Painting a refrigerator

kitysaverMarch 10, 2014

Hello all,

I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel and my fairly new **white** refrigerator is not going to go with my new kitchen colors. My KD wanted me to buy a new panel-ready fridge but I decided to paint the fridge instead.

This is the second one I have painted (Rustoleum Appliance paint if I remember correctly) and since the first one turned out so well (was a dirty beige that I painted white), I decided to do another one.

The custom cabinetry will box-in the fridge so that only the front will show. I will add appliance pulls as soon as I decide which ones I want.

When I googled 'painting a refrigerator gardenweb' I did not come up with much so I thought I would add to the GW database and post some pictures.

The counter will be Cambria Dover and you can see the sample piece at the bottom of the 'After' pictures. It matches very well!

The color is Martha Stewart Brown Alpaca and was mixed at Home Depot.

The holes from the original pulls were patched with Bondo from PepBoys.

After washing the fridge with a bit of soap and water, I **very lightly** sanded it with 150 grit sandpaper. I did another very light sand (went over the surface with just one quick swipe) after the first coat. 2 coats were applied.

I used a 3" nap roller (not a foam roller) that was about $2 with its own tray from Home Depot.

As noted above, the first refrigerator that I painted a few years ago was done with regular white appliance paint but I wanted a paint that I could tint to color match. See below for the paint that the guy at Home Depot suggested.

Unfortunately, I let him talk me into the semi-gloss and if I had to do it over again, I would get the high gloss.

The whole project took about 2-3 hours.

I hope that this helps someone else who may be on a budget or, like me, rebels against spending money when there are other options.

Before:

After:

Paint used - if I had to do it over again, I would use high gloss, not semi-gloss but the semi-gloss really is fine and may actually be preferred by some people:

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Sophie Wheeler

You painted the white door seals too???

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:23AM
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bicyclegirl1

Impressive! I've heard this can be done a few years ago, so it is good to have here for others that might want to do that. Do you know how it wears? Does it eventually peel or chip? Good job!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:07AM
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apinksweater

Good Job! I have done my refrigerator too! I did black for my home, and I did one with chalkboard paint.

Im not sure if you will have this problem- but depending on how thick the paint is, you lose magnetism. The fridge I did for my moms home, I painted 2 coats of magnetic paint, and then topped with 2 coats of chalkboard.

I think you made such a smart choice! I respect everyones right to do as they wish, but it does make me a little sad when appliances get tossed because people want certain aesthetics.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:14AM
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sherri1058

When we did our kitchen 11 years ago, I had a white fridge which, at the time was too young to retire, but didn't go with my new stainless range and dishwasher. I ended up having it painted the same color as my cabinets (a pale yellow) and it virtually disappeared into the cabinetry. I had no problems with chipping or peeling.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:30AM
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feisty68

Awesome look and a refreshing change from what we've all gotten used to :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:50AM
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cat_mom

Awesome!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:21PM
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deedles

***applause sign flashing***

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:31PM
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CEFreeman

Oh, that's a GREAT color!
I'm going to pick some up to test in my home.
Great job.

I really don't think painting appliances are as difficult as people think. There is paint made for high-use and high-temperature metal, after all, right? :)

Beautiful.

(Do you work with a rescue or just have rescue kitties, such as I?)

This post was edited by CEFreeman on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 14:18

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:17PM
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mudhouse_gw

Bravo. Love this kind of thinking outside of the box. It's so great that you took the time to post all the details of what you used and how you applied it, too.

I hope you will update the thread with final pics, after you choose and install your new handles. Looking forward to seeing it!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:50PM
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kitysaver

Hi everyone - thanks for all of the nice comments! I have gotten so much great information from this forum so it is nice to pay something back.

***Note: Photobucket does not seem to be cooperating with making the pictures 300x400. I resized the pictures below and saved them but they are coming out so large! I don't have time to go back and re-do all of them so....my apologies.

Back to the fridge.....

