So, after all that work putting in a programmable thermostat, here’s how I covered it up. :)
It’s on hinges, so you can open it up and get to the thermostat!
I got the idea from this pin that was for an alarm cover. I plan on making the hallway where this thermostat is into a gallery of artwork, and this new artistic cover will be the starting point. :) The pin used a canvas to cover an alarm panel, but I knew that the thermostat needed to be able to gauge the room’s air temperature, so I worked on something that I could drill holes into.
I’ve had it installed for about a month now, and so far so good with the thermostat and the furnace trucking along happily.
I was inspired by this paper cut from Etsy that I saw ages and ages ago. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” says the White Queen to Alice, in Through the Looking Glass.
I started by finding this 8”x8” wooden “canvas” at Michael’s.
I printed out the quote several times in several sizes before deciding what I thought would look best size-wise, then taped the paper to the board and used the technique I found from this pin to “trace” the letters on to the board.
The pen leaves a light indentation in the wood which you can then follow with paint.
But first, I drilled holes where the ‘o’s would be to allow for airflow to get to the thermostat. I found that a 3/8” drill bit about matched the size of my ‘o’s.
Then I painted the letters.
I started out with white paint because I was so in love with the idea of the inspiration photo. I knew that the holes would be darker, but I just kept thinking how much I like the light look.
I wrapped some sandpaper around a pen to smooth the insides of the holes.
To increase the amount of air that would reach the thermostat, I drilled holes into the sides of the wood canvas. I lightly drew them out with pencil in a wavy pattern and used different sized drill bits to make the whole thing look designed and purposeful, not just that I’m trying to keep the thermostat working. :)
After sanding the sides, after a few coats of white paint on the lettering, I put about 3 coats of water-based satin clear coat over it for protection.
I did a very light sanding (with 22o grit paper) in between coats and the results were phenomenal. The whole piece is super smooth and well-protected, but the satin clear coat is so matte, you can barely tell it’s there. It didn’t change the color of the wood at all.
Doesn’t it look so cool?
I wanted to spray pain the inside of the box white, for protection and just in case it helped visibility of the thermostat in any way (white reflects light, right?). So I taped off all the holes (so the spray wouldn’t mist through onto the front) and went to town.
I bought these tiny hinges at Lowe’s. They’re just 1” tall and I made sure they weren’t really wider than the thickness of the wood.
I placed them and pre-drilled holes. If I was fancy, I could have/should have notched the wood out for the hinges so they’d be flush, but I really didn’t want to take time for that step. :)
It took me a minute and some trouble to really mount it level on the wall, and I just sort of trucked along and maybe said some bad words, so I don’t have pictures of that step. I will say I tried to make marks, level it, place one screw, level it, place another and so on. It turned out pretty good.
My one important tip: since the screws for the hinges were so so tiny, much too tiny for any kind of wall anchor, I actually put wood glue all over the threads before I screwed them into the drywall, because I didn’t want them to just pull right out. I know we’ll be opening and closing this cover a lot. As we use this guy, I will tell you how the glue in the drywall holds up.
Anyway, after installation, I had this!
I loved the white letters on the light wood with the light wall. But I sort of hated how obvious the holes looked. I totally wanted to set up some tiny LED behind there so that the light would shine through (like above!) but let’s be real, Victoria. That’s ridiculous.
So I just had to re-think it. I decided to repaint the letters in a really dark blue or black. I ended up deciding on a sort of navy color, and the way the lighting is in the hallway, it really does look cool: it’s very dark, you can hardly tell it’s blue, and the holes blend much better.
So I actually unscrewed the hinges from the wood side, took it down and repainted it. My painting definitely got a little messier since I was painting 2-3 more coats over the white I already had, but it’s okay to be imperfect. And in the hall where you’re really not staring at it, it looks great.
And I’m really happy to have a new cornerstone for my future gallery wall/hall! Now I just need to start hanging the rest of the pictures!
What do you think? Are you willing to embark on this tedious process to cover up your thermostat? :)