before and after, DIY, refrigerator

DIY: refrigerator from off white to stainless steel!

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DIY Stainless steel refrigerator:  I was searching the internet and some how came upon this product called faux stainless steel.  It was a roll of pvc film that looks exactly like stainless steel.  I’ve been wanting a new fridge, so I figured I would give this a shot before I spent the money on a whole new fridge.  Besides my fridge still works perfectly.  It was worth the 75 dollars(including the film and spray paint) instead of the price of a new fridge. This project was definitely more time consuming than I anticipated, but we got it done in one day in about 13 hours.  Had I known what I learned while doing this, I don’t think it would have taken as long. Which is why I figured I would post about it in case anyone else tries to do the same.

Tools Used/Needed:
* Screwdrivers (to take off/reassemle doors)
* Sander
* Fine Grit sand paper
* Rustoleum Black Appliance Epoxy
* Faux Stainless Steel Film
* Hair Dryer (to help the film to stick around corners and edges)
* Scissors (to cut the film to size)
* Credit Card or Squeegee (to smooth out the film)

We started by cleaning the exterior of the fridge with Windex.
Next, We took the doors off of the front and took in outside to be sanded. (TIP: Make sure you when you take off the doors, you label where certain parts and screws came from and how they were attached)

Once we did a light sanding on the exterior (including the doors), we wiped it down again with water to get the dust off.  We taped off the back section and front so it wouldn’t get paint on the inside of the refrigerator and proceeded to paint the sides and top black. We used Rustoleum appliance epoxy.

While the sides and top were drying we decided to put the faux stainless steel film on the doors.  This was the most time consuming part of the project.  The film comes in different sized rolls, I think ours was 6 ft X 36″ and it worked well for what we needed.

Before we started applying the faux stainless steel, we wiped the doors down with vinegar to make sure their wasn’t any residue from the Windex left.  The Windex can ruin the application of the faux stainless steel.

There are 2 methods you can use to apply this film.  One method being a dry application, where you just try to put it on and smooth it out.  There is also wet method where you wet the surface with soapy water.  We figured we would just go with the dry method, which was a mistake.  We had to keep pulling it off and there were bubbles and stuff kept getting underneath making it look awful. Finally we decided to take it off and try the wet method.  It was SOOO much easier it made me question why they even suggest the dry method.  Once we got the soapy water on the surface we peeled the backing off of the film and stuck it to the door.

We used a credit card and a squeegee to get out any bubbles.  If you decide to leave the paper on the back and pull off a little at a time as you smooth out the surface, make sure the back of the paper is clean of any dirt or debris.  After pulling the film up repeatedly to get out tiny pieces of dirt and what not, we finally figured out it was because the paper on the back of the film was dirty, even though we were going to peel it off it was still touching the surface of the fridge we were about to be sticking the film to.

I would definitely recommend using a hair dryer to heat up the film around the corners and edges.
It really made a difference in the look and the application of the film.  It pulled the film tight around the edges and corners.
Before
After

So the main thing I learned is to USE THE WET METHOD! And take your time and it will come out great.

 I think it came out really well!  If you have any questions about anything we did or used, feel free to ask or leave a comment below!

Here is a stop motion video we did working on the fridge outside.

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply Lisa May 10, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Hi! Just stumbled across your blog and this specific post. How did/has the refrigerator held up? The hubby and I are wanting to do this to the fridge in our rental unit so that it coordinates with the rest of the appliances in the event a new fridge isn’t in the budget. Would love to here your thoughts.

    • Reply Christyn May 29, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      It has held up amazingly! I just sold the fridge to someone for a rental unit actually, but the it looked the same as it did when I first put on the faux stainless steel stuff(almost 4 years ago). I would do it again for sure!

  • Reply mark October 31, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Hello-

    What did you do with the gasket? Did you leave it white/tan color ?

    • Reply Christyn November 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Mark!

      I left it as it was, which was white.

  • Reply Becky January 6, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Hi. Why do you have to sand it ? My present frig has a rough surface not smooth so this may not work anyhow. I am so tired of the white appliances but nothing is wrong with them !

    • Reply Christyn January 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

      My fridge had a glossy surface, I only had to sand areas that we spray painted so it would stick better.

  • Reply Ashley September 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    That looks great!! The original fridge, was it textured or smooth? Thank you!

    • Reply Christyn September 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you! It was textured, but it still looked great over it!

  • Reply Amy September 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Where did you get the contact paper?

    • Reply Christyn September 6, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Hi Amy!
      I originally bought it from a website that is no longer in service, but I did find it on Amazon. I have a link to it in the post, if you want to click on faux stainless steel film under the items needed. But I believe it’s called EZ faux decor.

  • Reply Vanessa Castro April 28, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Did you remove the handles before applying the film? If so, was that easy?

    • Reply Christyn April 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      I did! And yep it was pretty easy, labeling where the parts came from will help too when you piece it back together.

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