I’m a little bit of a fanatic when it comes to drafts. (Remember the time I weather-stripped my garage doors?) Over time I’ve addressed most of the pesky cracks and crevices that invite cold air into our home. But, there was one draft that I’ve been meaning to serve an eviction notice to since the first winter we lived in our house. Today I’ll show you how to build a fireplace insert draft stopper!

build a diy fireplace insert draft stopper

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper

If you have an old wood-burning stover, or even one converted to gas logs, you likely know this old fireplace can be the source of cold air and drafts in the winter. Even with the damper closed, there is a draft that escapes into the room.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

You can’t weatherstrip the damper (that would be a fire hazard), so I solved the issue by building a rustic reclaimed wood fireplace insert to stop the draft.

How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

Want to build your own fireplace insert draft stopper? It’s not hard and you can complete it in an afternoon!

Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper Materials:

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Notes: I chose pegboard because it was slightly cheaper and weighed less than the masonite but was still rigid enough to hold the reclaimed wood. You can ask a Lowe’s employee to cut down the rigid foam insulation for you so you can fit it in your car. You can also have your pegboard cut at Lowe’s if you know your measurements upfront. I chose to use the Kreg Rip Cut because I was anxious to try it out. I liked how it worked and it was a good option if you don’t have a table saw or track saw. Finally, adding the reclaimed lumber is not necessary, I just like the look.  Another option would be to buy foam insulation and wrap it with fabric and batting and simply fit it in the fireplace opening.

Instructions:

Start by measuring your fireplace opening. (Pssst. You can see that our bricks are faux painted in this picture. Learn how I painted my fireplace back to brick without sand-blasting!)

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Check the width of the edge bumper (the one I used is 1/4 inch) and subtract that amount from three sides of the fireplace opening measurements.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Mark the cut lines on your pegboard material.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay the pegboard on top of the excess foam insulation and set the saw blade depth just below the pegboard.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the pegboard to size. (If you don’t own a rip cut or track saw, you can make your own DIY Track Saw for your circular saw here!)

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Check the fit of the cut pegboard with the edge bumper inside the fireplace opening. The pegboard should be loose, but allow the edge bumper to compress against the sides for a snug fit.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Building the Reclaimed Lumber Frame:

Using the same dimensions as the pegboard, cut your frame pieces (miter cut the corners for a clean look). 1″ x 4″ cedar boards worked well for the frame.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in the corners. Clamp the corners (use a square to maintain true 90 degree angles) and drive the pocket screws into place.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Cut a vertical support piece for inside the center of the frame and attach it with pocket hole joinery.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut your reclaimed lumber edges at 45 degree angles. Lay each piece inside the frame and use the speed square to scribe a line where you need to cut.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Dry fit each piece and continue until you’ve filled the frame.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

When all the pieces are cut, set them in the frame.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Time to assemble the “sandwich”. Lay something (scrap plywood, pegboard or foam insulation) on top of the reclaimed lumber design and flip it over so the backside is facing up. Use a liberal amount of construction adhesive on the back of the reclaimed lumber frame.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay the pegboard onto the reclaimed lumber and press firmly in place.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay the rubber edge bumper onto the side of the frame/pegboard sandwich and measure the area for the rigid foam insulation. Cut insulation to size. It should be inset on the sides and top to allow room for the bumper (as shown in the photo below.)

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Add construction glue to the pegboard. Then lay the rigid foam on top of the pegboard.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Flip the frame over and double secure the frame to the pegboard with finish nails. Be sure that the air pressure is turned down so the nails don’t pierce through the back of the insulation.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply the double-stick tape that came with the bumper to the sides of the frame.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the foam bumper for the first side and press it onto the double-stick tape.  Cut the next side and notch out where there are any overlaps.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Firmly secure the bumper to the sides of the frame with a staple gun. This is a necessary step because with repeated removal of the insert, the bumper will eventually come off.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Feel free to add a handle or decorative pull to the front of your insert.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the insert into your fireplace and stop the drafts forever!

As a bonus, it also eliminates that big gaping black hole in the living room. And the insert is easily removed to enjoy a warm fire.

This Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper looks good year-round. My only regret is not making it sooner.

Pretty Handy Girl's Colorful Fall Home Tour

PHGFancySignWinter is coming, help a friend stop drafts too by pinning this image!

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Want more ways to save on energy bills and prepare for winter? Here are 21 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter.

21 Tips to Get Your House Winter Ready

SMOKE DETECTORS | What you don't know could kill you

Okay, now that I have your attention, did you know that approximately every three hours, a home fire death occurs somewhere in our nation. And 66 % of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms or detectors?* The most common reason those detectors weren’t working? Worn out or removed battery.

