What to do if your refrigerator is ugly

Do you have a butt-ugly fridge that’s ruining all your efforts to make your kitchen look nice?

It can be so frustrating to have to design around an ugly appliance because you can’t afford to replace it yet. Maybe you’re struggling to ignore the color while planning the color scheme you want.

But what if it’s something you can fix yourself? The first step is to diagnose the problem.

What’s making your fridge look like someone beat it with an ugly stick?

Common causes of refrigerator ugliness

It’s a putrid color.

Did you inherit an avocado green fridge from your house’s prior owners? If the color is the problem, the only thing you can do about that is replace your fridge. Or cover it with novelty bumper stickers. It’s not like you can paint a fridge, right?

Actually, you can. Here’s how to paint your fridge.

It has dents or scratches.

Good news. Depending on the material your fridge is made of, you might be able to fix the dents yourself.

If it has bad scratches where something gouged through the finish, you might be able to fill in the scratches with epoxy.

Your dog colored on it with crayons.

At least, that’s what your child says. But you know your dog’s favorite color is not cornflower blue.

You already have everything you need at home to remove crayon marks, so let the cleaning power of vinegar do the work for you.

There’s an unsightly gap around your fridge.

Maybe you never even considered the gap because you’re so used to seeing one. Maybe it just seems so normal you’ve never considered the gap before.

But now that you’re thinking about it, try to imagine if the gap weren’t so big. Or, even better, there was a way to cover it and make your kitchen look that much more finished.

Double-door refrigerator with trim

Whoa! That looks professional — almost like an engineer came along and thought there must be something he could do about the gap around his fridge.

What if you could have something that looked like that? But you’d have to hire a contractor and none of them are looking for a job that small, right?

Your job would constantly be reshuffled to the bottom and it would never get done.

Refrigerator Trim Kits makes the trim. You install it

It’s easy — all you have to do is a little measuring. So grab your tape measure and a pad of paper. It’s time to answer a few questions.

The Refrigerator Trim Kits quiz

Answering these questions will tell you if Refrigerator Trim Kits has a solution for you.

  1. Is your fridge one of these colors?
    1. “Bright” stainless steel
    2. Black stainless steel
  2. Does it have one or two doors?
  3. What’s your project type?
    1. Remodel
    2. New construction
    3. Existing cabinet and fridge
    4. Replace existing built-ins
  4. Now measure the gaps on the top and both sides and write this down for later.

Based on your answers, Refrigerator Trim Kits might be able to help. Take our online quiz with the answers you just wrote down to find out.

How it works

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVBr5vDzCE8

We make an array of products you can mix and match to meet your needs.

Maybe the gaps on the sides are narrow and you only need trim for the top. You can order just the top trim. Got a wide fridge with double doors? No problem.

If your quiz results hook you up with a trim kit we make, you’ve already done the hard part. The rest is easy. Just order the kit.

It’ll take a week or two to complete your order, depending on the complexity of your project and our production capacity.

We deliver by USPS and UPS, and shipment usually takes 2-4 days.

Installation is simple. You need about 15 minutes and some basic tools. Your kit will come with detailed instructions explaining every step.

So what are you waiting for? Your kitchen will look so much more finished than you ever thought it could, and your guests will be so impressed that you did it yourself.

Take a look at our trim kits and see how we can help you with that today.

Paint and primer: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Oh, jeez, here we go again. The difference between primer and paint.

There’s so much misinformation circulating, it’s hard to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. Some say priming isn’t necessary. Some say there’s no difference, that primer is a kind of paint. (WRONG!) Some say you can use old paint as a primer. (Also WRONG!)

There absolutely is a difference between primer and paint. The ancient Egyptians knew it, the Italian Renaissance painters knew it, and now you’ll know it.

Paint and primer have different ingredients

Paint and primer were made for two different purposes. Of course they would contain different ingredients. You wouldn’t use silly putty in a Play-Doh Barber Shop, would you?

Silly Putty is far less pliable and would clog up the holes in your Barber Shop. Play-Doh is designed to be soft enough to push through those holes so you can cut it with plastic scissors into the worst mullet you can imagine.

Primer and paint are like silly putty and Play-Doh. They have different physical properties because they’re designed to accomplish different tasks.

What primer and paint are made of

There are a few differences in formulation, but some ingredients are the same.

Primer contains:

  • Resin. The “binder” that binds pigment particles to the dried film. In latex paint, the binder is usually vinyl acrylic, polyvinyl acrylic, or styrene acrylic. For our purposes, a binder is just a material that the pigment particles can “hang out” in until they get close together enough to crosslink.
  • Limestone. It’s not just an extender — it’s really a color-neutral way to add body and texture to the primer.
  • Titanium dioxide. An opaque, lightfast, and bright white pigment.
  • Additives. To handle things like frothing, clumping, and separating.
  • Vehicle. The fluid part of paint — solvent combined with resin. In latex paint, this would be water and vinyl acrylic.

