PaintI used a turquoise color called “Tropicana/R229D”
Step 1: Prepare the Refrigerator
Remove everything from the refrigerator, unplug it, and move it slightly away from the wall or any other furniture (so they don’t get any paint splats). Aim to do this DIY refrigerator painting in a well-ventilated area too!
Place a ‘drop cloth’/tarp under the appliance to avoid drips. You could also use old materials like bed sheets or even trash bags. If you’re alone when doing this, you can usually tilt the fridge slightly to move the material underneath it, one corner at a time.
Step 2: Clean the refrigerator
It’s essential to thoroughly clean the outside of the refrigerator where you’ll be painting. Even the tiniest amount of dust can affect the way that the paint goes onto the appliance.To clean the fridge, use a damp cloth with a little soap (sugar soap works very well for this purpose) or even a vinegar-water mixture (1:1 ratio). Make sure to use a cloth that doesn’t leave behind any fibers - like a microfiber cloth.You can dry the fridge with the same type of cloth - but avoid a towel or anything that may leave small fibers.
Step 3: Tape areas you’re not painting
Use masking tape to cover any areas that you don’t want to paint. This can include any displays, handles, and hinges. Make sure that the tape is smooth on all sides so that no paint gets below the tape.Top Tip: You can also use masking tape to create a more detailed design when painting your fridge, such as stripes, blocks, etc.
Step 4: Paint the refrigerator with a primer/base coat
To paint the refrigerator with the primer*, you can use a small foam roller for the larger parts and a small brush for any harder-to-reach areas. Then allow the paint to dry completely (usually between 4-6 hours in a well-ventilated area).Tip: You can use two layers of primer for older refrigerators and even better coverage, but mine didn’t require it.
Step 5: Paint The Refrigerator
Stir the paint well before pouring it into a tray. You can get wooden paint sticks specifically for this or use something similar to an old wooden spoon.
Using a clean, dry foam roller, paint the first layer of paint on the refrigerator. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look 100% at this point, as you’ll be painting another layer. I like to start with the top of the fridge, then the front and sides.
Use a small brush to reach any hard-to-reach areas again, and then allow the coat to dry completely (4-6 hours in a well-ventilated area, usually).Top tip: I suggest painting the first coat the evening before and leaving it to dry overnight, so you give it a good 8-10 hours or more.
Once completely dry, paint the fridge with a second coat. If you don’t wait, you can ruin the finish entirely - so try not to be too impatient.
Alternative method: Spray paint
If you’d prefer to use spray paint to paint the refrigerator, use an oil-based spray primer first. Shake the can for about 60 seconds before spraying to thicken up the mixture.When spraying, hold the can around 8-10”/20-25cm away from the refrigerator and make sure to move the can while spraying, so you don’t end up with uneven parts.Allow it to dry completely (according to the instructions on the can).
Then, use your spray paint color of choice (make sure it's for metal surfaces and avoid matte finishes to avoid smudge/fingerprint marks).Paint using the same method as above. Heavy or uneven coats are more likely to drip and may need to be finely sanded down between coats.Top Tip: It’s best to use protective gloves when using a spray. I’d also suggest taking the appliance outdoors when doing this or placing protective sheeting on the walls nearby the appliance as a spray is more likely to spread.
Step 6: The Final Steps
Allow the fridge to dry completely before moving it back into place and plugging it in. I suggest leaving it a full 24hrs for complete confidence.Top Tip: You can go one extra step and properly seal the paint with a sealant, though this takes a very long time to dry, and I’m not sure if it will affect the fridge's magnetism.
* Several brands offer two-in-one paint and primer. This saves a step (and time) - but isn’t available in all colors.
Drying time can depend on how well ventilated the area is that you’re painting. Also, the weather will affect the drying time. For example, high humidity can take longer to dry.
If your fridge is very old/dirty, you may need to use a small air compressor to get out any dust and food bits from the fridge's various hard-to-reach parts.
If you make any mistakes when painting, you can clean it up with q-tips and a little rubbing alcohol. If it's the first coat, you can sand down any areas that are bumpy before the second coat.
For a retro refrigerator on a budget, then I suggest going for yellow or pastel shades like duck-egg blue, pastel pink, etc.
If you have plastic handles that come away from the fridge, these can be replaced with metallic handles OR painted the same color/ painted complementary metallics; silver, gold, bronze- just make sure to seal these high-touch areas.
The number of coats of paint that you'll need will vary depending on what color you're painting the fridge.
To have your refrigerator paint match your kitchen cabinets perfectly, several brands will be able to mix custom colors as well as having standard colors.
Total time: although the hands-on time is about 1 hour (it took me about 15-20 minutes per layer of paint), the total time does not include the drying time. As noted above, you need to wait about 4-6 hours between coats. Depending on the environment where your fridge is (a well-ventilated area or not), as well as the type of paint you use, it might take longer for the paint to dry.
Recipe on Alphafoodie: https://www.alphafoodie.com/how-to-paint-a-refrigerator/