Photo from CreativeCommons.org – courtesy of WickedChimp

I’m sure you have heard that you need to replace your detector batteries every time you change your clocks (Spring and Fall or every 6 months.) Are you good about doing that ? If not, I hope you will now. At the very least decide on a date to change your smoke detector batteries annually.

What about when you are vacationing? Do you test the smoke detectors in your rental house? Testing the detectors takes all of a few minutes to press the “Test” button on each detector and wait for the alarm to sound.

Don’t rely on the vacation homeowner to check the alarms. There is always a chance that renters could have removed a low battery from a detector. Several years ago there was a horrible fire a few blocks away from the beach house we usually rent. Seven young students died in the fire. It was never determined whether the smoke detectors were working or not, but one of the survivors didn’t remember hearing any go off. Don’t let yourself become a statistic.

What type of smoke detector should you buy? Read more

Galvanized Metal Star Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember when I told you I’ve been on a galvanized metal kick? Yes, you may have noticed my Rustic Metal Magnetic Window Frame on Monday. When I put the windows over our fireplace mantel, I knew there was something missing. I tried a few different garlands in the space, but nothing felt quite right. When I gazed upon the leftover galvanized metal, the idea to create a Galvanized Metal Star Garland was born.

Galvanized Metal Magnetic Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

Today’s post is part of the Deck the Halls DIY-Style tour hosted by Jen Woodhouse, If you are just hopping over today from Sawdust and Embryos, amazing vignette, right?! My favorite is the monogrammed scroll snowflake. Welcome to my little slice of DIY Blog heaven. I can’t wait to show you how I made several elements over our fireplace mantel.

Deck the Halls DIY Style | Pretty Handy Girl

The Galvanized Metal Star Garland is so incredibly easy to make. You’ll be looking for more places to decorate with a garland of stars.

Ready to get started? Grab these things and let’s make something stellar!

Materials:
(contains affiliate links)

Instructions:

Draw stars on your galvanized sheet of metal. If you prefer a beautifully aged metal patina, you can follow this tutorial to make your metal age quickly.

Galvanized Metal Star Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut out the star shapes with tin snips.

Galvanized Metal Star Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Rub the pencil marks off the stars with a gloved hand. Read more

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Firepits are very popular right now. You can purchase a simple firepit at your local home improvement store, or put in a little sweat equity and create a DIY Firepit with Seating.

When we had several hardwood trees taken down in our yard, I asked the tree guy to cut some of the base pieces of the tree trunk into 18″ segments to use as stumps to sit on.

Then I set about creating a DIY firepit and seating in our back yard.

Materials:

  • Shovel
  • String
  • Stake
  • Stick
  • Rocks or fire ring
  • Sand
  • Bag of drainage gravel
  • Slate, stepping stones or pea gravel
  • Mulch or crushed stone
  • Stumps or seating
  • Wood to burn

Instructions:

Begin by locating a level location to build your fire pit. Take note of any overhanging branches and trim them away from the firepit area. Hammer the stake into the center of your firepit area. Attach string and make a loop in the string at 6 feet. Insert a stick into the loop and walk around pulling the string taut while dragging the stick in the earth to mark a 12 foot diameter circle. Create another loop at 4 feet and repeat marking an inner circle. Finally, create a loop at 1 foot and drag the stick to mark the firepit ring area.

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Dig a hole in the 2 foot firepit ring area. Remove any roots from the dirt. Dig about 12″ down. Fill the bottom of the hole with gravel. Add a layer of sand on top of the gravel. Line the 2′ firepit area with a fire ring or rocks (or both).

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour sand around the 8 foot diameter circle and set your stepping stones or pea gravel in this area. Read more

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you scoured antique stores or Craig’s List looking for a big giant vintage chalkboard? Those vintage school green chalkboards are highly sought after. But, hard to find. I have good news for you! You can build a Giant Chalkboard any size you want! (Although, typically you’ll be restricted to 4′ x 8′ if you want to use a sheet of masonite.) And you can mix your own chalkboard paint in any color.

Take out your notebooks, your pencils, and get ready to take notes.

Materials:

  • Masonite sheet cut to desired size (mine is 22″ x 48″)
  • 1×4″ pine boards for frame
  • 1 cup flat latex paint in color you desire
  • 2 tbsp. of unsanded grout
  • Pencil
  • Stain
  • White paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sanding block
  • Container to mix paint in
  • Kreg Jig
  • Drill
  • 1 1/4 inch pocket screws
  • Staplegun
  • 1/2″ staples

Instructions:

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour 2 tbsp. of unsanded grout into your empty container. Add 1 cup of flat latex paint and stir well. (Yes, I used satin and it still worked.)

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the masonite with the chalkboard paint. Pull your brush in one direction. Then smooth out the paint by dragging the brush in a perpendicular direction.

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Let the paint dry. Lightly sand and add a second coat of chalkboard paint.

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl

Let that coat dry and sand smooth.

Assembling the chalkboard frame: Read more