How To: Paint a Chalkboard Fridge


The convenient thing about inheriting a totally average fridge in your new home is that you can mess around with it without feeling guilty, and that's exactly what I did. The plain white fridge wasn't doing it for me, so I decided to fun it up a bit and turn it into a chalkboard surface. Leaving unexpected notes, pictures, and lists on it is a really good time. Another plus is that it also helped to add a bit more personality and schoolhouse charm that I was looking for.


chalkboard fridge1 copy.jpg
What You Will Need:
  • Small Roller: the firmer and thinner the better in order to feather out roller marks.
  • Small Brush: to get around edges and corners
  • Paint Tray
  • Craft or plastic: to protect the floor
  • Magnetic Primer: I used Rustoleum
  • Chalkboard Paint: buy or make your own (see below for details) 

How To: 

  1. Move your fridge out and line the surrounding area with plastic or craft paper.
  2. Remove your fridge handles and corners. 
  3. Paint on the Magnetic Primer. This is used so that your fridge is still magnetic after you put the chalkboard on. I needed three coats to get it pretty even.
      TIP: have the hardware store shake up the can for you, it is crazy thick and very difficult to do by hand (same goes for the chalkboard paint).
  4. After that's dry you can move on to the chalkboard layer. Here is where I ran into some trouble. I wanted it to be really really black, and the black chalkboard paint I bought from Benjamin Moore was actually a dark grey (see image above). I ended up returning it and buying the Rustoleum brand which was a much more pure black.
  5. When painting with the chalkboard paint, use long firm strokes in one direction (it's not forgiving at all). Make sure you feather your strokes out by squeezing as much paint out as you can. This is to help ensure your roller marks aren't visible. For each layer you should switch from horizontal to vertical to diagonal to get an even surface. It took me a good four layers.
  6. Make sure each layer is completely dry before beginning the next layer (this is where my lack of patience was really tested). If you don't you will take off and gunk up your previous layer. This paint is not the norm and is much thicker and stickier than you're probably used to.
  7. The hardest part is waiting for it to dry. It just sits there teasing you waiting to be written all over. But don't make my mistake and mess it up and have to do touch ups because you couldn't wait to try it out. You can wait to buy your chalk so you won't be tempted.
  8. Once it's dry take the long side of your chalk and run it along the entire surface. This is supposed to season it (I don't know why, but that's what they tell you to do)
  9. Then wash it off with a wet cloth, and once it's dry it’s all yours to go at.
  10. The first time it got dirty and the beautiful black surface got marred it took me by surprise, but then I let my OCD self calm down and told myself that it is supposed to get messed up and now I love its filthy charm.


fridge final.jpg

Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint!
The store bought variety only comes in a limited color palette like black and old-timey Little House On The Prairie green so if you want a custom color you'll have to make it yourself.

It's really quite easy to do, here's how:

  • Mix a 1/2 cup of acrylic or latex paint in any color with 1 tablespoon of unsanded grout (from any hardware store).
  • Boom, that's it! Now you have a custom chalkboard color to paint on walls, wood, jars, appliances, vases, tables, pretty much anything your little creative heart desires.


More Posts on the Kitchen Renovation:


How To: Make Washi Switch Plates

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It's time for another super simple DIY that will spice up a part of your home that often gets neglected: Switch Plates!

All you have to do is buy some great Washi Tape patterns, figure out your design, and adhere them onto your Switch and Outlet Plates. Once the plate is taped up, simply use an X-acto knife to cut out the holes for the switch and screws and tape the extra material back inside.

If you are not familiar with the magical wonder that is Washi Tape let me explain. It is decorative masking tape from Japan that comes in hundreds of colors and patterns that can be mixed and matched to your hearts delight. Go crazy browsing and buying here at Cute Tape.

Easy Ikea Hack: Two Rugs are Better Than One

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Ok, so this has to be one of the easiest Ikea hacks out there. You know those faux sheepskin rugs that have been flying out of the bins lately? Well, simply buy two, sew them together, and voila! You now have a fabulous rug that is extra long with a fun, interesting, organic new shape. It is perfect for a hallway, beside your bed, or in an extra long and narrow area.

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I used a thick multifilament polyester thread meant for canvas and upholstery to make sure they stayed secure. I hand sewed the lining edge of both rugs together. It took me about an hour from start to finish and cost a whopping $20. Not bad. So go throw on a mindless movie and start sewing your rugs together!

ikea rugs.jpg

How To: Make This Cat Scratcher


Anyone with a cat knows how important it is to have a cat scratcher in the house. They come in all sorts of ugly, like those carpeted ones that shed and harbor who knows what. There are also those really beautifully designed corrugated cardboard scratchers out there, but my cats use them religiously and want nothing to do with them once they get soft. So investing in expensive ones that will need to be replaced often (and recycled, don't worry)  just isn't feasible for me.

So we have always gone with the cheaper option from Trader Joes. They are the right size, work great, and are inexpensive. The only problem is that they come in that ugly purple box. After years of using them I finally came up with a solution, build a frame!

