[DIY] Chalkboard Painting a.. What?!

Renting a house has its benefits…and pitfalls. When the air conditioner breaks, you don’t have to pay for it. But you do have to wait for the landlord to get someone to fix it. You may not have to bring your own appliances, which helps if you don’t have any! But if those appliances don’t work properly or turn out to be energy suckers, you’re stuck with an dysfunctional fridge or a really high electric bill [or both!].

We rent but did not have a refrigerator… so when the home owners said that a refrigerator came with the home, we were excited and relieved! But since moving in, the fridge that was provided has turned out to be more of a pain than a blessing. The shelving in the fridge has broken or bent pieces making me afraid to even put anything heavy on them! I’m afraid a gallon of milk would cause it to crash! [Okay, so we don’t drink milk, but something else heavy ;) ] The freezer leaks and my daughter has slipped on the puddles several times, despite putting a towel on the floor to soak it up.

So when my mom text messaged me last week saying someone at her church was giving away a fridge for FREE and that this fridge was in great condition, I jumped at the opportunity! It took some work to get it to our house, and when my hubby picked it up, he text messaged me saying, “Its ugly.”

We have black appliances but this new-to-us-fridge was WHITE. And my hubby didn’t like that ;) So, I had to come up with something to fix it! Of course! Obviously, Pinterest was the place I went to see what refrigerator DIYs were out there. I found several I liked, and I’m sure many of you have seen the chalkboard fridge! No? Well, its exactly what I decided to do and I’m going to show you the whole process!

Here is a picture of fridge in its glory:

So I went to the hardware store and purchased some chalkboard paint. One DIY said to use magnetic primer to keep your fridge surface magnetic, but it is SO expensive, so I decided to just get the chalkboard paint, paint a back corner, and test a magnet on it. Lo and behold, it still worked, so I skipped the primer. The chalkboard paint was $12 (similar here) and the sponge roller and paint pan was $6 for the set (similar & even better here), making the total for my project around $20. Not bad for a free fridge!

When I opened the can of chalkboard paint, I got a little [more] nervous because it looked blue! But on I went…I had to try it!

Then, when I painted the first layer, it looked like this:

Cue heart attack. I seriously almost stopped at this point. But, I was convinced that I could pull it off…okay, and a little stubborn ;) Tip: this kind of attitude doesn’t always pay off ;) Now, with the chalkboard paint, it is different than normal wall paint…the reason I mention this obvious detail is because you have to wait [at least with this particular brand] until the coat is pretty much 95% dry to put on a second coat. But I can’t just go out into the garage every 20 minutes because my kiddies would get into a lot of trouble ;) So, what would have taken me probably one afternoon took me an entire weekend touching up spots, applying coats, and cleaning the fridge as well.

BUT…it turned out AMAZING! ;)

We left parts of the fridge white because a) I was impatient to get it inside and b) I kind of like the mod look.

So here’s the before and after….

Not bad, eh? Have you ever taken the scary plunge and DIYed something like this? Something that, if ruined, would be kind of a big deal? Tell me about it! And don’t forget to Pin It if you love it! :)

This post contains affiliate links.


  1. carleeh says

    So I randomly decided to paint my fridge today. After a stroke of genius, (and a crazy streaky mess) I realized I hadn’t primed. Soooo I got online and looked to see if I had to and found your blog. Thanks for the realistic approach! I am glad to see other mom’s just go for it and it turns out! Mine is looking good, on the second coat. But for some reason it is glossy??? I want flat… did yours look glossy while it dried? I used martha stewart all surface craft chalk paint. Switching to Annie Sloan for finish. I am going to paint frames and words on it too! Ummm mine also has a ice/water in the front so it looks a little different but hoping all the white will look cool :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      How fun!! I am so glad you found my post! I wanted to make sure to write a realistic post for us bloggers out there who don’t have a billion bucks to spend on DIY projects. :) My fridge was matte the whole time, but it could just be the difference in brands. Maybe your finish will help? If you blog and decide to write a post about it, I’d love for you to let me know so I can see! :)

