Today’s project has been marinating in my head for a very long time. I like white appliances because I hate cleaning stainless steel. Our dishwasher is pretty new but has taken a beating lately and I kept thinking that it is too much white and how nice it would be to have some colored appliances in the house. I really wanted to match the dishwasher to our cabinet color that I used in my green and white two-toned kitchen makeover.
Our dishwasher couldn’t be customized with a cabinet front. So I started to google around with the question “Can you change the color of your appliances?” and came across a couple of blog posts that wrapped their appliances in a vinyl car wrap. Yes, you heard that right. I was instantly intrigued. Those blog posts didn’t really use a custom color and mostly used whatever was readily available online. Colored appliances are definitely trending but they are all in an accent color that stands out. A red stove, a pink stove, a turquoise stove… I wanted my dishwasher to blend in with the cabinets and not stand out which is why I was so determined to find a way to make it match and blend in without having to paint it.
This project is very similar to how I covered my Ikea dresser with peel and stick wallpaper, the only difference is that you need a heat source to activate the adhesive so you can mold and stretch the vinyl.
DIY colored appliances with vinyl car wrap
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Yes, I was completely obsessed with finding a match to my cabinet color and a local vinyl car wrap company that would be willing to help me. Let me tell you both presented a challenge. Those types of car shops aren’t really interested in a small job like this. They are used to custom-wrapping cars, trucks, and motorcycles for a lot of money. My type of project is too small. So I learned pretty early on that I wouldn’t find someone to wrap my appliances for me and that I would have to do it myself. (If you are local to me and are wondering where I got mine, it is Scribbles and Drips)
You might wonder why I didn’t just paint my appliances? Well, there are several reasons:
- Appliance paints aren’t being offered in tintable colors. At least I haven’t found any.
- The paint has to be heat resistant. Those paints aren’t tintable either
- A vinyl car wrap is shapable like shrink wrap, it is color customizable and it is heat resistant
- Car wrap is also fully removable, unlike paint which could be necessary in case of a warranty issue. A lot of companies won’t honor the warranty if you altered the appliance in any way. Paint would definitely be irreversible, vinyl wrap on the other hand is. They won’t be able to tell that you altered the appliance.
How to color match vinyl wrap to a cabinet color
So you might think it is as easy as taking a cabinet door or drawer into the shop so they can match the color. Well, they would do that but it would cost me $200 just to color match. That doesn’t even include the actual vinyl yet.
I was also told by the car wrap shop that they used Pantone PMS colors. So I had to find a way to convert my cabinet color to a Pantone color. For those of you who aren’t familiar with color codes and systems, there are a crazy amount of color codes for different purposes and printing. If you use Photoshop, like me (I used to do Graphic Design) then you are familiar with color codes. It isn’t all that easy to communicate between those different codes even though it sounds like it is. You can’t trust your screen colors either and match that way, it never works.
So I googled around. My color is Lush Sage 5003-2B by Valspar and guess what? On their website they give you other codes under the color name:
So those codes then are useable on other websites. Pantone has their own color finder as well. Let me show you!
See the red arrow, that is where I entered the Hex color and Pantone showed me all their colors. None of their matches appeared even close. The car shop also told me they’d only print me two samples… that’s it. Not a variety of samples. Yup!
I sent them this above snapshot and what I didn’t know is that they were able to print the Hex color. I received a sample for Hex #788176 and PMS 417. Lucky me that the Hex color was a perfect match. Yay!
TIP 1: If you are trying to match your paint color to other brands then encycolorpedia is a great place to check. I entered my color and scrolled to the bottom where it lists all the other color brands with similar or identical paint colors. Mind-blowing, right?
TIP 2: If you don’t know your cabinet color, try contacting the manufacturer to get a color code that you can work with.
The next challenge that presented itself was deciding on what finish to go with. The samples came in gloss and I wanted satin because that’s what my cabinets are in. Unfortunately, satin would have been even more expensive because they didn’t have satin on hand. I eventually settled for a piece of car vinyl wrap in a matte finish. The reason for that is that the gloss was so shiny that I could see myself in it. I definitely didn’t want that. And gloss really makes fingerprints stand out too.
How to Apply car vinyl wrap to appliances
This is definitely where you should watch my video. It took me about 3 hours to finish the dishwasher. That includes taking the dishwasher door off, cleaning everything, adding the vinyl, and putting the dishwasher back together. Cutting that video down to a watchable video was the hard part. Nobody wants to watch a 3-hour video.
