Painting the fridge seemed like the perfect way to dress up our tiny kitchen and make it more “modern farmhouse”. Little did I know that in my excitement to do it just how many things could go awry. Can we say “Fridge Painting Epic Fail” enough times?
We live in an 1885 brick farmhouse. When they built it, they did not have electricity or indoor plumbing so the kitchen was not included with the house. There used to be a summer kitchen out back, but it was removed in order to add on to the house and actually give us a kitchen. But dagnabit it’s small.
Updating our tiny, one wall kitchen is definitely on my agenda for the long term of the house, but that’s expensive. And we are poor.
So when I looked around the kitchen for a way to change it up just a little bit, I thought, “Let’s paint the fridge!”
Fridge Paint to Match Dishwasher
When I moved into my hubby’s family homestead, he did have a dishwasher. But it was not working properly at all. I run that thing a lot because of how often I cook and bake. It was already on it’s last leg, and before too long I wore it out.
So we bought a new one.
We decided on a black stainless steel Whirlpool version, with the sliding top rack for utensils. It’s gorgeous. And it’s kept up well over the last couple of years. With hard water in the house, I have to clean it often to keep it looking new, but that’s a whole different post. (I’ll write that one soon. I promise.)
We were at a home improvement store not too long after we bought the new dishwasher. I ended up in the paint section (probably getting more chalk paint for signs or something) and realized that they make a Black Stainless Steel spray paint.
Holy moly! I could spray paint the fridge to match the dishwasher and not have to buy a new one! So I splurged and bought a couple of cans. And was on my way to entering the zone of Fridge Painting Epic Fail.
My Poor Hubby
I will be the first to tell you that when I get an idea for a project in my head, I want to do it and get it done. Like, yesterday. This was one of those projects that I jumped in with both feet. But completely forgot to check the water first.
My husband woke up one morning to a kitchen literally reeking of paint fumes. I was impatient for him to help me. I was impetuant and forgot to sit down and make a plan.
Worst of All??
I forgot how bad I am with spray paint.
I can brush and roll and sponge better than most people I know. (Check out my faux brick and faux shiplap!) But when it comes to spray paint I am NOT good at all. Not even a little.
Something in the motion and projection of how the paint leaves the spray can just evades my natural ability. Which is awful since I grew up in the 80’s with my trusty can of AquaNet. I should be good at this right?
What I Forgot When Painting My Fridge
In my excitement I did not sit down with my husband and plan for this project. (I won’t make that mistake again.)
I pulled out the fridge from the wall, removed the handles and went to town.
See part of the problem?
I did not clean it. No plastic was put down. I didn’t tape off the cabinets to avoid overspray. And most importantly- I was so excited I didn’t even open any windows to ventilate the darned kitchen!!
Fridge Painting 101 (The Reboot Edition)
Based on my epic failure, here is what I did in order to actually fix my fridge painting project.
And yes. The second attempt came out way better than my spontaneous chaotic first try.
Clean. Clean. Clean.
Taking the time to properly prep a surface for painting should be a no-brainer for me considering all the painting I do. I never even start a wood sign without cleaning, sanding, and priming my boards. Don’t ask me why I didn’t think about it with the fridge.
Refrigerators are terribly dirty. We open and shut the doors and get oil and grease on them all the time. We accidentally splash things down the doors. All matter of things sit in that textured surface that we never even think about, no matter how often we clean it.
I took the time to actually scrub the entire fridge the second time. And afterwards, I cleaned it again really well with TSP.
I knew I needed to prime it this time around. There was just no way to get around it. But because I am so awful at spray paint (see above and just ask my hubby) I decided to use a foam roller to prime the fridge. I didn’t use a thick coat, but made sure that all the little textured areas were well covered.
This was actually more time consuming than I expected. Because I had already had my fridge painting fail, I had to be even more careful that everything was getting covered well. At least with a brush and a roller, I’m more apt to notice the little things. So I did a way better job.
I guess that’s obvious. I didn’t even prime the first time. So the second time HAD to be better.
Lay Down Plastic & Protect Surfaces
Before the spray painting ensued (again), my DH and I took the time to tape off the cupboards nearby and to make sure that a tarp was shoved under the fridge.
We also taped off the rubber seals around the doors so that no (more) over-spray could get onto them. They won’t ever be perfect after my fail, but I didn’t want to make them worse.
And we definitely opened windows.
Fridge Painting Fail: Lesson Learned
I definitely love the (eventual) outcome of this project. I definitely made it more time consuming and difficult than it needed to be.
Hindsight is 20/20. But I did realize that even the best ideas in your head need a properly laid out plan to get it done the right way.
Going for something you want is an awesome thing. Don’t hold yourself back from making it happen. I know you have ideas on how you want things in your home and your life. Don’t cut out the important steps to reach that goal.
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