Framed Chalkboard Refrigerator Panels

I know what you’re thinking…

Oh wow – another chalkboard covered refrigerator.  Yawn…

But read on, this one is a little different I promise!

Our kitchen appliances are white.  It’s what we could afford when we bought the house and updating them now isn’t an option. (New windows took precedence over updating perfectly functioning appliances.  Darn rational husbands! ;))

Here’s the thing about our refrigerator – it is one of the first things that you (I) notice when you walk through the door.  It’s crazy.  Who wants their visitors to see a big white beast covered in hundreds of school papers and drawings as soon as they walk in the house?  (Drama, much? ha)

I am being overly dramatic, but my messy fridge has always been on my nerves.

So here is my solution…

Please pretend you are NOT seeing my painted cabinets.  They are not quite ready for their debut! :)

It makes me so happy.

It works for us for so many reasons:

I think the frame around the chalkboard makes it look polished and tidy.  It’s not magnetic, so I am not tempted to stick papers all over it.

It takes the glare off of the white beast.

It’s perfect for reminders and messages.

It adds some cottage flair!  ha.

It makes me so happy. (oh – I said that already!)

Originally, I wanted to add a beadboard panel to the door and paint it to match the cabinets.  But I worried that it might be too much blue.

 I’d seen other refrigerators painted with chalkboard paint, and while I like the idea, I didn’t want the permanence of paint.  (Also, the side of my refrigerator is visible, and I wasn’t sure about painting it.  And – the surface of the refrigerator isn’t smooth.  Maybe not the best surface for paint.)

I decided on framed chalkboard panels.  And here is the best part – I used magnets to hold them on.  Really, really strong magnets.

I thought I could buy the magnets for this project at Home Depot or Michael’s.  They actually worked to hold the freezer door panel in place.  But if you noticed, I took the original handle off of the refrigerator and added a black gate handle to the panel.  There weren’t enough Home Depot magnets in the world to hold the panel in place and open the freezer door.

A little google-ing later and I found an awesome magnet company K&J Magnetics, Inc.  I e-mailed customer service and Kevin Stayer got back to me immediately with recommendations for my project.  I had my order in a couple days, and they work perfectly!  They are super strong – like be careful they don’t smush your fingers strong.  We can open the refrigerator doors and the panels don’t even think about pulling off!

(Ok – I have to make an admission here.  Only because I had witnesses.  ha ha.  The freezer door opened flawlessly.  From the very first time.  We had a little glitch with the fridge door, though.  The first time I tried to pull the door open, the panel pulled right off.  Very sad.  We stuck it back on thinking it probably needed a couple more magnets.  But it hasn’t pulled off since that first time.  I think the magnets needed a minute or two to fully stick (we used a rubber cover over them to protect the fridge surface).  I am still going to order a couple more just to be safe, but I think it would be ok as is.)

One more picture!

It makes me so happy! ;)

What made you happy today???

Oh – in case you were wondering.  I have a new place for all of the 4C’s school papers and artwork.  These boards from Ikea.  Still in the kitchen.  Not in plain sight from the front door.

Much love!

Brenda

Linking Here…

Funky Junk Interiors

Twigg Studios – Sunday Show Off Linky Party

DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade

Elizabeth & Co. – Be Inspired

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesday’s Treasures

The Ironstone Nest – Transformation Tuesday

Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Restore Interiors – Restored It Wednesday

Beyond the Picket Fence – Under $100

House of Hepworths – Hookin Up with HoH

It’s Overflowing – Overflowing With Creativity

Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays

The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday

The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday

My Repurposed Life – Catch as Catch Can

2805 – Potpourri Friday

Jennifer Rizzo – Fabulously Creative Friday Linky Party

At The Picket Fence – Inspiration Friday

Redoux Interiors – Friday Redouxs

French Country Cottage –  Feathered Nest Friday

Shabby Art Boutique – Shabbilicious Friday Link Party

The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday

Stuff and Nonsense – Fridays Unfolded

Homespun Happenings – Rustic Restorations Weekends

Comments

  1. Very cool! I actually like white appliances. But this is a great way to get a new look!

    • Hey Manuela! I don’t mind white appliances either. Well, I didn’t mind them – until I painted. I don’t know if it’s because I’m updating and feel like I want to change everything, or if I just don’t care for them with the painted cabinets. hmmmmm… I’ll have to think about that!
      Take care!
      Brenda

    • Manuela, You did not show or explain how you did the frame around the chalkboard panels? How did you attach the frame? Also I did not see in the pictures of the handle you replaced on the fridge. You said you, used a rubber cover over the magnets? What kind of rubber covers and were do you buy them? If I wanted to order these magnets from K&J Magnetics, Inc. What would be the order # for them or the strength of them? I was thinking about maybe using stainless steal panels instead of the chalkboard. All though I really do like that ideal!

