Wall Vents are unsightly! Not only this, but they also let in a variety of insects. I'm going to show you how to make a cover to keep out the creepy crawlies and make the vent look a lot better at the same time.
Step 1: Cut the Plywood Frame
Let's start with the vent itself. Not all vents are made equal so you will need to adapt to best suit your needs. My vent is roughly 250mm x 190mm. The wall its set in isnt anywhere close to being flat. the point at which it protrudes furthest from the wall is roughly 12mm.
I chose to make a sub frame to attach the fabric to. It will make the process a lot easier. I cut some 6mm plywood to match the 250mm x 190mm size of my vent. I marked out a 25mm wide boarder all the way round and drilled some holes in the corners to make it easier to turn the bandsaw blade.
The bandsaw makes quick work of this step but you can of course use a jigsaw if that all you have access to. Just cut into the centre from one edge, it wont effect the frame for this application. The centre of this frame will be covered by the fabric and allow air to still flow through the vent.
Step 2: Cover With Fabric
To attach the fabric to the plywood frame I used spray adhesive. Its strong stuff and very tacky. After spraying an even layer around the frame I left it for about 30 seconds to get tacky. I could then secure one edge of the fabric to the frame.
With the one edge secure I could stretch the fabric to the other edges. Stretching it slightly will keep it taut and will prevent sagging at a later stage.
After leaving the adhesive to dry, I trimmed the excess fabric so it was flush with the frame. It doesn't have to be neat.
Step 3: Cut the Recess in the Walnut
Now its time to turn my attention to the walnut frame. The above images will hopefully make it clear what we are trying to achieve. The pieces will sit over the vent and allow space for the fabric frame too.
I already had some walnut scrap that had a bevel cut on the edge from a previous project. I thought it would be a nice look for this application and it would use up wood I've been hoarding. The red section is the material we need to remove.
The walnut I used was about 25mm thick and 25mm wide at its widest point. The area I wanted to remove was 12mm x 20mm. I could do this at the table saw. The first pass was done with the blade set to 20mm high and the fence set 12mm away from the blade.
The second cut was made with the blade set to 12mm high and the fence set to 20mm away from the blade. This created the recess we are after.
Step 4: Make the Walnut Frame
Now its just a case of the cutting the frame pieces to length. I used my mitre saw set to 45 degrees. This is essentially making a picture frame with mitred corners.
The length of your pieces will depend on the size of you vent of course. I choose to cut mitres measuring the shortest inside edge. I made my inside edge 10mm shorter than the size of the vent. This will allow it to sit over it and conceal it inside. I cut 2 pieces to 180mm and 2 pieces to 240mm.
To glue the pieces together I used super glue. Its strong and fast setting, perfect for this application. It saves a lot of hassle trying to clamp the pieces while the glue dries.
After the glue had set I sanded the frame to 240 grit. I could then apply 3 coats of spray lacquer. I sanded between each coat to ensure a smooth finish.
To glue the fabric frame into the walnut frame I used super glue again. Its fast setting and strong. I added a few dabs of glue around the inside edge. I could then secure the fabric frame in place.
Step 5: Attach the Frame the Vent
To attach the frame to the wall I opted to used double sided foam tape. With the wall not being flat it will conform to the bumps and help seal the edges. I applies strips of tape to all 4 edges of the plywood and walnut frame. This will make adhere it to my wall and the vent itself.
Removing the tapes backing and pressing the frame in place was all that's lest to do. I think you'll agree the finished results are a lot better than the original white vent. It will not only be more pleasing on the eye but it will help to keep out the likes of wasps and spiders... my nemesis!
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