I am happy to see that there is interest in salvaging a perfectly good appliance! I hope that no offense is taken by this comment but I really rebel against our 'throw away' society.

See more pictures below.

As a side note, my KD is in his 70s. He has 'been around the block' many times and works in a very wealthy community. He is *very* picky and raised his eyebrows at me when I told him that I was going to paint the fridge rather than buy a new one.

He also raised his eyebrows when I told him that I was going to do my own demo and when I told him that I was going to paint the **black** metal frame of my window a cream color to match the crema marfil backsplash instead of spend $$$ to put a new window in a second story condo kitchen with strict CCR rules...ie...I could not change the look of the outside so why spend the money just to get a different color of the inside frame?? That turned out great also and only ran me $4 for a can of Rustoleum spray paint. :>)

Even he likes my 'new' fridge and said "well...you are definitely my first client who has painted their refrigerator!"

Hollysprings - yes, i painted the outside of the gaskets. If one really wanted to be fastidious, they can do a better job by unplugging the unit and painting with the doors open and taping off the inside. (More information in a picture below.)

The paint that I used states a drying time of 1 hour and a re-coat time of 2 hours. They say that even though the paint is slightly tacky at 2 hours, it is safe to do a light sand and apply the second coat.

I was not willing to leave my freezer door open for the length of time that it would take to do it 'properly.'

Honestly, I am a bit of a perfectionist but I look at the imperfections as a reminder that I found a way to not ditch a perfectly well-working appliance and, in addition, saved a few thousand dollars.

When I run into things like this....things that **may** bug me I tell myself to just live with it for 30 days and IF it still bothers me, well....I can fix in then. 99% of the time I realize things like this just are not a big deal and they are left as is. (I often give myself the 'there are homeless people starving in Ethiopia' speech so...in the whole scheme of things....I remind myself to not sweat the small stuff.)

Painted gasket outside:

Painted gasket inside with tape option:

Garage fridge gasket - white over almond - painted 2 years ago and I just tried to (lightly) scrape the paint off the gasket with my fingernail and couldn't. This paint was 'appliance' paint from, I think, Rustoleum. It has held up VERY well! The fridge door gets opened 2-3 times per day.

I was not in the mood to do a super detailed job since it is a 30 y.o. fridge (yes, I know...not very energy efficient) and lives in the garage. Here is the inside of the freezer door to show you the original color:

I am considering this pull - it is from the Top Knob's Normandy collection. I will be using a 12" pull, not 18".

I will definitely update this thread with more pictures once the pulls are on. However, I started this remodel of a SMALL kitchen last September and the cabinet maker has not even started making the cabinets yet!! So...I may not be done until July....

I will be happy to answer more questions. Note that I am not an expert on paint so everyone should do their own research. The guy at Home Depot seemed to be very experienced (as we all know, the experience of Lowe's and HD folks varies a lot) and this paint does state that it is for metal.

CE wrote:

"I really don't think painting appliances are as difficult as people think."

I agree! It seems to be shrouded in a bit of mystery but it really shouldn't be.

"There is paint made for high-use and high-temperature metal, after all, right? :)"

Yep - think about cars!!......and a fridge does not get hot, or that cold (it is well-insulated) and lives indoors. So...not much stress to the paint.

"(Do you work with a rescue or just have rescue kitties, such as I?)"

Both - I am a veterinarian who specializes in feline nutrition and medicine, plus I have TNRd (Trap/Neuter/Return) thousands of cats on my own to alleviate the suffering of homeless cats and kittens..... and have placed ~550 rescued cats and kittens in homes.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:47PM
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kitysaver

apinksweater wrote:

"Im not sure if you will have this problem- but depending on how thick the paint is, you lose magnetism."

I just tried my fairly heavy magnetic timer and it still sticks great!

(Ditto your "sadness" comment.)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:24PM
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nosoccermom

Probably a really stupid question: But how do you attach the pulls?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:32PM
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shelayne

Wow, that is fabulous! If I were braver, I would paint my fridge a fun color. I absolutely drool over the colors of the Big Chill appliances. Of course, I also drool over the style...

