You can turn your old fridge into a modern fridge by painting its surface with stainless steel paint. In this way, you can keep an old fridge that works well without having to give up on the beauty of a modern stainless steel fridge. In fact, stainless steel paint is superior to store-bought stainless steel fridges for several reasons. Magnets will stick to stainless steel paint but won’t stick to some modern stainless steel fridges. And unlike their modern counterparts, old fridges painted with stainless steel paint will not smudge or reveal fingerprints, and they are easier to clean. You can turn your old fridge into a modern stainless steel fridge, then use stainless steel paint to modernize the rest of your kitchen from your toaster to your light fixtures.
Follow these steps to turn your old fridge into a modern stainless steel fridge.
Sand your fridge gently with P-320 grit sandpaper, both sides and back. This will remove any chipped paint, rust stains or debris that stuck to the surface. Then wash the fridge surfaces with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
If you don’t want to paint your old fridge handles, remove them by prying or sliding the cover off the ends of the handles to reveal the hidden screws. If you can’t remove the handles, tape them off, as well as any other areas you don’t wish to coat with stainless steel paint, like the rubber seal on your old fridge door, or the plastic grill on the bottom.
If your old fridge is made of plastic, use waterbased primer to prime the fridge before starting to apply the stainless steel paint. Examples of waterbased primers are: Kilz 2, Zinnzer’s Primercoat2, Zinnzer’s Bullseye 1-2-3. It’s possible for some parts of your old fridge to be made of metal and some of plastic. You can find out which is which by placing a fridge magnet over the different parts of your old fridge. The magnet will only stick to metal.
Apply the primer in straight vertical strokes in the same direction that you will use when painting the stainless steel paint a little later.
Prepare the Stainless Steel Paint
Stir your stainless steel paint very well. Stainless steel paint is actually made from microscopic stainless steel fragments. Stirring the paint well distributes these particles evenly, to give your old fridge an even stainless steel finish. Pour the paint into a paint tray, or use a small brush or roller to dip in the paint can and saturate your large roller as you apply the stainless steel paint to your fridge.
Keep the fridge cracked open to prevent the seal from sticking to the wet stainless steel paint before it dries. Always saturate your roller or brush before you press it to your old fridge to begin painting it with stainless steel paint. Begin with the edges on the top of the fridge, then paint the sides and finally the front.
Apply the stainless steel paint with the saturated roller working in sections. You can turn the roller from side to side or up and down over the section until the entire surface is covered in an even layer of stainless steel paint. Next, with a foam brush, create straight vertical strokes from top to bottom all along the old fridge surface to create an even stainless steel finish. Use a wide, hard foam brush to permits you to press hard on the stainless steel paint to erase the pattern left by the roller.
Common First Coat Problems
As the first coat begins to dry you will notice runs in some places, droplets of stainless steel paint. Smooth them away with your foam brush then wait for the area to dry. Then sand with P-320 grit sandpaper to gently smooth away the area. Do not be concerned if your old fridge seems coated in a thin layer of stainless steel paint at this point. This is normal.
Wait one hour between the first and second coats of stainless steel paint. Once more use the roller to apply the second coat of stainless steel paint, beginning at your old fridge top, then sides and finally the front. Next, use your hard foam brush to smooth away the roller marks from the wet stainless steel surface, but this time create vertical strokes in the opposite direction, from bottom to top.
Common Second Coat Problems
For areas that appear to have a thin first coat of stainless steel paint, be sure to saturate the roller thoroughly so as to create a thick second coat. Be sure also to work your foam brush in the opposite direction to the one used on the first coat, as this will fill in the grooves, establishing a thick stainless steel cover on your old fridge.
Clear Top Coat
Now that you have turned your old fridge into a modern stainless steel fridge, it’s important to apply a protective clear coat to the painted surface. This will impart a beautiful even sheen to your stainless steel fridge, as well as protect it from scratches or fingerprint marks. Wait two hours after finishing painting the second coat of stainless steel paint, then use the roller to apply the clear coat. Follow with the hard foam brush in the exact direction you used during the second coat (vertical, straight lines from bottom to top). One coat of stainless steel clear finish will impart a satin finish, and two coats a gloss finish.
Clean up tapped off areas by carefully pulling off the tape. It’s best to use a knife to gently score along the tape and separate the dry stainless steel tape from the tape. Wait 24 hours before using your fridge and don’t stick any fridge magnets or decorations to it for 14 days.
Clean your modern stainless steel fridge with soap and water and a gentle cloth. A dap of baby oil on a soft paper towel is another way to smooth away smears and impart a clear sheen to your stainless steel painted surface.
Stainless Steel Paints
There are several stainless steel paints on the market. Rust Oleum has an excellent stainless steel product, made with real stainless steel. Thomas Liquid Stainless Steel is another excellent choice, which comes with a full project kit that includes everything you’ll need to turn your old fridge into a modern stainless steel fridge.
Tip: The same painting instructions discussed in this article apply to other kitchen appliances like your dishwasher, microwave, light fixtures, toaster or kettle.
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