I knew when we got the house we were going to have to get a bargain fridge. We were lucky that a friend of ours wanted to upgrade, so we got a great deal on this refrigerator. I’d already bookmarked a few of these chalkboard fridge how-to sites because I loved the idea of having a fun, interactive station in the house. That, and I thought it would be cool if the fridge tied into the theme of the rest of the kitchen we would eventually do.
For this project I used two Rustolium products. A magnetic primer, which goes on black, and a tintable chalkboard paint. We chose to do red to tie into the color scheme of what the kitchen will be.
My biggest suggestion for people would be to do this outside or in a garage. Since I had food I couldn’t put anywhere else, I had to do this in my kitchen. It wasn’t all that bad, but the smell was a little strong for a day or two. I kept two box fans pointed at the fridge to both dry it and get rid of the odor faster.
I’m not convinced the magnetic primer is necessary. I only painted half of the pantry facing side of the fridge with the primer, and that lower half is still magnetic. It’s not as strong as the primer, but it could do the job.
No one told me about how the primer would go on. To the left, you can see the second coat, I believe it was. The first you can sort of see on the bottom of the fridge as an off-white color. I didn’t quite understand just how well you have to stir this stuff. There’s literally shards of metal in there, all stuck together in a muddy, mushy pulp and you’ve got to really take your time and slowly churn it up until it’s something a bit more liquid-like.
The almost entirely black fridge is the final product of many coats of this paint. Because it’s such a thick, goopy substance, I would also suggest using a cheap brush you can just throw away afterward. I’m a big re-user, but those brushes I used for this got chunked so fast, they were probably still wet.
Now, the red gave me pause a bit. I mean, I didn’t quite realize the magnetic primer would be black. No one posted pictures of that! So I was pretty worried about how the red would go on over it. I mean, red. Over black. Eesh.
To the left you can see the front of the fridge with, I believe two coats of paint on it. If you enlarge it, you can see streaks of black. I used a touch-up kit roller. They’re sold in little bundles of a small tray, the roller and a foam brush. It worked really well for just dipping in the can of red paint and rolling it on.
I will stress the roller involvement. I did a little of this with a paintbrush and wound up with bad streaks I had to roll out. Use a roller. Save yourself the hassle.
I knew the fridge wouldn’t be a bright cherry red, which is what a lot of our other kitchen items are. We had some concerns about how those would look with the darker fridge. We shouldn’t have worried. Yeah, the fridge doesn’t exactly match, but who cares?
Look at that thing!
So far our six year old loves drawing on it. It’s covered in magnetic letters and chalk. Silly me hasn’t gotten a picture of it actually drawn on, and now we’ve painted the kitchen I don’t want to share the end look prematurely. I’ll update this post with a final picture once the Painting Journey post goes up.
Now, suggestions, I was told by a handy-man that the fridge should have been sanded prior to painting. Again, none of the blogs I read said anything about sanding, so I didn’t. There might potentially be pealing, which I haven’t seen yet and we’re now about two weeks after the act of painting it. I would also recommend having another can of paint for touch-ups. I only used one can on the fridge, and I made it last, but if you’re doing a lighter color, and why not since the paint can be colored whatever shade you like? You might need two cans. I’ve had a few magnets pull the paint up, and one newspaper ad that left residue on the chalkboard. I’m thinking we get a kitchen cork board for papers, and leave the fridge as art.