  2. You made me happy today! You have a beautiful home, a beautiful family and a beautiful talent and creative eye! miss you:) Happy new school year!

    • awwwwww – Jen, you are so sweet! Making me cry here, though! I miss you, and Chloe still considers Colin to be her boyfriend!! Hope to see you soon. Happy new school year to you too!!

  3. I wouldn’t dream of yawning. I can see happiness written all over this project. It’s a great idea and I didn’t know they made such magnets. Wow!
    Liz

    • Thanks Liz! I was surprised to find the magnets. I was sure that super strong magnets wouldn’t be available to regular people for regular projects. (I guess opposed to industrial uses!) It was a lucky find!
      Brenda

  4. what a great idea!!! did you ever find the perfect shade for your cabinets?

  5. That looks great! Like an expensive custom fridge. Thanks for the tip on the magnets~I hadn’t thought that there might be differences in magnet strength.

  6. Genius girl! It’s magnetized!! I thought at first when I saw your pics that you painted your fridge-gasp. But this I could do. I’m your newest follower. :)

  7. Yes my “yawn” chalkboard painted laundry door is a big Bore to this! Wow! It looks fantastic! Excellent and beautiful job!! Found you on the link party!

    LBDH

  8. Brilliant! Stunning! I’m so tempted to copy you. I’ve seen other chalkboard fridges too, but the framing really does it for me on this one. Pinned it to my new joint pinboard that we’re trying to make full of amazing finds. This is an amazing find! :)

    http://pinterest.com/melissariker/blogger-faves/

  9. Love it,,I had a framed chalkboard on my fridge before and I used the 3m velcro strips to hold it,, it never budged. But I like the look of yours better,, it looks like part of the fridge.

  10. what a crazy, amazing, awesome idea!!!!

  11. What a great idea! I love that you can easily take them off if you want in the future and the fridge isn’t damaged. Your little cottage is just precious. What a happy place to live. :)

    Hugs, Angie

    • Angie – thanks for your sweet comments! My husband usually encourages me to make things undo-able, if possible. On this project, I agreed with his philosophy!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Brenda

  12. Lindy@Itsy Bitsy Paper says:

    This is awesome!! I love this idea.

    http://www.itsybitsypaperblog.com

  13. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    Very clever! I love the result. And I understand and agree about the cluttered frig aversion.

  14. cute idea! Thank you for sharing your project at Potpourri Friday!

  15. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    You came up with a really cute and creative solution!

  16. Linda@Coastal Charm says:

    This is such a neat THRIFTY idea…LOVE IT!!! I will be sharing it today at my party:) Please feel free to grab my featured button for your blog and thanks for coming to my party.

    Blessings,
    Linda

  17. Hi Brenda! I just found you via Coastal Charm! Love this… great job! Jo :)

  18. Wow… I would never have thought of doing that. It looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing at Shabbilicious Friday.

  19. You amaze me and inspire me every day. Not just because of your talents on your home (ok, I am super-jealous of that!!) but because you are such an incredible mom and friend. LOVE YOU!!!

  20. Hi Brenda, I just found your blog and I’m so glad that I did! I’m from Southwestern PA…near Ligonier. I love what you’ve done with your refrigerator…looks great!

  21. You have such great ideas. Love the chalk board on the fridge. Although, that bus schedule is daunting!! 3 kids with 3 different schedules-I know the feeling……

    • Thanks so much Tricia! The schedule is definitely tricky this year. It’s going to be a busy year. I thought that I’d have more time for projects as they got older, but I am just in the car more now!
      Have a great week!
      Brenda

  22. love love love the idea as i have three kids and fridge always is thier best art museum (sometimes they want more space to show their OH NO TALENT)but i dont know about the supplies that i will find them here in UAE :( ahhhhhhh.but anyway i love the idea and love the new look of your fridge.good luck for your new coming projects too :)

  23. Okay, now you have me thinking of two possible ideas to cover my beast. Though, I have side by side doors so I’m not sure it would work … but the beadboard idea has me intrigued as well …

    Oh, and were the magnets expensive? And did you custom make the panels? And what did you use for the chalkboard surface?

    Thanks!

    :)

    Linda

    • Hey Linda! I love your blog – I’m thrilled that you noticed my little fridge project! I really should have included this info in my post – I’m still learning!

      The magnets weren’t cheap, but compared to the cost of a new refrigerator, it doesn’t seem so bad. I spent around $125 for the magnets and the rubber covers that protect the surface of the fridge. The most important thing about the magnets (other than how strong they are!) is that they are screwed into the panel. Adhesive would have given out over time.

      My husband made the panels. It’s plywood with pre-made trim cut to fit as a frame. I just primed and then used chalkboard paint on the plywood. I will double-check the thickness of the plywood and get back to you. Obviously we wanted them to be a light-weight as possible.

