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.
- 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)
- Move your fridge out and line the surrounding area with plastic or craft paper.
- Remove your fridge handles and corners.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Then wash it off with a wet cloth, and once it's dry it’s all yours to go at.
- 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.
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.