Chalkboard-painting a stainless steel refrigerator: possible?
September 1, 2013 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Can I paint my stainless steel fridge with chalkboard paint? I've found lots of tutorials on how to do it with a regular white fridge (whatever those are made of) but nothing on stainless. Should I try to sand it? Do I need primer? Please advise.

I've been thinking of replacing it anyway, because my adorable 1922 house is not a "stainless steel appliances" kind of house. But the fridge works just fine and it seems silly to get rid of it just because I don't like how it looks. So...chalkboard paint! Fun?
posted by exceptinsects to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Stainless steel is smooth. Consider the likewise difficulties of painting smooth glass. You'll certainly have to roughen things up.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:00 PM on September 1, 2013

Best answer: By the way, getting rid of something because of how it looks is a FANTASTIC reason to get rid of something. A stainless steel fridge will probably sell faster than any other fridge, too. So only paint this fridge if you actually want to take on this project.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:03 PM on September 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, but now I am excited about the idea of having a chalkboard fridge. Do you think it will work?
posted by exceptinsects at 1:27 PM on September 1, 2013

Best answer: If you can't find a way to do it with paint, I have seen large chalkboard wall decals for sale on etsy that might work. Plus, you can remove them easily if you decide you want to sell the fridge instead.
posted by elizardbits at 1:30 PM on September 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think that paint would flake off, and then it would look really shabby.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:32 PM on September 1, 2013

I think it would work, but you'd have to take off the door to do the sanding, priming, and painting. So where would you put your food while doing that?
posted by oceanjesse at 1:34 PM on September 1, 2013

a regular white fridge (whatever those are made of)

Those are made of regular steel, primed, then painted. Your fridge has been crafted with the more refined and very desirable stainless steel and it would be a shame to deface it this way. Suggest trading with a friend, for their newish plain white -- ask around, people would jump at the chance.
posted by Rash at 1:45 PM on September 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Hello! IANYP, but I'm a painter. I have no reason to believe this would not work and I would not take the door off.
Make sure you sand it all over, so it's not smooth and shiny anymore; then apply a coat of primer (ask your paint supplier which one you need, and show the paint you want to use on top of it). Use a roller rather than a brush.

I happen to think this is a neat project. And if it doesn't turn out all that great, you can still repaint it in a colour that goes with your kitchen.

Things are only as valuable to you as YOU consider them to be. If your fridge is more attractive to you when it's covered in chalkboard paint, then by all means go ahead.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:48 PM on September 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Buy some chalkboard contact paper! Way less permanent than paint, and on stainless, much cleaner results.
posted by leastlikelycowgirl at 1:49 PM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Chalkboard decal! Genius!
But in my opinion, stainless steel is going to be the new "harvest gold" in a few years so maybe I should just get rid of it while people still think it's cool.
posted by exceptinsects at 2:08 PM on September 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

There also is dry-erase paint that you can buy, which probably would like the very smooth surface to adhere to. The rust-oleum stuff I linked to claims you can paint it on metal. Idea Paint claims it's super fantastic, but it's also incredibly expensive. Sherwin-Williams apparently has transparent dry-erase coating, which sounds super-cool, although maybe not if what you want is to not have a stainless steel fridge.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2013

But in my opinion, stainless steel is going to be the new "harvest gold" in a few years so maybe I should just get rid of it while people still think it's cool.

If you think stainless steel is gonna be the new harvest gold, what do you think chalkboard-painted surfaces are going to be- timeless classics for the next hundred years? I'd bet a lot of money that chalkboard paint becomes totally passe long before stainless steel. Sell the thing!
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:01 PM on September 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

You can, but should you? In my opinion NO WAY. I'd be wary of ruining a perfectly working, highly desirable stainless steel appliance no matter how much I like the idea of chalkboard paint (which I generally think is pretty cool).

But hey, you are not me! So, are you experienced with painting stuff? Have you ever painted ANYTHING with chalkboard paint before?

I'd suggest that at the very least you get some easier-to-dispose-of, inexpensive item, give yourself over to your chalkboard painting wild hare and see how painting that turns out first. Mugs are good. Maybe coffee cans, because they're steel too and they are cheap!

Because here's the thing--impulsive crafts often lead to disappointment. Most of us creative or artsy types have no problem coming up with ideas, but we know that what we envision is rarely exactly what we end up with. And it isn't even close to waht we want unless we really take the time and effort to do it right. Which means checking out the craft stores, DIY forums and craftier sites, figuring out various methods, and practicing them to find out which ones actually work for us.

If you haven't found any sound advice about the best way to paint stainless steel, that right there should tell you something. But if you are he'll-bent on this project even so, rather than the (very sensible suggestion) of selling the stainless steel fridge (or trading it for a white one to paint over), than at least get some chalkboard painting experience under your belt first.

You may get this idea out of your system; if not, you go forward with your fridge painting idea, all the more proficient after a trial run, which can only make you more thrilled with your unique new Chalkboard Fridge!
posted by misha at 4:47 PM on September 1, 2013

Response by poster: Okay! I will sell it! I had no idea people were still so into stainless steel appliances. It came with the house, is why I didn't especially worry about ruining it. But the decal idea is way better anyway.
Thanks everyone, for saving my ugly fridge from certain disaster!
posted by exceptinsects at 11:26 PM on September 1, 2013

Response by poster: Update: sold the old fridge on Craigslist and bought a fab new white one! Just remember you heard it here first: stainless steel is SO OVER
posted by exceptinsects at 10:38 PM on November 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

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