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When Luke Arthur Wells uploaded pictures of his home-built radiator cover to Instagram, the reaction was huge. After all, hiding an ugly or dated radiator isn't always cheap, so a helpful hack that you can do yourself is always going to be popular.
Luke isn't new to DIY - his blog and Instagram feed are full of brilliant projects, with the emphasis on getting bespoke designer looks for a fraction of the price. We thought we'd show you how he created this clever rad cover – and what he used – so you can achieve the same design in your own home.
DIY radiator cover
'I wanted to hide our hideous radiator in the studio,' Luke says, 'and kept coming up with increasingly complicated designs for a radiator cover. I decided to go with something simple in the end.'
'The only problem was, I couldn't get any woodcut because the wood-cutting service at Homebase and B&Q was closed during lockdown. Plus cutting MDF into long strips isn't super easy to do at home without a proper table saw set-up. Luckily, I managed to find pre-cut panelling strips at Homebase, which were the perfect width for what I wanted to do.'
The pre-cut MDF slats at Homebase that Luke spotted are meant to be for DIY wall panelling, but they were the perfect size for this design of radiator cover.
Making the frame
To start with, Luke designed a frame using pine battens, which he built slightly larger than his radiator. He attached the battens together using a bonding adhesive.
Buy now: No Nonsense Mitre Adhesive, £5.49, Screwfix (opens in new tab)
To build up the frame, Luke attached back and side pieces by drilling pilot holes into the battens, countersinking so that the screws fit flush, before screwing the pieces together. 'Screwing and gluing it all together made the frame extra secure,' Luke says.
Luke worked around his pipes on the wall, but you could run it all the way to the floor if you wanted to.
Using the panelling strips
Next it was on to the panelling strips. Luke cut them at a 45-degree angle to get a mitre at the top.
Buy now: Shaker wall panelling pack, £9.95, Homebase (opens in new tab)
He lined up all the panels at the front, before using the adhesive to fix them to the frame. 'I left a 12mm spacing in between each panel strip, and measured that it was exact by using a piece of MDF,' says Luke. 'I also slightly overlapped the end strips so the side pieces would fit in behind them and left small gaps at the sides to allow access to the radiator valves.'
Once the panels were all attached, Luke set about filling and sanding the wood cover, to create a smooth finish.
Painting the cover
Finally, it was onto the painting, where Luke chose a beautiful deep-beige/biscuit colour eggshell that he applied using a small roller. Several coats and drying time later, the finished design was ready to be hung.
Buy now: Little Rascal eggshell, £26.50 for 750ml, Earthborn Paints (opens in new tab)
Luke uploaded his finished image and saved all the instructions for the process to his story highlights on Instagram, receiving over 2,600 likes, along with 275 comments – not bad for an easy home make!
You can see more of Luke's projects over at his blog – tap here (opens in new tab) to have a look.
Will you be hiding an unsightly radiator with this hack at home?
Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk
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