Paint contains:

  • Pigment. The ingredient that gives paint its color. Pigments are mined or manufactured, processed, and ground to extremely fine particles before being added to paint.
  • May or may not contain titanium dioxide. TiO2 is a white pigment and an opacifier, meaning it’s very opaque and mixes with other pigments in a way that increases their opacity.
  • Vehicle

Paints don’t contain limestone. They don’t need to because they aren’t meant to provide body or texture on their own.

Whether or not they contain titanium dioxide (PW 6) depends on how light or opaque they are, or what pigments are necessary to mix the color.

Paint and primer are made for different purposes

Paint was invented thousands of years before primer. Paint used in caves definitely predates 11th century Egyptians and 14th century Italian Renaissance artists.

So, if people have been painting surfaces for thousands of years, why was gesso invented in the first place? Weren’t painters getting along just fine without it?

Gesso was — and still is — the primer used by oil painters to prime their canvases, wood panels, and other substrates before painting.

The primers you use to prepare your walls before you paint serves the same purpose. To seal the surface you’re painting to prevent over-absorption of the more expensive pigmented paint you’re painting with.

Do I really need to prime before I paint?

I don’t know.

Do you want to:

  • Spend too much time and money on paint because it soaks into the wall and requires two or three additional coats?
  • Over-spend on paint because it takes several coats to cover stains?
  • Throw your cash away to repaint because the color you applied never formed a stain-resistant finish?

Then painting without priming first is for you.

But if you have better things to do and spend your hard-earned scratch on, here’s why you should prime first.

Yes, you need to prime before you paint!

Sometimes the easiest of what you hear is wrong.

If you paint without priming first, woe befalls you:

  • You’ll throw away good money after bad by repeating this step too many times. Primer is made to seal an overly-absorbant ground (like drywall) so that you don’t waste paint on it.
  • Your paint job will be compromised long before you’re ready to paint again. You don’t want to spend all that time taping and painting, and now you have to do it again a few years later because the paint is peeling.
  • Forget about covering stains. They’ll show up again. Especially if anyone in your household has an affinity for Sharpies or spaghetti sauce.

Priming first guarantees you the best coverage and the ideal ground to accept paint layers. The paint you apply will adhere well to a primer. It has plenty of texture to adhere to.

That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?

Important: If you’re using latex paint, apply a latex primer first. Applying latex over an oil-based primer will cause the paint to peel.

What about paint and primer in one?

Paint and primer in one is fine if you’re painting over a similar paint color. Usually.

Not useful for first-time paint applications. If you’re looking at raw drywall or wood, forget it.

Remember that any porous surface will absorb too much water from the paint and ask yourself if an opacifier will stop this. It won’t. That’s not the function of an opacifier.

Painting and priming serve different purposes and are formulated accordingly.

Takeaways

  1. Prime before you paint.
  2. Use a latex primer under latex paint.
  3. That’s it.

15 Ways to use shredded paper

Do you shred stacks of incriminating documents and throw them away wondering if there’s more you could do for the environment?

First of all, you may be wondering why you can’t just toss your shredded paper in a bag with the recycling. Paper is paper, right? Well … sort of. Most recycling centers won’t take it shredded because the small bits clog up the machinery and cause all kinds of bother. Recycling equipment that can handle it is expensive and drives up operating costs.

Then there’s the fact that paper can only be recycled a few times before the fibers are too short to use.

To shred or not to shred …

Before you shred, consider separating the glossy from matte (uncoated) paper. Whether or not coated paper is suitable for some of these uses is so hotly debated I’m still looking for a definitive answer. Almost everyone agrees glossy paper is recyclable as long as it doesn’t have a metallic or polymer coating.

But if you’d rather use it for some nefarious artistic purpose, like making ironic ashtrays, you’ll probably want to keep it intact. There are lots of things you can make with old magazines, for instance. I’ve categorized these uses for shredded paper according to whether you can use the glossy pages.

Stuff you can do with shredded glossy paper

Use it as packing material. Those styrofoam peanuts are bad for the environment. And they cling to every surface while you’re trying to clean them up. Meanwhile, you’re shredding junk mail and throwing it in the trash. So next time you send a package, skip the styrofoam and check your shredder bin.

Make Easter basket grass. Here are instructions that include how to dye the shredded paper if you’re so inclined.

Stuff gift bags with it instead of buying tissue. Will the person you’re giving a gift to expect gilded name brand tissue paper made from African blackwood? Probably not. And if they are, why are you giving them a present?

