faq’s : painting your fridge with chalkboard paint

It was almost a year ago {It’s hard to believe that a year has almost passed} that we took the plunge and changed our kitchen over from dark and cookie cutter, to that fun and bright farmhouse feel.


kitchenAnd in the process, I got all crazy and stuff, and decided to paint our fridge with chalkboard paint. We had stainless appliances already in the kitchen, except for our older black fridge that just moved in with us {It was still humming along rather nicely, and we had no desire to drop a couple of thousand dollars on a stainless fridge.} But the plain black was sticking out like a sore thumb. Being completely honest, I didn’t really want stainless. So I decided to take the plunge and do something different. Since then, I’ve received so many questions about this one project, that I thought I’d address a few of them here.

How does it look now? Have you had any chipping of the paint?

Our fridge hasn’t chipped once. It’s held up great, and we’re so happy we changed it over. I think the key to that was the primer.

I have had a mishap with white chairs scraping against it so the paint transfers to the fridge, and one mysterious blue crayon scribble that appeared on its surface. But such is the life with small children, and we’ll probably give it a new layer of paint soon.

My fridge has texture to it, so my husband says we can’t do it. It looks like yours has texture. Does that affect the look? 

Let me just start with the fact that this (the above photo) is reality. As much as I would like for my home to look ‘perfect,’ my home screams children. And honestly, that makes it what it is. We want to have fun in our home. It’s never going to look perfect, and that’s okay. That’s not what I signed up for ;}

Any painted chalkboard will have texture. Whether with a roller, a brush, or even spray paint…even on a flat surface like wood, it will still have some sort of underlying look to it, unless it’s a professionally made chalkboard purchased from a store. And even then, once it’s used, it will still have that “look” to it. All chalkboards leave a residue behind with chalk. So, yes, our fridge does have texture, but the paint does a great job of filling that in, and it doesn’t really do much to inhibit our art.

I took this photo of our fridge up close so you can see what it really looks like. On the lower left, you can see where there were white marks left behind by a kitchen chair {my little ones like to push their chairs up to our island and help us cook} and I tried to touch it up. On the bottom right, just above the water mark, you can see the same white marks. This is the reason I will give it a completely new coat in a few months.

I’m okay with imperfection. A chalkboard fridge will not look like a black fridge with drawings on it. It will look like a true chalkboard. So if you were the kid who sat in class who was highly annoyed by the last little mark your teacher missed when she erased the board, this may not be for you. {I’m talking to myself…I was totally that kid.}


How does it clean up? Any grease and water stains?

It cleans up quite nicely with wet paper towels, clorox wipes and wet sponges. But the best results I’ve gotten, is with sponges. There are no grease or water stains on our fridge. The stove top is too far away to splash on it, though. I almost feel like the beauty of this, is that you simply roll on another coat when you tire of the blemishes. And if you condition it with chalk, I would think the chalk may prevent it from harming the fridge…just a hypothesis…but isn’t chalk used to absorb grease stains? It’s probably not a problem. I’d think that it would just wipe right off.

Would you paint a stainless fridge?

I’ve never done it before. So I can’t say I would recommend it. Unless you just don’t care about what it looks like, it’s old and you simply feel like taking the dive…I’m not sure I would try and paint stainless. But if you do, and you can, more power to ya!

My fridge is white, but I want to take the same approach. It has white parts around it, with white pieces around the door, and white ice maker and water dispensers. Should I paint those, too?

If I had a white fridge, I would go with another chalkboard color. Light grey, and that classic schoolhouse green are great options. They would blend nicely with those white parts. Did you know that you can basically mix any paint color as a chalkboard paint? Simply ask your local handy dandy DIY store helper, and check out this article, here. 

So are we glad we did it? Absolutely. It was a lot like our kitchen…as soon as we changed it over, we couldn’t believe it took us so long in the first place. If you want to try this project, I highly recommend it. Don’t expect perfection, but enjoy your new project for what it is!