It is really easy to make, and you can just drop the cardboard insert right in. It also gives it a little more weight, which helps keep it in place when your furry friend is going at it. You can also decorate it in lots of different ways to put your stamp on it.

I had all the materials already lying around, so this project was essentially free. Is there anything better?

What You Will Need:

  • Wood Frame: use 1.5" x 3/4" wood; you'll need 11 3/8" (x2) and 19 7/8" (x2)
  • Chop Saw or Miter Box and Hand Saw
  • Wood Panel 11 3/8 x 19 7/8
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue or Liquid Nails
  • Finishing Nails and Hammer
  • Clamps (2-4)
  • Cardboard Cat Scratcher (specifically built for the Trader Joes scratcher)
  • Cat Nip (Sugaree says this is a deal breaker)
  • Bling (read on for more details)

How To:

  1. For your frame you'll need two 11 3/8" and two 19 7/8" pieces. Miter cut the corners at a 45 degree angle. The measurements I gave are from outside corner to outside corner. You can use a chop saw or a miter box with a hand saw for this step. If you don't have access to either, just have the lumber store cut the wood for you at a straight angle instead.
  2. Cut your wood panel to 11 3/8 x 19 7/8.
  3. Sand all edges of your wood.
  4. Glue your corners together and then glue the frame down to the panel. Clamp the corners with your clamps and set some heavy books on top of the entire frame.
  5. Wait and let dry.
  6. If you want more stability you can then hammer in finishing nails from the bottom of the panel into your frame.
  7. Take the corrugated cat scratcher out of its purple box and place it in your new beautiful frame.
  8. Sprinkle some catnip on it and go grab your cat. Voila! You now have a happy cat and a more stylish home.

Optional Bling: There are lots of ways you could stylize your new frame. Here's a couple to keep in mind (I am making three and they will all be a bit different):

  • In The Raw: Keep it slick and modern with some varnish to keep splinters away and give it a finished look (this is what I did).
  • Stain It: If you want to keep the wood but prefer a different color, rub some stain on it and then varnish. You could even use some painter's tape and just stain 3/4 of the frame. Maybe even use two different colored stains.
  • Dipped: Paint 1/4 or 3/4 up the side of the frame. Paint stripes, two different colors, or an ombre. Try using a super glossy paint in a vibrant color.
  • Draw: all over the frame with marker and gel pen. Create a pattern or just go at it freehand.
  • Washi Tape: Go Washi Tape shopping and wrap it all around your frame. This way you have the option of easily changing it up later on.
  • Paper: Glue paper to it. You could almost wrap it like a present with some funky design.

How To: Make Subway Signs (w/ free downloadables)

subway sign_hall.jpg

One day as I was rushing down our typical steep old house stairs (I admit, not my smartest habit) that lead to the basement, I felt like I was running down to the subway to catch a train that was just about to get there. After that thought lingered on for a second and reality set back in I decided that it would be fun to turn the stairwell into some kind of quasi-subway station. I choose to make it into a trip down memory lane and make signs of meaningful subway stops that Matt and I have visited on a trip or from places that we've lived.

After choosing the specific stops, I found images of their respective signs online so that I could re-create them with accuracy. Then I drew them in Illustrator, got them printed, cut down some wood, and mounted them. It was a fairly simple project and extremely enjoyable from start to finish. 

What You Will Need:

  • Printer: either yours or a print shop. If you use the size I have provided you will need access to a large format printer. The images are 4.25" x 17.5" and 4.25" x 16.75".
  • Ruler and Xacto Knife
  • Glue and Brush: I used Modge Podge.
  • Wood: if you mount it the way I did you will need a 1/2 " piece of wood cut down to the size of your sign. You could also use foam core, matte board, or gator board.
  • Mounting Supplies: I used flush mounts for mine, but you can use any hanging device you have.
  • Paint (optional): if you want to paint the edges of the wood the color of your signs.


How To:

  1. I have made PDF's of my NY Subway SIgn and the NY Bronx/Uptown Sign for you to use. (fyi: the subway sign is a little smaller (4.25" x 16.75") to fit the specific place I was putting it in) 
  2. Cut out the signs with an Xacto knife and ruler.
  3. Cut your boards to size (wood, foamcore, etc).
  4. If you're going to paint the sides of your board do that now.
  5. Brush on a layer of glue to your board (not too wet and not too thin. You don't want your paper to start buckling, but you do want it to stick).
  6. Slowly mount your paper to your board. Line up the edge on the lefthand side of the board paying attention that the top and bottom edges are also lined up. Press the paper down on that left side while holding the rest of the paper up with your right hand. Continuously rub the paper from top to bottom as you slowly lower the the paper to make contact with the board. Rubbing the paper as it makes contact will help get rid of any air bubbles that might get trapped.
  7. Let dry and then mount your brackets to the back and hang.
  8. Sit back, admire, enjoy, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.