Throw it in the bottom of your trash can to help absorb liquids and reduce garbage odors.

Line the bottom of your cat’s litter box with it for the same reason. Especially if you’re not using self-clumping litter. Pour the litter on top and your cat will never know the difference.

Pranks! Like the one my sister’s coworkers pulled by filling her office with shredded documents.

Desk covered with shredded paper

What you can use shredded uncoated paper for

Paper mache. The Spruce Crafts has three recipes for paper mache paste and directions for how to use it. Paste will stick to uncoated paper too, but not as well.

Bedding for small pets, like hamsters or rabbits. It keeps them warm and dry just like any other bedding. And a rabbit won’t try to piece your credit card statement back together to snag your number.

Insulating material for outdoor plants. A layer of shredded paper also helps retain moisture and feeds the soil after it breaks down.

Composting. Paper is high in carbon and great for your compost. And apparently worms nosh on it like it’s tempura or something.

Compress with wax into bricks to make firestarters. This self-proclaimed cheap guy, Dave of Dave’s Ohio Barbecue, will demonstrate.

Make three-dimensional art by layering the paper with mod podge or matte medium around objects wrapped in plastic wrap. Mod podge and matte medium are permanent adhesives and require a strong solvent to remove, so make sure not to forget the plastic wrap.

Donate it to the animal shelter. Yeah, it might seem a little weird to show up somewhere with a garbage bag full of long, skinny pieces of paper. But at the shelter, they’ll use it under litter and line cages with it.

Make biodegradable seedling pots with shredded paper, water, and flour. Then you can plant the seedlings, pot and all.

Make your own paper. Here’s a fun term – paper slurry. That’s the blended mixture of paper bits and water that you pour onto a special screen and let dry. This is not only a perfect activity for kids, but homemade paper is way more fun to paint on than most because it’s so heavily textured.

Wrapping it up

Shredded paper is so versatile, you’re really only limited by your imagination. I bet there are enough ideas to write at least one book about it. If you have an active imagination (and we know you do), leave us a comment with an idea I haven’t listed.

3 Easy, effective ways to remove old paint and varnish from repurposed wood

Every self-respecting DIYer has an idea or two for something they’d like to do with old doors. Maybe you’ve even started clandestinely collecting them in that spot behind the garage you’re hoping no one will discover. 

Whether you want to build a corner shelf or a giant door made of doors, you might need to strip old paint or varnish off the wood first.

Materials you’ll need:

  • A mask
  • Gloves, if you’re using a chemical stripper
  • Sandpaper or a sanding block
  • Steel wool
  • Coffee can (to put scrapings in)
  • Paint scrapers of various sizes and shapes
  • Small scraping tools for tight areas and detailing
  • Cheap brushes
  • Shallow glass or metal container (for chemical strippers)

Before you sand, heat, or scrape anything …

Check to make sure the paint you’re about to remove does not contain lead. You don’t need a mass spectrometer to do that, either. You can buy tests for home use.

If there’s lead in the paint you need to strip, you should avoid sanding it. Breathing in the dust can cause serious health problems, especially for children and pregnant women. If you really can’t avoid sanding off lead paint, at least protect yourself by wearing the appropriate mask and taking sensible precautions.

Should you strip wood indoors or outdoors?

If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, workshop, or other dedicated indoor area to work on projects like this, be careful about sanding or using chemicals in an enclosed space. Make sure you have the proper ventilation to do this safely.

Cleaning up after yourself, ironically enough, can be just as messy as making a mess in the first place. Only not as much fun. So it’s worth taking a little extra time to prepare your work area for easier clean-up. Like putting a dropcloth on the floor.

Three methods of removing paint and varnish

1. Sanding

If you intend to paint the wood for whatever project you’re using it for or have concerns about using heat or chemicals, sanding might be the way to go.

Paint needs two things to adhere – a roughened surface and an absorbent ground to draw the binder and pigments closer to that surface as the water evaporates. That means you don’t need to worry about removing every speck of the old finish. You just need to rough it up.

If there’s still a layer of either on the wood, you should prime it first to give the paint an absorbent surface.

In some cases, you can use a sander. But for the areas you can’t use a sander on, use sandpaper with a coarse grit to start. Then follow up with a finer grit or steel wool. Smaller files – even nail files – can help you get into the crevices.

2. Using a heat gun

If you’ve got something with a lot of layers of paint on it, heat can soften thick paint in fast, making it easy to scrape off. This method requires a greater degree of attention because if you point a heat gun at the wrong thing or for too long, you can start a fire.

Also, be aware that heating chemicals can cause harmful vapors, and you may want to use a mask for this, too.

If you’re afraid of burning your house down or don’t want to risk exposure to vaporized chemicals, consider using a chemical paste or gel. Like this lady in the video below.