Anyway, great job! I can't wait to see it with the new pulls. How do you attach the new ones?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:06PM
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kitysaver

"Probably a really stupid question: But how do you attach the pulls?"

It is not a stupid question at all.

Drill the holes through the front of the door at the appropriate places.

Then select an appropriate machine screw length which will be longer than what an appliance pull will come with since the manufacturer is counting on you putting the pull on a thinner wood panel....not a thick fridge door.

I don't have my pulls yet but I think that most of them use 8-32 sized screws and the one shown here is 2" in length but it is not placed exactly right since it will be more to the right....ie....it will sit deeper in to the door and poke out further:

The head of the screw will hide behind the gasket:

Home Depot, or Lowe's, etc:

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:20PM
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kitysaver

Shelayne wrote:

"If I were braver, I would paint my fridge a fun color."

Do it!! Really....it is NOT a big deal and is easy to do. I am mechanically-minded and do like to build things but anybody can paint a fridge!

There are no special skills required. :>)

Wash it....lightly sand it..and I do mean 'lightly'...you are NOT removing any old paint....wipe the light sanding dust off with a wet rag and start painting!

I took me all of 5 minutes to do the above before I started painting.

See this link for a turquoise fridge:

http://cozycrookedcottage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/diy-painted-refrigerator/

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:27PM
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kitysaver

I just noticed that the above link does not show the gaskets being painted which worked well for her color scheme since the handles were white and so the white gasket on a turquoise fridge looks fine.

When I painted the gaskets on mine I shoved the paint brush (a 1" foam throwaway brush) into the cracks so that no white would show.

I then ran the tip of a slotted screwdriver through the cracks to remove excess paint.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:38PM
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shelayne

I think my DH would freak out if I painted our newer fridge, but our old one is in the basement, and I have painted that whole area fun, bright colors. The fridge should match, right? :P

That turquoise fridge is adorable! And sooo my color!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:04PM
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kitysaver

Shelayne,

Painting my older one, first, gave me a lot of confidence and experience so that will be a great one for you to do.

Have fun with it!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:07PM
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adrianjuaneli

Impressive! It was look like a new one. Great work, Have you take a special method to applied it ? Could you please share me any tips about your work.

Here is a link that might be useful: buy printer ink online

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:56PM
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nosoccermom

Adrian, I don't think you're supposed to use printer ink to paint the fridge.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:39AM
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kitysaver

Here is the finished refrigerator. I painted it to match the Dover Cambria counter top. The fridge got some deep scratches in it when it was being moved but it was no problem to touch it up with the paint. Personally, I think a stainless steel fridge would have looked pretty bad in that space. Also, I had contemplated going with a paneled fridge but that would have cost another $3K - $4K to buy a new fridge and have it paneled and in my small kitchen with this dark wood....it would have ended up **too** dark.

This post was edited by kitysaver on Sat, Oct 11, 14 at 15:25

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 3:22PM
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kitysaver

I did have to cut a hole in the inside of the fridge and freezer compartment to install the handles. Otherwise, if I installed them as shown in my original picture from last March, they would have been too close to the edge. I used a Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel to cut into the plastic compartment which was no big deal. Afterward, I just covered it with white duct tape and it is barely noticeable.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 3:28PM
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kitysaver

Also, the window frame was originally black and that was painted with a $4 can of Rustoleum spray paint from Home Depot.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 3:30PM
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hotzcatz

Good job! The handles put it over the top, IMHO. Most folks wouldn't think of that.

Your kitchen remodel looks lovely, too! Does the 45 degree corner make it easier to reach back into the corner cabinets? I'd think it would?

We have a refrigerator that I like that's even pretty new but I don't want to move it to the new house because it's black and I am so over black appliances. Maybe you've saved our fridge!

Now, what color to paint it? Oooh! Handles! What sort of handles! This should be fun! (now see what chaos you've caused? Woot!)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 5:38PM
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