Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to Customize an Old Refrigerator

When we built our summer cottage six years ago a friend gave us this refrigerator for our basement. You can click here to see how I reversed the opening of the door. While my first preference was a stainless refrigerator, I couldn’t see spending money when we had a working refrigerator so I have been pining over how to update it. I finally decided to add wood panels to help it blend in with the cabinetry.

finished panels on refrigerator

I purchased two sheets of 1/4” plywood and used some scraps to cut the panels and trim.

Kreg Rip Cut

I used a carpenter’s square to mark the cutting lines for my panels after I had carefully measured each side. I also cut strips of wood to cover the outside edges of the doors so I cut the front panels big enough to include covering the sides of the doors. To make that clear, I added 1/2” to the width of the panel for the front of the door to cover the 1/4” panels on the sides of the door and I added 1/4” to the height of the door panel to cover the panel at the top edge. I didn’t cut a panel for the bottom of the door since it will never be seen. I used the Kreg Rip Cut tool for cutting the panels.

Using the Kreg Rip Cut 2

The Kreg Rip Cut is an attachment for a circular saw which helps make straight long cuts that would otherwise require a table saw. I can’t say enough about how much I loved using this tool!

using the Kreg Rip Cut

The photo above is just for demonstration purposes. The saw is not operating as I would NEVER operate a circular saw with one hand. Safe operation requires TWO hands on the saw at all times. Material should be clamped in place so that you can keep both hands on the saw at ALL times. (My brother lost his thumb holding material with one hand and making a quick cut with the other!)

another view of the Kreg Rip Cut

This photo is a better view of operation of the Rip Cut.

attaching trim strips to wood panels

After cutting the panels and trim strips, I used wood glue and clamps to attach the trim to the edges of the panels giving the look of Shaker cabinet panels. You can see in the photo above that the strip to the right is lighter in color than the other strips. It was cut from a different piece of wood. If you were staining this project you would not want to use this because it would look different on the finished project. Since I was painting the wood, it didn’t matter that it was a different color.

applying construction adhesive

After the trim was dry, I applied a generous amount of construction adhesive to the back of the panel.

panel ready to mount

This panel is ready to stick to the side of the refrigerator.

using clamps and straps to hold the panel in place

Because the panel is so tall, I used 4’ furniture clamps at the top and bottom and straps around the middle to hold the panel in place until the adhesive dried.

clamps and straps view 2

I repeated that process for all sides of the refrigerator.

ready to paint

ready to paint closer view

Now it is ready for the paint finish. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the panels on the sides of the doors that I was referring to earlier.

coat one- white paint

I started with my base coat of white paint.

glazing process

Then I added my glaze coat of stain. I always use Minwax dark walnut. I apply a quick coat then wipe it off.

hardware attached

I didn’t want to use the same old handles so I had to look high and low to find something that I could use. I found these old pulls at Round Top for $5 each. The challenge was finding pulls that were screwed on from the outside. These fit the bill and worked very nicely. Now, let’s take a look at the before and after.

refrigerator beforefinished panels on refrigerator

I like the after much better even though the photos don’t do it justice. If I open the curtains in that room while taking photos the sunlight and glare is overwhelming and if I leave them closed everything looks dark and gloomy. I would rather work on projects than learn how to take good photos!

I hope you have had a great January! I can’t believe it’s almost over!

I’ll be linking to Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace At Home at Imparting Grace.

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