      Thanks for your questions! Let me know if you have any more!
      Brenda

    • Very true! Makes a change to see soemnoe spell it out like that. :)

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  24. Hi, I love your fridge! I also love your newest post with the gorgeous cabinet color! I am wondering what size your magnets were and also, did you use a poly or something to finish off the cabinets? I painted mine, white, and they just look SO dull still…. Any suggestions? Trust me, if my husband were open to it, I would have painted them all black! :-)

    • Hi Stephanie. Thanks so much! This is the response from Kevin at K&J, and what I ulitmately ordered – “A good option for this would be to use our MM-B-36 assemblies with the corresponding MM-RC-36 rubber covers. The MM-B-36’s can be easily screwed to the back of the board and then covered with the rubber covers.” So I don’t really have a size to tell you, but that is the specific magnet type. He recommended 2 near each handle and 1 at each corner. We put 2 extra on the big door though.
      I didn’t use poly on the cabinets. I mentioned it to my husband, but he kind of discouraged it because he knows how I like to change things frequently and thought it might make it more difficult to paint on the next go-around. (Although that’s what primer is for!) What type of paint finish did you use? I used a satin finish. I didn’t want a shiney-looking semi-gloss, .just a bit of a sheen. I am happy with the finish – although the semigloss would have been easier to clean.
      btw – I love black cabinets. I’ve seen some beautiful kitchens with black cabinetry!
      thanks for your comment! If you have any more questions, let me know.
      Brenda

  25. Love that! Great idea.

  26. Hi.
    I am stopping by from Meridian Road.
    I Love Love your Kitchen. The color is so dang cute.
    I want to see more of your house…. hope you update your house tour button soon. Can’t wait.
    Emily

    • Thank you! I just visited your blog – how beautiful! I have had a house tour on my to-do list for months. It’s so hard to get it all done! How do you do it??? Not only that, I only have a couple of rooms that are tour-worthy! lol.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Brenda

  27. I have the same type white fridge and desperately want this as I have been trying to find a way to dress mine up! I am not a handy girl though and am a single mom with no handy man unfortunately. Do you think they would cut the plywood/trim for me at Home Depot or Lowes? You should start selling these as you would make a fortune! Also, how did you get the gate to stick? LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

  28. Thank you for this wonderful idea! I was online shopping around for framed magnetic backed chalkboards when I came across your quaint little site! I never thought about making it a do it yourself project! Again, thanks! I can’t wait to get started :)

  29. Oh my gosh, amazing! I’ll be doing this in my little rental as soon as possible! Thank you for citing your resources, too — it will make the project super easy!

  30. Looking to do this, framed and all, and happened upon your blog. Gee, there’s nothing like Googling to realize that none of my original wonderful ideas are truly unique. Despite the ego buster,though, thanks to you, I think I just knocked a few days of research and a couple of bad ideas off my list!

    One question: Did your framed chalkboards come with wood backing? Custom sized chalkboards? If online, would you mind sharing the company name?

    BTW, I’m a white or other colored appliance lover. We could have chosen SS but I chose white for our kitchen. SS is so cold and now so common. I love people who march to their own drumbeat.
    Thanks so much!
    Lisa

  31. Sorry, another question: How are the magnets sticking to what appears to be a wood backing? Is there adhesive on one side? Thanks again,
    Lisa

  32. I know this was posted a long time ago but I have a few questions…is your fridge rounded on the front panel? I would love to do this but my fridge is not flat all the way across. Thanks!!! :)

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  35. This has such a refined look! I have been trying to think of how to do something like this, so thank you for posting! I have a pewter blue (cabinets) and yellow (walls) kitchen with black and white accents….I think something like this would be just the solution! I saw though that your handles looked painted? I can’t tell how you made that work. Did you have to cut out a very precise spot for the handle? How does this look from the side, as fridges are usually rounded and getting this to be flush seems harder than it looks. Thanks!!

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  37. It’s hard to come by educated people about this topic, but you sound like
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  38. Hello there! This is simply gorgeous. Planning to copy this weekend. One question…where did you find the beautiful handles? How did you screw them in? Are they screwed through the chalkboards??

    • Thanks, Leah!
      Yes, the handles are screwed in through the chalkboard. They’re from Home Depot (or Lowe’s?) and I found them in the section where they sell gate supplies, etc. Good luck!
      Brenda

  39. Hello!
    I love this idea! I love your cabinet color as well!
    Two questions… can you tell us what the thickness of the plywood is? And what type of wood is the premade trim? I want to try this and make it as light as possible!
    Thank you!

  40. Naomi Dorazio says:

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  41. This is truly brilliant. A perfect solution for those renting their house. Thank you!!!!!

  42. Thanks for submit

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