step 4: Paint & Add Mesh
The MDF gets painted with Eggshell paint to act as a base coat and to seal the MDF edges. I will be investigating which way is the best way to seal MDF really soon so be sure to keep an eye out for that one!
Now the diamond mech can be cut to size with a pair of tin snips. The diamond mesh can then be held in place with staples.
With the mesh in place the final coats of paint can be applied. I went with a hammered black spray paint to try and match the look of the rest of my black steel bedroom furniture. This of course can be any colour to better suit your décor.
Step 5: Scaffold Shelf
While the paint was drying I turned my attention to the scaffold shelf. I cut it to size and then planed it smooth with my thickness planer. You can buy ready planed timber if you want to skip this step though.
To give the scaffold board a richer look I used some Osmo wood wax finish. I chose walnut to get a deeper tone to match the rest of my furniture. I applied it with a foam roller and rubbed it in with a cotton cloth. I applied 2 coats in total.
To attach the shelf the frame I used 8mm wooden dowels. I drilled 2 8mm holes in the top of both side pieces on the frame. I then measured and marked where to drill on the underside of the scaffold board shelf. I then drilled 1 hole 40mm in from the back and 1 hole 110mm in from the back on both edges of the shelf. The dowels can then be glued in place the shelf secured in place. A mallet will help to seat the shelf flat on the frame.
Step 6: Secure the Frame to the Wall
I needed to cut a section away from the bottom of the radiator cover. This is so the frame can fit over my skirting board in my bedroom. I used a jigsaw to do this. It did scuff the paint a little so I sprayed some more paint over the scuffs to hide them.
To secure the radiator cover to the wall I used a KEKU clip. These are really easy to install and makes it easy to remove the radiator cover from the wall if need need be. The clips works great and keep the radiator cover tight to the wall. It gets secured to the underside of the shelf with 2 screws. It can then be offered up to the wall and the holes marked where we need to drill.
The holes can then be drilled with a masonry bit. Add wall plugs and then secure the other part of the KEKU clip in place. The radiator cover now clips to the wall nice and easy giving a secure fitting. You can remove the cover easily too now. No need for tools for removal.
Step 7: Add Fabric
The last thing to do is add the teal fabric to finish off my design. I secured the fabric on the back using staples. I made sure to pull the fabric taught as I worked my round. This will ensure there aren't any wrinkles and it prevents sagging. The excess fabric can then be trimmed off with scissors.
Step 8: Done!
That completes the radiator cover. I think you'll agree its a huge improvement over the ugly white radiator. You can match the design to better suit your décor and make it your own. There are radiator cover you can buy ready made so if you don't feel comfortable making one from scratch you could always buy one and modify it to suite your needs.
I hope this project has inspired you. If you have a go at making one I'd love to see the results!