How about you? Have you tried it? Would you? What’s a project you’ve been meaning to tackle, or plan to tackle soon with chalkboard paint?

Hope you have an inspired day!

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Responses to faq’s : painting your fridge with chalkboard paint

  1. Catherine says:

    Your fridge looks great- especially with the kids’ writing on it. I painted the inside of my pantry door with chalk paint and I love it. Both the look of it and the practicality!

  2. This is so cool! I love the look of it.

  3. I’ve been in love with your chalkboard fridge since you first posted about it! We rent, so I can’t attempt it myself right now, but I really hope to down the road. This is a wonderfully helpful post, thanks so much for taking the time to write this all down! I did my first chalkboard paint project this past summer with a huge $1 Habitat for Humanity thrift store cabinet door. I turned it on its side and it now serves as our menu board! I love it :). Thanks again, Ashley. Yet another post that makes me love your blog!

  4. Angie Jerde says:

    What brands would you recommend for other colors, rather than the black? I have a cream fridge that I would love to do this too. Cream cabinets, black and stainless stove. My hubby says not in the budget to get the new fridge yet. : )

    • Hey Angie!

      I think that might be a question for a paint expert. This is one of those things I haven’t experimented much with yet. I would probably ask your guy at your local paint store. If you look at the article linked above, though, you can make your own chalkboard paint with a little grout and some mixing. I hope that helps!

  5. Kelly says:

    I just painted my door to the garage in black chalkboard paint. I worried that I would not like the darkness in my generally light home, and indeed I always double check to make sure that I am not seeing the door open from the corner of my eye, but I love it! I can leave little reminders to my kids to make sure they have everything in their backpacks, and they can draw cool pics for me! I have to say though, that your fridge inspired me! Now I have still most of a qt of paint left…my husband is worried everything is going to be a chalkboard!

  6. I’ve had this on my project list since I saw yours. Still working on convincing my husband, but I love the idea!

  7. You have so much natural light coming into your kitchen! So fabulous!! And what a great transformation you made to the space!

  8. Debbie says:

    I love it! What a great thing to have as a kid! or adult!! If I didn’t have a new stainless, I’d do it! Have a great night!

  9. Rhonda says:

    Here’s my question… the same one that pops in my head whenever I see any wall or surface painted with chalkboard paint: What about the chalk dust???? I’m envisioning chalky powder all over everything in my house, my floors, etc. Is this a problem?

    I love your house! You’re style and willingness to take risks are so inspiring.
    Thanks for sharing all your goods with us.

    • Hey Rhonda! I mean, it is what it is. ;} It’s not like you remember in school. I clean after they play, so…I guess it just depends on how often you clean up afterwards? I’ll leave their artwork, but then I go back with swiffer wet jet or clorox wipes on the floor, so they don’t track it everywhere. I only have three children, so I keep it pretty well under control. If any friends are over and they want to play, I just make sure they wash their hands before they leave the room, and I wipe up the floors really quickly, where they’ve been. If there were ten kids having a ball, then I think we might have a problem. I think its just a keeping it under control issue. ;} Hope that helps!

      • let me also mention, for my own sanity’s sake, that I monitor their chalktime, as well. I don’t just leave chalk out for my two year old. I can’t do that. My six year old, is another story. ;}

      • Rhonda says:

        THANKS! I have an ocd hubby (who has allergies), so that’s my go-to worry when it comes to design. LOL! I love him more than anything, but my house would look very different if I were a single gal! But our different tastes actually makes for a nice home we both enjoy.

  10. Beth says:

    We followed your directions and did the same black chalkboard treatment to our white fridge. It looks great! We took the handles off, they were also white, taped off the metal parts and just spray painted them black as well. It has probably been 6 months and everything is wearing very well. Thank you for the inspiration. We also were inspired by your darling blue doors and painted ours a similar color, so happy we did that. I am so not afraid to paint anything anymore!

