I’ve been eager to wallpaper my refrigerator ever since I spied this pic in Domino magazine several years ago:
So when I found that the outside of the fridge that came with our new house was rusty and unattractive (the inside works just fine), I was actually excited, since it meant I could use it as my guinea pig and not feel bad if things went South.
Originally I planned to use contact paper, but I couldn’t find any contact paper or wallpaper that was wide enough to cover the sides. That’s when I discovered that grass cloth is one of the few types of wallpaper that comes in wider widths. I have a long love affair with grass cloth that I inherited from my mother, so this discovery actually felt like kismet. As it turned out, my mother actually had an entire roll of grass cloth that she had decided not to use, and, lo and behold, it was the PERFECT color!
My mother is the “Queen of Wallpapering” (much to her dismay); so I enlisted her help for this project. Here are the steps we took to wallpaper the refrigerator:
Shallow dish to pour paste into
Smoothing tool or spatula
Heavy duty magnets
Sponge (not pictured)
Super Glue (not pictured)
Liquid Nails (not pictured)
1. Measure all surfaces of refrigerator and ensure that you have enough paper to cover all areas. (We decided to use one long piece to cover the sides and top, then cut separate pieces to wrap around the freezer and lower doors.)
2. Clean surfaces thoroughly.
3. Remove door handles (save the screws) and hinge cover (this should just pop off with a little flat head screwdriver prying).
4. Cut paper to size (we left a little extra lengthwise on the long piece so that we could cut it later).
5. Spread wallpaper paste on one side of refrigerator, then adhere paper to the side being careful to line up the sides appropriately.
6. Use the spatula or smoothing tool to scrape from the center to each side to remove any air bubbles. Use your sponge to clean up any extra paste that squeezes out.
7. Fold sides so that the paper covers inside lip of “box” but does not go under the seal.
8. Repeat this step for the top and the other side of the refrigerator, being careful to cut around any hardware that is unremovable.
9. Trim any extra paper.
10. For the doors, we put the paste on the wallpaper itself since the pieces were smaller and easier to work with. Let the paste sit for a few minutes to get a little tacky (about 10-15 minutes).
11. Place the paper on the door and fold the edges to “wrap it”. Cut around any hardware and use your scissors to cut a little hole where your screws for the door handles go.
12. Use the spatula to remove air bubbles and excess paste. Clean with your sponge.
13. I decided to paint my door handles and hinge cover so that they would blend better with my paper color. I chose Rustoleum “Forged Hammered” Paint & Primer in One in “Burnished Amber”.
14. Since we were using such thick and heavy paper, we had difficulty getting the sides where the paper was “wrapping the box” to stick, so we purchased some Liquid Nails and went back and glued down the edges.
15. You can use magnets to help keep pieces in place while they dry.
16. Unfortunately, since the grasscloth we used was so thick, there were still a few edges that didn’t want to stay stuck; so we went back with super glue and addressed those last bits.
17. On my fridge, there was a small bit of exposed metal at the hinge between the two doors. I wanted it to blend in, so I taped off all of the area surrounding it and cut a hole in a piece of thin plastic that I then taped over the area. I used the same Rustoleum spray to spray the area in quick short bursts. (Be sure to have a rag ready since the spray paint will start to run down the plastic.)
18. After the handles and hinge cover have dried, re-attach. (Once my fridge was completely covered, I decided I actually preferred the “non handle” look and decided to leave them off permanently.)
19. VOILA! A fresh, new, and interesting refrigerator that looks custom!