  2. christie says

    interesting see that you painted your refrigerator with Chalkk paint, I was wanting to do that but I was afraid it would hold up good, and I thought I had originally idea.:-( and I’m thinking of doing mine in a color chalk. we’ll see how it turns out I have an ugly copper brown copper brown frigerator. what can it hurt I can’t make it any uglier! Thanks for pinning this! Glad to know some ek se had the same idea and it works :-)

  3. Jennifer Harrington says

    I have wanted to do this ever since I saw it on Good Luck Charlie!! I really want to do it since our move before last, which put a dent/scratch right on the front of the fridge. I wonder how it will do with a slick fridge. Mine is a new fridge that doesn’t have the texture like yours.

    • Erin Lauray says

      I didn’t even know they did that on Good Luck Charlie! I saw it today and it made me smile :) I am not sure about a smooth fridge, but maybe try a corner that isn’t visible and see how it holds up? :)

  4. Haliee K says

    SO happy to see this DIY! I’m about to move out on my own and was donated a perfectly functioning eyesore of a fridge. 1970’s mustard yellow hunk o’ ugly. I’m really glad you did this DIY because I was torn between magnetic primers, spray chalkboard paint, canned, and all of the finite details the labels don’t mention! Thanks for the pics too, because the drying would give me a mini heart attack too! Will definitely repin!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Thanks Hailee!! I hope you come back and let me know how it goes! :)

  5. Heather says

    I was just wondering how it is holding up? It’s it still looking cute and sticking on? I’m thinking I may do it to my frig but i’m so nervous!

  6. Kim says

    Most impressive! Am awe inspired by your tenacity in getting the job done.

  7. says

    I am just wondering how your fridge paint is holding up since you didn’t use any primer? I bought a couple cans of chalkboard paint in royal blue and kelly green last spring intending them for my kids room. We changed our minds and I want to put it to use.

    • Erin Lauray says

      Its holding up well! I had a couple scratches within the week of painting it, but since then, none! :)

  8. Kandi says

    I was going to try this on my fridge. On the test section it seemed to scratch and come off easily. Did you have this problem? Or did you use some type of primer.?

    • Erin Lauray says

      It does scratch, but I’ve had my three year old coloring all over it and it doesn’t come off super easy. It touches up very easily if you’re worried about it. :)

  9. says

    I have been given a used fridge that I am planning on putting out on the patio by the pool … Do you know if chalkboard paint would hold up outdoors? It would be under a patio cover, but still outside … the Grands would LOVE a chalkboard fridge holding their popcicles!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Cindi – I am unsure! I would assume it would be okay since chalkboard paint is very dry, but maybe try a small square and let it run outside for a few days to test it?

  10. Jessica says

    I was just wondering….does the fridge have a smooth surface or is it the kind that doesn’t? I thought about trying this with mine, which doesn’t have a smooth surface so I’m afraid it wouldn’t work.

    • Jessie says

      @Georgia, I’m not by any mean promoting this, however, I have been planning my daughters room make-over and found Disney Paint by Glidden at Walmart. They have a lot of different disney related colors that you can do in metalic, chalk board, etc. You might try to see if they have a chalkboard color in the blue that you are thinking of, and don’t think you’re limited when I say “Disney” colors, there are A LOT of great colors!

  11. JMD says

    I cannot wait to do this! A few questions: 1-how did you clean your fridge first? 2-Did you use chalk board paint on sides or just regular paint? 3-does it scratch easily? 4-Do you have to do touchups?

    • Erin Lauray says

      Hi! Yes, I cleaned my fridge just using a washcloth, warm water, and a small amount of soap. We got a used fridge that we weren’t using yet, so I had the luxury of cleaning it out and really getting at it. I also used chalkboard paint over the whole fridge. I was on a budget, so buying different paints wasn’t an option for me. So the whole thing got chalkboard paint. Unfortunately, it does scratch but I wouldn’t say really easily. Now if you took your fingernail and scratched over the surface, the paint would come off! But when we write on it, clean it, or bump into it, it doesn’t scratch. But when I do have a scratch, I just use a foam brush with some left over chalkboard paint and touch it up. Works like a charm and you can’t even tell which spots have been touched up! Hope that helps! :)

      • JMD says

        Sounds great, thanks for all the info. You were able to do the whole fridge with a quart of paint?