  11. Katie H. says:

    I just painted our hand-me-down bisque fridge, and it looks great! The directions on the paint said primer wasn’t necessary, so we didn’t mess with it. We put on 3 coats of the chalkboard paint, and the fridge is still wonderfully magnetic. Thanks for the idea!

  12. Barbara says:

    I’ve been planning to do this for a while and was wondering if 1 can (1qt) will do the job. How much paint did you use? Thanks!

  13. Tara says:

    What type of primer would you recommend? Is it different for different types of fridge materials? We have a stainless steel looking fridge but is not actually stainless. We get the look without the upkeep! :)

    • Hey Tara! I really have no idea what I would recommend for your fridge, other than the same magnetic primer. I would recommend testing it out on a spot where you can’t really see, if that’s possible, like underneath the door first. I wouldn’t want to recommend anything I haven’t tried, or know to be possible first hand. good luck!

  14. Sabrina says:

    Do you remember what kind of primer you used? Or how many coats of the primer or the chalkboard paint you used?

  15. Jodie says:

    I love this SO much! We have a cream colored fridge and are going to paint the traditional green chalkboard paint on it & I cannot wait! My Q is:
    Did you do this to the fridge while it was still plugged in and cold or did you unplug it and for how long? Thank you!

  16. Christina says:

    I was wondering…You should be able to do this with the dishwasher and trash compactor too, right? My appliances are all different colors and this may be a way to get them all the same color! I hate that they don’t match, but don’t have the cash to change everything just so it matches. So I was thinking chalkboard paint on the fridge and a high gloss paint on the trash compactor and dishwasher since those get dirtier and it might clean up easier?

  17. debbie says:

    i just finished painting out old white fridge and i love it!!
    i painted it with the black chalkboard paint and letting it dry right now. its taking ALL of my will power to not go draw on it right NOW!

    my advice to people wit h a white fridge is to go for it!! it wont be as stream lined but it works and covers up all the white so dont worry about having white show through. its super fun and tomorrow my kids can draw on it!!

    i DO have a question,,, why does it have to dry for so long!!??

  18. debbie says:

    i am also wondering where u got the letters… i want some of those!!

  19. john says:

    what primer do you use?

  20. Kristen says:

    Thank you for posting this project! I spent my weekend painting my old white fridge with magnetic primer and black chalkboard paint and love it! I did leave the handles white and various other accents white and still think the overall effect is great; and, as you said, perfection was not my goal. I just love the extra artistic medium in my kitchen!

  21. Mia says:

    How do you take off the paint if you dont want it anymore?

  22. Chi-Mae says:

    I’ve decided to take the plunge and I’m super excised. Howeve while taping off the frig a question came to mind no one has asked. Do I paint the part that the frigerator door hug up against when the frigerator door is closed. Hope I’ve explained clearly enough just didn’t wanna paint it then be stuck with afrig that won’t close now :o!

    • Um, that’s a hard call for me to make from here. I’m sorry about that! I painted around the corners and stuff, but not around the seams or rubbery parts… if that makes sense. I hope that helps. ;} Sorry. If in doubt, and your fridge is dark, no one will see it, so I say leave it. ;} #bettersafethansorry

  23. Mandy Allen says:

    Hello there :)
    I think your fridge looks fab:))))
    Just one question, if you paint in chalkboard paint, will it still be magnetic to hold all those kids pics/school newsletters/cuttings etc! I know you can buy a magnetic primer which is fairly expensive but would you need this?
    We have the tiniest kitchen in the world and it would be great for lists and a makeshift family planner!
    Thank you ***

  24. Tiye says:

    I’m planning to paint my white fridge using black chalkboard paint? Is a primer necessary? Also, which primer did you use? the fridge being magnetic is not a priority to me but would be nice (trying to keep the cost down.) Thanks

  25. Sue Herum says:

    Thanks for doing this posting. I have been wanting to do this to an old freezer so the grandkids can doodle when they are here but have not been sure how it would work on the textured front of the freezer. Now I am going to try this! Thank you