Friday, January 23, 2015

Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover

My parents were visiting us here in Pennsylvania for Evelyn’s and Trenton’s birthdays.  And you know that when my parents are around, there’s normally a home project going down.

A few years ago, it was sodding our backyard in CA and helping me get started on our music fence (one of my most popular posts on the blog).  And this summer while my mom was here while we got moved in, it was the roll top desk that I refinished with milk paint.

This time it was a cover for our fireplace.  I use the term “fireplace” very loosely here.  It’s an enclosed gas fireplace that doesn’t have a blower hooked up to it.  So when it’s turned on, hardly any warm air at all gets out.  And when it’s not on, cold air from outside seeps into our house through the fireplace venting.  Enough to actually feel air coming into the house!

So, 1) my house was cold all the time, and 2) I kept having to turn the heat up to stay at least somewhat comfortable.

The previous tenants apparently covered the fireplace up with cardboard during the winter, but I wasn’t keen on that option.

I did a couple pinterest searches, found a few ideas I liked, and then when my parents got here, we took those ideas, and tweaked them to work in my house.

And this is what we came up with!

DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace CoverDIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover

I love that it’s functional, keeping the cold air from coming in the house, and it’s also something for the kids to play with!

DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover
DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover

To make our cover, I bought styrofoam sheets that my dad cut to fit snuggly into the fireplace space (after removing the fireplace grate).  This was to insulate and keep the cold air out.  If you don’t need insulation, you could skip this part.

DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover 

I bought a sheet of 1/4-inch plywood and had it cut to hang over the marble one inch on the top, left, and right sides.  Looking back, I probably should have gone with 1/2-inch plywood because the 1/4-inch warped a little after we got it home.

We used Liquid Nails to glue the styrofoam to the back of the wood and let it dry overnight.

DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover

The next step was priming the wood with magnetic primer.  I gave the wood eight coats of primer using a low nap roller.  I was hoping to get the magnet power strong enough to hold our LeapReader fridge letter toy, but it just wasn’t happening.

Next was two coats of chalkboard paint over the primer.

Once that was completely dry, we used 3/4-inch sticky back velcro to stick the whole thing to the marble edging around the fireplace.

We’ve only had the cover up a week, but I can definitely tell a difference in the temperature in the house.  The project cost about $75, and I’m pretty sure we’ll recoup that cost with lower heating bills!  Plus, it’s cute and fun.  A win for all!

DIY Kid Friendly Fireplace Cover



Alejandra said...

What a great idea! It turned out very nicely! I've always wanted some sort of chalkboard thing in the house for the girls to play with.

Amanda said...

How creative! Sucks the fireplace isn't very useful though.

Amanda said...

How creative! Sucks the fireplace isn't very useful though.

SuperLux said...

Perfect idea. Safe and even useful. :)

Shannon said...

Such a cool project with a dual purpose...keep out the cold and keep the kiddos entertained!


Amanda B. said...

Genius! We had the same type of fireplace in NC at our first house.

Annette said...

What a wonderful idea! Not only does it keep the house warmer (and safer), but you've turned it into a great educational tool too :)

Angela Downer said...

I am having my grandchildren come over next month and I've been slowly childproofing our entire house. I was at a loss on how to childproof our fireplace while still having it look acceptable to visitors. This is a perfect remedy, and the chalkboard will make it so my grandchildren can only draw on the board, and not all over my walls.