  12. Jessie says

    Do you think you would have to unplug the fridge and let it get to room temperature before doing this on a fridge already in use? Mine could use a good scrub down any ways :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      I don’t think you would have to. One tutorial I viewed before doing this myself was one where the woman painted the fridge in her kitchen! I wasn’t that brave ;) But if unplugging it would get you to scrub it down, maybe that would be good accountability and motivation ;) heehee

  13. says

    YAY!! I’m so glad yours turned out well! I am thinking of doing the right side of my fridge because it doesn’t but up against anything on the side… and it’s right by the entry way that goes from the kitchen to the laundry room… I figure it’s a good place to write notes, chores for my son and grocery lists! Since I’m only doing the side, I’m a little nervous about it appearing unfinished or sloppy… but I think the “cool” aspect of it makes up for that. LOL :-)

    Anyway, I didn’t see if you mentioned… but how much paint did you end up buying? (I could probably get away with half since I’m only doing a side and not the entire thing).

    Yours looks great! :-)

  14. Kathy says

    Thank you ! You are the only one who knew that the magnetic primer was not necessary. I hate to prep for a painting project. This was perfect for my refrigerator because I could just paint – no priming, no sanding, and most of all no spraying ! I am going to do the doors with stainless steel paint.
    Thanks again! Very helpful!

  15. Brittney says

    I LOVVVVVE your fridge!! I finally got my boyfriend on board with me doing this to our fridge so I’m sure your post will come in handy!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Woohoo! I had to reassure my husband like a billion times. Those guys just don’t have the eye we do ;) hope it turns out great for you!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Woohoo! It was meant to be ;) hope it’s as easy for you as it was for me!

  16. Jenna says

    Erin, after reading your blog, I too painted my white fridge with chalkboard paint. I have 3 girls ages 11, 9 and 18 months and it’s been a hit. Thank you for making my project as easy as pie. I followed your instructions and had my project knocked out in one evening.

  17. says

    I did this also and love it. However, I made my own chalkboard paint. I did fridge one wall in daughters room plus a little chalkboard for about $6.00. The chalkboard paint you buy is usually three times that amount!

  18. says

    We just did this today and we LOVE the results! Thanks for this post; we followed a pinterest link here too! :) Was super affordable too, we spent $9 per can (used 1.5 cans) on chalk paint, and about $5 for the roller, pan and foam brush. I also used one of my bigger art paintbrushes for crevices and can still put magnets on the fridge as you said! I am so excited to try and draw on it now!

    I linked to my fb page where I posted the pics…hope you can see them!

  19. Billie says

    I saw this on Pinterest just in the knick of time!! Our fridge died yesterday, and since money doesn’t grow on trees, I was in a PANIC!! Turns out our neighbor had one they were kind enough to sell me for $20!! (yes, that was only 1 zero after that 2!) However, it’s older then I am, and avocado green. Not to fear, I love the retro look (and did I mention twenty bucks?!) and after seeing your project turn out fantastic with NOOOOO magnetic primer, today, I paint!!

  20. Shanna says

    Hey Erin!

    I wanted to let you know that I found your site about a month ago and followed your directions for painting my fridge. It turned out perfect!! I will post pictures if I can figure out how to on this site. :)

    P.S. The Psalm on your fridge made me all the more excited, which lead to our new policy of writing words of encouragement on our fridge :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      Shanna! I am so excited for you! :) I’ll reply to your email today :)

  21. says

    This turned out great! I was wondering what size paint container you got and if it only took one?
    Thank you!

    • Erin Lauray says

      I only purchased a quart and it was plenty. I actually have a little left over for touch ups when I need to! :)

  22. says

    Awesome idea!! I am wondering if I could do this to a stainless steel fridge? Our appliances came with the house when we bought it. We’ve been replacing them as they go out with black appliances. So far the fridge is holding out…..but it no longer matches!

