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Thursday, June 6, 2024

Did You Know You Can Use an Air Filter as Decor?

From Eyesore to "Oh, So Pretty": My Upcycled Air Filter Craft Project

Give your old air filter a new life! This post takes you through a fun and easy DIY recycled air filter craft project to transform a used air filter into a beautiful "romantic cottage window craft" decoration.

Dirty Air Filter

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We all know the importance of regularly changing air filters. But let's be honest, sometimes it just slips our minds. Recently, while doing my scheduled filter replacement, I noticed something interesting about the used filter...

All the dust? Nope, that wasn't it.

I noticed how attractive the air filter was with it's decorative lattice pattern. 

Pretty, huh? 

I was thinking the same thing.

Well, this time, instead of just tossing the old filter, I decided to get creative! 

As I looked at the lattice pattern, inspiration struck to create a DIY project with an air filter. It looked like a charming little window, the kind you might see adorning a quaint English cottage. 

As I peered through that imaginative window, I saw an English cottage garden just beyond the glass, and a winding path I could not quite tell where it led to. Are you seeing it too?

Then I wondered how can I take this air filter and make it into upcycled home decor?

Spotting an old picture frame in the basement, I knew it was the perfect partner for my project. After all, every upcycled project deserves a good companion!

Old wood frame
Yep, just perched on a cabinet all by it's lonesome

Here's how I transformed my forgotten air filter into a unique piece of home decor:



  • Brush white wax onto frame, pull back wax to your desired look with a towel, set aside and allow to fully dry
  • Cut rose wrapping paper to size of frame backing
  • Cut the lattice side of the air filter away from the rest of the air filter 
  • Adhere wrapping paper to cardboard backing of frame with elmer's glue stick
  • Press wrapping paper down to cardboard backing to ensure 
  • Brush white wax onto lattice air filter, I used the side where the glue was placed by the manufacturer, allow to dry 
  • Place air filter over the rose patterned wrapping paper to see best placement of the lattice
  • Cut air filter to size of frame
  • Add elmer's glue to lattice and press firmly onto the rose patterned garden wrapping paper
  • Place in frame, and style as desired

Voila! Your recycled air filter has been transformed into a beautiful piece of decorative art for your walls.

Paint white wax onto old frame

Pull back white wax with cloth

cut garden wrapping paper to size for frame

glue frame backing with elmer's school glue stick

press garden wrapping paper down into glue

measure air filter

paint white wax onto back of air filter lattice

add glue to air filter lattice pattern to glue to wrapping paper

trim excess air filter around frame backing
Cut excess from the back, it is much easier 

Fix a Frame with Wood Glue Tip:

My frame needed a little love since one of the corners had come loose. No problem, just add a dab of wood glue, and clamp it. 

My clamps were too short for the frame, and the larger clamps were in the garage. It was raining, and so I opted for a rubber band. 

It works! 

Simply squeeze a bit of wood glue in the corner, and wrap a rubber band around the frame. The rubber band needs to be tight to make the glue hold. I set it aside and got right to work on the rest of my romantic cottage window.


  • I could have used the all white side of our air filter, but it was too new and shiny for me. I decided to use the cardboard side of the air filter where the manufacturer glued it. 
  • I thought the side with glue residue almost resembled wood 
  • I decided a bit of white wax would be perfect in adding more vintage charm to the lattice work. 
  • I kept in mind how I would paint a window frame, and kept my brush strokes as I was going with the grain of my imaginary wood.

Our old weathered window now looks perfectly imperfect, just the way I like it. 

lattice window with rose garden wrapping paper background

I like to think my mother-in-law would have loved the new use of her frame this way. It was empty, and the glass was long gone, but that doesn't mean you have to throw away those old broken frames. 

No siree, you can just find unique ways in which to reuse them. 

So, next time you're staring at a used air filter, don't just toss it! With a little creativity, you can turn it into a unique and decorative piece for your home. And remember, don't forget to replace your actual air filter to keep your home's air clean and your HVAC system happy!

Tip: Place a reminder on your calendar to change out your air filters. Set the time when you will normally be home so you can change it when the alert goes off. 

Don't Forget to Pin for Later!

English window styled on mantel



Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow! I can't believe you saw something so beautiful in a dirty filter. What a great idea!

    1. Thank you so much Cathy! I try to find beauty even in the mundane things in life, plus - I am trying to bring ideas to others that are unique, not mainstream, and ways we can reduce our waste. I have so much fun with projects like this.

  2. You amaze me, Cara! When I saw you were using an air filter, I couldn't imagine how, but you managed to make something beautiful out of it! This turned out so pretty! Fabulous job my friend!!

    1. Thank you so much Donna, I was so happy to come up with an idea using that old dirty air filter. I hope to inspire others to upcycle things in their homes, and also that you do not need a lot of money in order to make our homes beautiful.

  3. You are so clever, Cara. I love how your brain works!

    1. Aww, thank you Ann! Sometimes my brain can go way out there, but I was so glad I gave this a try, I love the lattice patterned window.