Use the triangle on the image to turn on the video. As always, if you are on a mobile device please hold it horizontal for easier viewing and if it doesn’t work here on my blog then you can head on over to my YouTube channel to watch it HERE.
- sheet of car vinyl wrap (there are many colors readily available, the brand I received from the shop is Arlon)
- sharp crafting knife
- 70% alcohol and lint-free wipes
- professional-grade tack clothes
- lint-free gloves (optional because I’ve seen folks on YouTube apply wraps to cars without them)
- felt squeegee tool for vinyl applications, if you are doing something more intricate than a flat-paneled dishwasher, then you will need more different tools to get into the crevices.
- a blow dryer or heat gun
- appliance owners manuals
Application instructions for colored appliances:
Before I started, I watched a lot of YouTube videos. CK Wraps has been my favorite channel. He is a very good teacher and makes me want to wrap a car. Not kidding! I even asked my husband if he’d let me try to wrap his motorcycle. LOL! He said “no”! Not sure why because it would be such a fun change and is completely removable while even protecting the original paint job. Wrapping a motorcycle is next level hard though 😉 Wrapping a flat dishwasher is pretty easy.
This vinyl needs heat from a blow dryer or heat gun. I just used my blow dryer on the highest setting.
The cool part about this vinyl is that it is stretchable and moldable when warmed up. You can keep reheating it and redo sections. If you pull it off when it is cold and hold the heat source to it, it pretty much snaps back into its original shape.
The heat source also kind of shrink wraps the vinyl around the shape you are wrapping.
I ended up practicing with one of the sample pieces on a makeup box which you can also see in my video. That helped to get a feeling for the vinyl before starting.
Removing the door panel of your appliance
Don’t forget to turn off the fuse switch to your appliance to turn the electricity off before removing the front panels. I also made sure to check my owners manual and another YouTube video to make sure I removed everything the correct way. It was pretty easy actually. This part is obviously different for everyone else according to whatever appliance you have.
Clean the removed panels thoroughly, like painstakingly clean by using the alcohol on lint-free wipes followed by the tack cloths to remove any dirt and dust specs because they would show up.
The rest is definitely better watched in the video to see how I smoothed out the vinyl with the felt squeegee and my clean hands.
Applying the sheet of vinyl car wrap to your appliance
Like I just mentioned above already, I really think you should watch my video to see what my hands are doing and how I worked the vinyl.
I started on one side of the dishwasher panel that wasn’t as visible as the left and right side.
I used the felt squeegee to remove all wrinkles and bubbles while pulling the backing off from behind.
For some parts I used my clean hands to smooth everything which you can see above on the edges of the front panel.
Heat is required to activate the adhesive and to make the vinyl stretchable and moldable. You can pull if off again and again. When you add heat to it again, it pretty much snaps back into original shape. Be careful to not overstretch the vinyl though.
Make sure you go over the entire front panel with heat again to make sure the adhesive is activated.
The toe kick was a bit trickier because there are uneven parts but it was definitely doable. Plus it’s not all that visible either.
I used a bit of metal primer to prime the screws and then some of my cabinet paint to cover the screws and make them blend in with the color.
Attach everything back onto the appliance. I ended up braking on of the handle screws that were attached with lock tight, so I used cabinet knobs to replace the handle for now. I am contemplating making a custom handle bar for the dishwasher and stove yet.
Finished look of the colored dishwasher
Here is a photo before and it’s definitely not bad either. Fact is that the family had scratched it all up since that photo and it had seen better days.
And here is a crapy cellphone before photo where you can slightly see some of the scratches:
And here is a really old photo of our kitchen to show you how much has changed. I’d still like to have all the cabinets go up to the ceiling at some point:
Photos after applying the vinyl car wrap to the dishwasher:
For those of you wondering if I am planning on still getting a different handle instead of the knobs… Yes, yes I am but the search for what has been taking longer than I thought.
And, I am now obviously side-eyeing that stove too. My mom already said, “you can’t leave that like this!” The question is what parts get covered and which ones don’t because there is also so much glass in the center. If I do cover the stove too then I also need matching handles for the dishwasher and stove and then… ugh the fridge might look strange too. Yup, that’s called a domino effect and is usually what happens.
So what do you think? Do you love it as much as I do?
Like I said I really want to do something to my stove yet too to make it look custom. I always loved the look of Cafe Appliances but not the price. I also wanted to have the bottom drawer for extra storage which we can always use in our small home. Cafe stoves don’t have that drawer and have pretty legs instead.
UPDATE: I ended up wrapping our stove as well. It now looks like the custom high-end stove that I wanted.