3. Using a chemical stripper

Clean-up: Wiping off the crud

If the project you’re working on has fine detailing or hard-to-reach spaces, you’ll have to work a little harder to get the schmutz out. That’s what the small tools are for. Dental scrapers, small files, even old silverware can do that job.

But the best thing I can think of for that job is a set of scratchboard tools. Many artists use them to make drawings by scraping away India ink that has been applied over a white clay ground. There are tiny scrapers of different shapes, wire brushes designed to make fine lines, brushes made from stiff fiberglass bristles, and more.

When you get down to the wood’s surface, there might be cracks, holes, or gouges. How you deal with this depends on what kind of surface qualities and textures you’re looking for. The distressed look has been in for a while now and is still going strong. But if you’d like to smooth out the surface, you can use wood filler.

Use a dry nylon brush to sweep the crud off the surface. A natural bristle brush will work, too, but a softer brush will do a better job.

Got any tips you’d like to share with the rest of your fellow DIYers? Favorite tools and materials for stripping wood? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

How to use a color wheel to choose a harmonious color scheme

Are you tired of looking at your walls? Maybe it’s time to repaint a room or two in your home. Choosing new colors and repainting your walls can make your home feel like an entirely new place. And it’s a relatively inexpensive way of setting yourself up for a new state of mind. If only you could figure out which colors would go well together.

If you don’t trust yourself with color decisions, choosing a color scheme for your rooms can seem like more work than actually painting. Don’t forget, though, that color experts have been working on these issues for centuries. You don’t need to figure it out for yourself — artistic and scientific people have done that for you by inventing the color wheel to show color relationships.

What is a color wheel?

A color wheel is a tool that artists have been using for centuries to choose colors for their paintings. Munsell Color credits Sir Isaac Newton with inventing the first color wheel in 1704. His studies of light refracted through a prism proved that colors have relationships to each other, and those relationships determine how our eyes perceive them when they’re next to each other.

Our eyes are capable of perceiving a range of light that is created by wavelengths from 380 – 700nm. Light that travels at wavelengths in that range is received by our eyes and translated into a spectrum of color ranging from violet to red.

The wheel shows samples of each category of the spectrum of light visible to human eyes. You might notice how colors next to each other appear related. It’s no coincidence that the arrangement of these colors on the wheel follows the same progression of color gradations in a prism spectrum or rainbow.

They are all arranged in relation to the three primary colors — colors that cannot be replicated by mixing other colors together.

A few basics of color theory that will help you make a decision

Primary colors

Primary colors red, yellow and blue, are equidistant from each other on the color wheel.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. All other colors are made by mixing these colors together in various proportions. Mixing any two of these will produce what’s called a secondary color.

Secondary colors

Secondary colors orange, violet and green, are made by mixing two primary colors.

Secondary colors are those three colors made by mixing two of the primary colors together. Orange is made by mixing red and yellow. Green is made by mixing yellow and blue. And purple – you guessed it – is made by mixing blue and red.

How to choose aesthetically pleasing color schemes by understanding color relationships

Complementary colors

Complementary colors are two colors that appear opposite each other on the color wheel. Such pairings include red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple.

Note that the color opposite a primary color is always a secondary color. The important thing to remember about complementary colors is that they complement each other because of their contrast.

For example, green is the complement of red because it’s a secondary color that contains blue and yellow (the other two primary colors) but doesn’t contain red. Orange is the complement of blue because it has no blue in it. Placing complementary colors next to each other makes them appear more brilliant because each one in the pair has something the other lacks.

Being next to blue makes orange look more intense.

Split-complementary colors

A split-complementary color scheme involves three colors, two of which are adjacent to the opposite color on the wheel from the first. For example, red’s split complementaries would be blue-green and yellow-green.

Orange with its split complementaries, blue-green and blue-violet.

Orange’s split complementaries would be blue-green and blue-violet. Because both colors are mixes of blue, they each offer an opportunity for different but related interactions with orange.

Analogous colors

This is another three-color scheme that consists of three colors next to each other on the wheel. For example, if you chose blue as a color to build a palette around, you would choose blue-green and blue-violet as analogous colors to go with it.

Analogous colors blue-green, blue, and blue-violet.

The color wheel shows you not just colors at their pure hue, but also their tints, tones and shades.

What are tints, tones and shades?

Each of these are made from a mixture of the pure hue in turn with white, gray, and black. To lighten a hue, you add white. Mixing a hue with gray makes it duller but doesn’t necessarily change the value (make it lighter or darker). Mixing the hue with black will darken it.

All three types of mixes will desaturate the color. You can see from the windows in the wheel what the effect on each hue will be.

Here’s a video that will walk you through basic use of the color wheel.