  23. says

    Yours is the ONLY tutorial I’ve found where the Magnetic Primer wasn’t considered a “must”. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I have been wanting to do this for a while, but couldn’t justify the cost of the magnetic primer along with the chalkboard paint & rollers. I knew that they make appliance paint for fridge’s and couldn’t figure out why the magnetic primer was such a necessity if you don’t have to use it with the appliance paint. Then I found your tutorial, tested my own little patch and VOILA, it worked! I am only painting the front doors, leaving my handles, icemaker, and sides the “eggshell” color they originally are. (can always go back and do the sides later.) So within 2 hours, I had the whole fridge scrubbed, taped off, and first coat painted! Not bad. Thanks again!

    • Erin Lauray says

      YAY! I am SO happy that you went through with it! And yes, I don’t know why it would need the magnetic primer, especially since where I live, it costs about $35!! YUCK! So glad you went ahead and tried it :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      I’m sure you could do it on any type of surface. Although, do you want a chalkboard fridge over stainless?? I would take stainless any day! :)

  24. Amber says

    All my appliances are white…will this look good with the rest of them white? I actually wanted to do one of my walls im chalkboard.

    • Erin Lauray says

      We left the handles white and it looks great. Although, our other appliances are black and stainless. So it doesn’t clash at all. I would start with the wall maybe? Its really up to you!

  25. April says

    Was the fridge textured? How does that work out with writing on it? I have a black fridge that due to some extenuating circumstances was dented. I’m kind of thinking this might camoflague the damage and add some fun functionality as well.

    • Erin Lauray says

      It has a little texture to it, but I can write on it just fine! I think that it would work great with your fridge! :)

  26. Cess says

    Hey did you know that real coke..not diet makes it black again, wipe it clean, then wipe it with coke. Its a hospo trick.

  27. Laura says

    I’m doing mine last night/this morning. This is SUCH a great idea. I have a pretty old and beat up fridge that we can’t replace any time soon and it’s literally like we’re getting a new one. I can’t wait to finish the rest of my kitchen now.

  28. Jules Fallon says

    i have taken many chances like that. and they have almost always paid off, though not always they way i think they will, lol.
    i actually had a fridge that took a dive down a staircase when we moved, it worked fine but was at least a bit scratch and dented. so i marbleized it. it hid both the dents and scratches and was the coolest fridge in the neighbor hood!
    (my motto: if i dont know i CANT do something, then i dont KNOW i cant do it and usually find a way to do it)

  29. Aimee says

    Such a great idea! I did the same to my fridge after reading Ashley from thehandmadehome.net. (I’m assuming you did the same, just because I recognize those flowers from your fridge.) My husband was completely against it, but loves it now. A win for me!

  30. Dana says

    So, we bought a house, and it was a foreclosure . Stove is black, fridge and dishwasher are white. Just got the go-ahead to paint fridge and dishwasher (and I just saw this on Pinterest 5 minutes ago)! I’ll send photos when complete… Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      Yay!!! Please come back and let me know when you’re done!! I’d love to seeee!!!

    • Erin Lauray says

      I’m not sure! Since I would assume its not the same texture as a fridge, I don’t know how the paint would act. So sorry I don’t have more answers!

  31. Candace says

    Glad someone asked how to touch up the paint because I have a boy who is ALL boy. The fridge is right along his dump truck racing track! I’m wondering how it all looks months later…does the chalk leave behind a white residue? Or can you get it back to a clean look? This might be my Christmas break project. We just remodeled the kitchen but don’t want to dump money into appliances when they work just fine. Thanks for sharing!

