How to: Paint Metal Radiators with Chalk Paint®

Hello, I’m Annie Sloan and welcome to my studio! So the big question I get asked so many times: “can I paint a radiator?” Yes! So here we are. It’s a metal radiator, it’s quite shiny, and actually you can paint directly onto it there is no secret here, there is just paint.

I’ve got Chicago Grey, and I’m just going to paint it. So the first coat will go on, that’s beautiful, I love the way it goes on. So here I am painting a radiator that’s beautifully off the wall and of course you don’t have to, I’ve just done that for ease for the studio. But of course you could paint it on the wall and as long as you just clean it so there’s no dust and yuckiness, then that’s fine, just start painting! Obviously with the heat off… I wouldn’t paint it when it’s hot.

Two coats and then you can finish it with a varnish, our Lacquer, you can finish it with a wax, or you could just leave it as it is. Because of the heat it will harden over time. If you are going to wax it, wax it and let it dry before you put the heater on because you’ll find it it just won’t dry that way.

So actually just being painted grey has made this very humdrum normal radiator, it’s turned it into something looking a little bit better. But if you did have one of those really beautiful fancy ones or one of those old ones, I mean it could be really turned into a feature in the room and you could paint it a different colour to the wall, or the same colour as the wall, so yeah I think about it as being part of the whole design.

So I’m going to wait for this now to dry before I do a second coat, it’s nearly dry not long. The only thing that can happen is if the heat goes on fairly quickly you’ll get it cracking. So that might be a good thing, might not be a good thing, but just be aware so what I would do if you don’t want cracking, don’t let the heat go on too quickly.

There you have it; one finished radiator!

Learn how to paint a metal radiator – quickly, easily, and with a few extra Annie-approved tips thrown in for good measure!

When you’ve spent a lot of time and energy redecorating a room, the last thing you want is for your radiators to stick out like a sore thumb against your beautiful new walls. In comes Chalk Paint® to save the day! This decorative paint isn’t just for wooden furniture, it can be used on metal too. It’s the perfect solution for giving your metal radiators a fresh, new look.

There’s very little prep needed here. You just need to select the Chalk Paint® colour to work with your interior scheme and a brush. If you want a lovely matt look, you can stop at painting (just make sure you give the paint enough time to fully dry before turning the heat on). For a glossy finish, add Chalk Paint® Lacquer in Gloss, which has a lovely soft sheen. If your radiator is in a high-traffic area and likely to be touched a lot, adding a coat of either Chalk Paint® Wax or Lacquer will make the radiator wipe-clean – especially handy in family homes!

Step by step guide to using Chalk Paint® on radiators

  1. Prep the radiator by giving it a quick clean with a damp cloth (no harsh chemicals, use warm soapy water if necessary). There is no requirement for any sanding or priming – just paint!
  2. Make sure the radiator is off and cold. Annie has taken the radiator off the wall to help demo this technique. In most cases it would be easier and just as effective to paint the radiator whilst it’s still attached.
  3. Choose your Chalk Paint® colour. As always, stir your paint well before each use.
  4. Apply Chalk Paint® directly to the radiator – it’s that simple! Chalk Paint® Brushes have been developed to work especially well with Chalk Paint®, but any brush will do.
  5. As metal is a non-porous surface, the paint will not absorb into the radiator. This means that the first coat may be streaky and will take longer to dry: do not be alarmed! This is normal. Just be sure to leave sufficient drying time between coats. In some cases, a third coat of Chalk Paint® may be required to achieve full, smooth coverage.
  6. Once painted and dry, you could finish your radiator makeover with Chalk Paint® Wax or Lacquer. But this is not essential. Heat from when the radiators are in use will seal Chalk Paint®. Chalk Paint® Lacquer or Wax may be a style choice, and will also add extra durability, ensuring the paint is wipe-clean which may be desirable in high traffic areas.
  7. *TIP* To avoid Chalk Paint® cracking, ensure the radiator is fully dry for a minimum of 24 hours before use. Heat can cause paint to crack whilst drying (something Annie uses to her advantage for her rustic, chippy paint technique!).
  8. *TIP* If choosing to apply Chalk Paint® Wax ensure the radiator is fully dry (allow a few days) before putting the heat back on.

So now you’ve ready to repaint your metal radiators with Chalk Paint®, you can enjoy spending time choosing the right colours to work with your interiors. Will you want to colour block your walls so the radiator blends in, or do you want them to stand out? For inspiration, take a look at this bold scheme where the radiator has been painted the same pale pink colour as the walls.

Once you’re ready to get painting, make sure you support local by buying the materials you need from your local Annie Sloan Stockist. We can’t wait to see how your new radiators look! Be sure to share with the Annie Sloan community online by using #anniesloan.

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