Saturday, September 06, 2008

Chalkboard Fridge

Okay, so as my sister mentioned on her blog, I painted my fridge with chalkboard paint so that I could write my To Do list in a very visible place. So, I'm here posting pictures of the process, writing about how I did it, my afterthoughts on the whole thing, and how it's been working for me. Hmm...maybe I should save this post for "Works For Me Wednesday." I go.

I got to thinking one night that I wanted to paint a big chalkboard somewhere, so I could make my To Do list big and visible. That way I would always have a constant reminder of what needed to happen next. I thought about several places (the front of a cabinet door, the side of the pantry, a section of wall in the dining room). I finally settled on the fridge. We have a friend whose old fridge was a chalkboard, and I always thought I might like that. It had a big enough space for lots of items, it was highly visible, and it also had enough room for the kids to be able to use it too.

I Googled around the internet, trying to find specific instructions for chalkboard painting a refrigerator. 'Cause I'm ALL ABOUT specific instructions. But I couldn't find any. So I took my best guess on how to proceed.

I bought a can of chalkboard paint at WalMart. It cost around $10, I think. If you can't find it at your WalMart, try looking by the spray paints. That's where I finally found mine.

I debated on how to apply the paint. I figured a brush would leave stroke marks, and a roller might splatter. I finally settled on a 4-inch sponge brush. The guys at my local hardware store said it should work, since the fridge was smooth and wouldn't tear up the brush.

I tried to decide whether to apply an appliance primer first. Somewhere I had read that someone "just slapped on two coats of chalkboard paint and they were good to go." So, I didn't prime first. Hindsight being 20/20, this is the only thing I would change about this project. Even though Jason sanded the fridge surface first, it was still really slick. Some of the paint will scratch off if you scrape your nail or a piece of chalk wrong.

I removed the handles from both doors. I washed down the front of the fridge to get off all the gunk. After Jason sanded it, I washed it down again, just to get any dust off.To protect the floor from paint splatter, I taped down a strip of paper from our big roll. You could just lay down newspaper. The first night I applied a coat of the paint. There were some spots where you could still see some white, but I knew I was doing another coat the next night, so I wasn't concerned. Watch for sections where you get the paint on thick. It will run and leave drip spots as it dries. The second night I did another coat. *I was doing everything at night after the kids went to bed. You actually only need to wait for six hours between coats.* I decided to do a third coat, hoping it would help the slick issue. So the third night I did one more coat. You have to wait a full 24 hours after you apply the last coat before you can use your new chalkboard. So the next night I was ready to break it in. You do that by rubbing the side of a piece of "school grade" chalk across the entire surface and then wiping it off with a felt eraser. You can see in the picture below the difference in the two doors.
And here is my finished door, with my To Do list ready to go. Jason likes to stand in front of the door and ask me if I've done things on my list, just so he can cross them off. Of course, I tell him to get lost. Only I get to cross things off my list!

I am really enjoying my new chalkboard. I love having my list so handy. And it's great to have my hubby see all the things I have crossed off at the end of the day. And the kids like their chalkboard too. Sierra drew a city map all over the bottom door, complete with roads and buildings. And Tyner made his magnetic dinosaurs loom over the buildings, as if ready to stomp them to bits.

Well, I hope this answers any questions you might have on chalkboarding a fridge. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Erna/Erin said...

That is pretty darn cool!

Heather said...

That is awesome. I so want something like like. I love having my list right in front of me.