Introduction: Build a Radiator Cover

Ah, fall. A chill is in the air, and if you're like me you're dusting off and firing up the old electric radiators. What's different this fall is that I have a 10-month-old baby running around the house, and naturally she gravitates towards the most dangerous thing in the room. So I'm building covers for my oil-filled radiators. You can use the same covers for built-in radiators or baseboard heaters.

Warning: if you burn your house down, don't blame me.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Frame Parts

I built the cover entirely from scrap wood in the garage. The base is plywood. It should be plenty big. The idea is that by the time junior gets close enough to lean against the cover, he's standing on the base and can't just knock the whole thing over. You also want at least 1" clearance on every side of your heater/radiator so you don't burn your cover up.
I assembled the sides from 1"x8" boards, and the face is from 1"x2" wood. I used lap joints on the edges of the face. It's easy to cut crude lap joints on a table saw but if you don't have a table saw, butt joints and glue will suffice.
Make sure the cover is at least 1" larger than the radiator in every dimension, so it doesn't catch fire.
My cover has no back because it sits against the register, which is in the wall. The idea is that the central heating blows warm air over the electric radiator and into the room.
The sides of my cover are a bit shorter than the front. This allows access to the switches and thermostat on the side of the radiator, and allows the power cord to run out the bottom.

Step 2: Paint and Screen

Paint the parts before you assemble, so you're not painting the screen. The screen is screen door material from the hardware store. Assemble the face before or after painting, wrap the screen material around the front, and staple it to the back.

You might want to drill pilot holes where the face attaches to the sides before attaching the screen, because sawdust gets stuck behind the screen and is hard to get out.

Step 3: Assemble the Case

Mine is simply screwed together with drywall screws, although real wood screws work better. Then screw the plywood base on to the bottom, drop in your radiator, run the power cord out the bottom, and let junior attack!