Paint your Kitty – I mean your Grills

Finished Grill With Cat

 Here is our cat, Blue, wistfully remembering her days of playing in the heater vents.  She wouldn’t stay out of the photo, though I kept pushing her away, so here you go!

This is a very simple project, and worth doing – if you have grills that look like mine did.

Old Grill

Modern Masters Paint

What you will need:

  • 220 grit sandpaper (maybe 1/2 sheet per grill, max)
  • A mask, because you take good care of your lungs.
  • Be sure to fit the paper mask to your face!  Bend and fit the tiny metal nose tab close to the bridge of your nose, if this is the type you have.
  • Spray paint, if using, that will adhere to metal, your color. (very common)
  • A finish paint for your grill, again that adheres to metal.  I bought paint by “Modern Masters”, available locally in Seattle at Daly’s Paint and Decorating, Metallic Paint Collection, ME190 “Statuary Bronze”, semi-opaque.  It was the closest color to an “antique bronze or oil rubbed bronze” finish that I could find.  It has a bit of golden color fleck that doesn’t show in the photo.  I try hard to keep all my finish hardware of the same color in a room- for example the lights, doorknobs, hinges, pulls, grills, doorstops, hooks etc.  It’s water based, btw, my strong preference!
  • A place to paint, drop cloth- or how about a big pizza box, opened up to catch the overspray…

What to do:

  1. Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper.  I’m sure that mine have lead paint as they’re original to the 1926 house and had multiple layers of paint.  I DID NOT sand them smooth, both due to not wanting to breathe lead dust and I had a hunch that the defects wouldn’t show that well- which they don’t.  Who inspects your heater grills anyway (besides the cat)?
  2. I spray painted the metal flap behind the grill with a dark brown spray paint that would adhere to metal (check the label).  This was to save costs.  It is a bit of a different color than the Metallic paint of the face of the grill, but that’s fine.
  3. Brush the finish paint on the face of the grill (the grill part).  It might take 2 coats if it doesn’t cover well.  You could also spray paint, however it is more difficult to use as it is prone to drips.  I get best results if I spray lightly 2-3 times, letting it completely dry between coats.  If you do get drips: let it dry completely, then sand smooth, and re-paint that area.
  4.  Paint your screw heads, or other pieces that will show.
  5. Mark your paint jar “grills”, or add to your list of paints used in your home, so that you can later touch up the inevitable scratch!