    • Erin Lauray says

      I have scratched mine already several times! All I do is use a sponge brush and dab more paint on! It works like a charm! As far as the chalk residue, it doesn’t leave it super white, but it does have an overall white dust look. I acutally like it…reminds me of how a regular school chalkboard looks! :)

  32. Juan Samuel Ignacio says

    Hi… It looks awesome!!! I love it :o) I only want to know, since you didn’t primed it, did you buffed it first or just applied the paint directly? Mine is “stainless steel” (obviously it stained LOL) but I want to change it. Do you think it will work? Thanks :o)

    • Erin Lauray says

      I actually just went for it without priming or doing anything to the surface. Well, I cleaned it, but that’s all! :) I am not sure about stainless steel, maybe try an area that isn’t visible (like that is hidden by a cabinet) and see if it works?

  33. Bobbi says

    Did you change the seal? I want to do this but I am wondering if a white seal will stick out like crazy!

    • Erin Lauray says

      I actually didn’t, but we did it on purpose. We left the seal and handles white and like how it looks. I’m guessing you could maybe use spray paint? Good luck!

  34. KellyAnn says

    I love your project Erin! Thanks for sharing. I would love to do this when I get a house.

  35. Marcia says

    I too have an ugly Fridge and I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing. My son who is a little artist will love this!!!!!!

  36. KMack says

    I love this! Thanks for posting this! BTW I saw this on Pinterest and it lead me to your blog.

  37. Alex says

    Did you use any primer at all? We have a wall in the kitchen that is already chalkboard painted for the kids. Our fridge doesn’t match the rest of our appliances that are black so now you’ve got me thinking ……..

  38. says

    Hey there! Just wanted to let you know we featured you in our Favorite Find Fridays post over at Whimsically Homemade. We’re using one of your pictures and are linking back to you. If that’s a problem let us know and we’ll remove it immediately. Thanks for your great inspiration!

    • Erin Lauray says

      That’s so awesome! Its NO problem at all! Thank you for featuring me!! :)

  39. says

    This is fantastic! I found your post through Pinterest. Every week I put together a list of things I find that inspire me, and I’m going to link to this post as one of them. That is so seriously cool.

  40. Mandy says

    This looks so great! I was wondering though if any has worn or been scratched off by the kiddos or if it has stayed on despite the family wear and tear?

    • Erin Lauray says

      That is the ONE thing I don’t like. My sister and daughter have already scratched it. Now, if your fridge is black and you paint it with chalkboard paint, I think it would be fine. You wouldn’t be able to see the scratch! But with my fridge, since its white, it shows! The good thing is that you can touch up the scratches with the chalkboard paint and a little sponge. You can’t even tell. But if the kiddos were too rough, I could see it being a problem. I’m wanting to research if there is a way to seal it? Not sure! ;)

  41. Tabby says

    AWESOME!!! You think that would work on a black refrigerator? That would be awesome for my kids. They could draw on the frige and not get in trouble for it. LOL 

    • Erin Lauray says

      I totally think it would go on a black fridge! I saw another tutorial where the woman’s fridge was black. You’d probably have an easier time than I did having to touch up all the little spots where the white shows through! My daughter LOVES it too!!

  42. says

    I saw your fridge on pinterest and less than an hour later i’ve got my fridge primed. our local hardware store didn’t have the chalkboard paint so i ordered some in. I got some primer that sticks to slick surfaces. i’m excited and my husband actually went for it! i primed the fridge plugged in without any problems. i might paint the handles a bronze later. that would match the hardware in my kitchen. thanks for the awesome idea of chalkboard painting your fridge!

    • Erin Lauray says

      YAY ANNIE! :) You are so welcome! If you take pictures, you should email them to me! I’d love to see your finished product! :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      I believe so! I saw another woman do it in her kitchen and I’m sure she didn’t unplug hers :) I just did mine in the garage because my daughter would have had a fingerpainting hayday! haha :)

  43. Erin says

    So very cool but what does it feel like? I’ve never chalkboard painted anything before but hate the feeling of a normal chalkboard -ick! Does it have that feeling?

    • Erin Lauray says

      Oh I hate that feeling too! It does have a little bit of grit to it, but it actually is softer than a chalkboard. I have yet to scratch it and want to rip my teeth out! lol ;)

  44. Amanda says

    How did you handle the inside panels of fridge?
    Leave it white? Mind sending a pic if you painted at all inside. 

