A repurposed cast iron grate turned stunning garden mirror brings more light, colour and interest to your garden.
I picked up this old cast iron grate on MaxSold (like an online garage sale) months and months ago. It might even be a remnant from last summer if I’m being honest, but I was too nervous to tackle it because I knew removing the rust was going to be a BEAST of a job.
This is not something you can just run a sander over and start painting – not unless you want to have to do it every single year.
No, this bad boy needed a LOT of work.
Every nook, every crevice, every cranny had to have as much rust removed as possible so that it wouldn’t immediately bubble up again underneath whatever coat of paint I put on it.
Tell me you wouldn’t put this off as long as possible? In fact, if you had any brains at all, you probably would have left this at the garage sale for some idiot to buy.
The idiot was me.
*This is a sponsored post. I was provided with both Rust-Oleum® products and HomeRight® products to test and showcase here on the blog. All opinions expressed are sincere and my own.
I finally decided to bite the bullet and take a go at creating a DIY garden mirror. I had some Krud Kutter® – Must for Rust Gel leftover from another project, so I sprayed it generously all over the iron grate.
I had to use a paintbrush to spread the gel formula around the sides and into the grooves, but I eventually got it all covered.
I left it on for an hour or so, scrubbed the Krud Kutter off with the garden hose and a scrub brush and then repeated two more times. I think all totalled, the Krud Kutter sat on the iron grate for about 6 hours.
Just an FYI, while you should wear gloves using the Krud Kutter® – Must for Rust Gel, it does not damage the cement, the paintbrush or the driveway as I washed it away. This stuff is A-MAZ-ING!
Would you have guessed from the first photo of this cast iron grate that it was white?
I think it was originally painted black, but someone had since painted white over top.
Unbelievable – that’s all I can say!
You can see that there’s still a bit of rust here and there, so I brought out my sander to clean up the flat parts and then wrapped a small piece of sandpaper around my drill bit to get into the tight spots.
Since the Krud Kutter rust formula worked so well on the initial cleaning, I brought out my regular Krud Kutter to clean up any dust and residue from the work so far. I rinsed with water and a scrub brush and got to priming.
Yes, you HAVE to prime metal. Especially if you are going to leave it outside, and this iron grate was destined to become a gorgeous garden mirror in my yard.
Next I popped up my HomeRight® medium spray shelter (yes, it just pops up and down with no assembly required) and got to work with the first coat of paint.
Now regardless of whether you buy a HomeRight® Super Finish Max paint sprayer from HomeRight or not (but I do truly recommend this one), do NOT attempt to DIY your own garden mirror (from an elaborate cast iron grate) without a paint sprayer (and therefore spray shelter as well). I promise you will get brush strokes and paint drips and finger prints everywhere. (There is a reason I know this. lol)
Spray in LIGHT, even coats – from every angle – to get every square inch of the grate.
I went with three light coats of Rust-Oleum® Painter’s Touch in semi-gloss. Easy to dilute for the spray and even easier to clean up out of your HomeRight® Super Finish Max because it is water-based (aka latex) AND exterior friendly.
So, the cast iron grate looks gorgeous, but how on earth to attach the mirror?
I had a mirror cut to the same size as the grate, but both of them together totalled about ¾” thick and heavy.
A gentleman at the home improvement store suggested these hooks as a method to hang my garden mirror and they worked perfectly! I used three hooks to hold the weight of the garden mirror (grate+mirror) and then used a 4th, placed upside down, to hold the top of the mirror in place.
I slid the mirror into place on the hooks;
and then slid the cast iron grate in front of it (with some cork pieces between so that the grate and glass don’t bang against each other).
Hung like this, I can easily clean my DIY garden mirror by just sliding the pieces out. This also allows for water to drip straight through and not pool at the base of the grate or the glass.
Isn’t this the most gorgeous garden mirror you’ve ever seen?
You would never be able to find a garden mirror, made of cast iron, with this kind of detail work for less than… probably hundreds.
To make “the most gorgeous garden mirror you’ll ever see”, I spent $40 on the iron grate and then $55 for the piece of mirror. (Paint, primer, sprayer etc were provided by sponsors).
Now for the money shot…
NO! not that kind of money shot.
I’m so thrilled with how this turned out – far better than I’d even imagined.
Will I refinish/repurpose iron again?
Have a great one!