    • Erin Lauray says

      I actually left it white. It gave the fridge a really cool look :) All I did was paint the right and left sides of the fridge, the top, the right and left sides of each door and well as their fronts and tops…but I didn’t paint the backs of the doors or go near the seal at all. Hope that makes sense!

  45. Kati says

    I currently have chalkboard paint being shipped to me, and was SO happy to hear that you didn’t to the magnetic primer!! I was going back and forth, back and forth as to whether or not I should, but like you felt it was so stinkin’ expensive…..plus I had read it was a real pain to work with. I also love that you have the same fridge as I do!! :) Looks great, now I can’t wait to paint mine!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Yay!! I hope you come back and share the link if you decide to blog about it! I’d LOVE to see it! :) Yay!

  46. Megan says

    So, I showed this to my hubby and he is concerned about painting the fridge because if the ‘slickness’ of the fridge. Did you find that that mattered at all with the paint ‘sticking’? I REALLY want to do this. I have also seen they make chalkboard paint in different colors ! I am thinking going eXTRA bold!

    • Erin Lauray says

      Not at all! The only thing was that I had to roll slower than you would paint, say, a wall because the slickness of the fridge wouldn’t give enough friction for the roller to turn. But if I went slower and took my time [which turned out to help in more ways than just that], it was fine. And I HIGHLY suggest rolling on one layer at a time going up and down in evenly spaced strokes and waiting for that layer to be completely dry to the touch. If you zig zag or paint sloppily, you will be able to see it in the texture of the paint when it dries. And I would also suggest that even if you feel that you’ve put on enough layers, put on one or two more just for good coloring ;)

      I also found this link on Pinterest on how to make your own colored chalkboard paint: http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2012/02/how-to-mix-chalkboard-paint-in-any-color.html

      Just thought I’d share! :)

  47. Bethany says

    I love how it turned out! I’ve never thought of chalkboard-painting an entire fridge. Way to take matters into your own hands and work with what you’ve got :)

    • says

      Thank you! I almost just painted the doors with the chalkboard paint and painted the rest black, but I thought, go big or go home! lol ;) Had to just do it all ;)

      • Charissa says

        How is clean up? Does chalk board paint wipe down well or is my fridge gonna look dusty if I use the chalkboard?

        • Erin Lauray says

          It looks like a chalkboard, so it may look chalkboard dusty…but not dirty! Hope that helps!

  48. says

    EEEE! That looks so great. And what an improvement! We have a paneled fridge – looks like cabinet doors on the front and is inset into our cabinets – and I have wanted to paint one of the panels but I’m skirrd because it’s brand new and I don’t want to mess it up, you know? Way to be brave, mama. It totally paid off.

    • Erin Lauray says

      Thank you!! :) I know what you mean about being scared…I totally would be scared if my fridge was new. I’ve seen DIYs on how to make your own colored chalkboard paint, which could be another option if you’re worried you won’t like the black! :)

    • Erin Lauray says

      It was!! And had me a little scared at first, but I am in LOVE with it now!! :)

        • Erin Lauray says

          Oooh! That might work! Although, I don’t know how many cans it would take to cover an entire fridge! Let me know if that works for you!

          • Amanda says

            FYI: The spray can paint is AWFUL. It blows everywhere, doesn’t give an even coat and drips. Rolling on the paint is MUCH better (I learned with painted and scrapbook-papered file cabinets).

      • teresa says

        ok been wanting to do this to mY fridge and the husbands away for a few days lol so iam doing it tomorrow–wish me luck—my fridge has little rust spots on it–the way it
        was when we bought house–just gonna sand em alittle-what u think

      • says

        Hi. I just saw your pin for the chalkboard fridge and I am planning on doing this soon. How much paint did you use? I found the paint at the hardware store and it is only a small can. Did one small can work or did you buy a larger size or buy multiple small cans? Thank you.


  1. […] that if my child is bored, I can search Pinterest for craft ideas. I think it is awesome that my DIY chalkboard painting your fridge post has racked up over 23,000 views and has grown my blog traffic by about 3 times my original traffic […]

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