Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Use Stainless Steel Appliance Paint

So I've been working on my kitchen remodel since October.  Things are slowly but surely getting done and yesterday I finished painting the dishwasher. I choose to paint the dishwasher because it is practically brand new, and it is the best cleaning, most quiet dishwasher ever.   Since I had good luck painting the dishwasher at our old house I wanted to at least try here and hopefully save myself a few hundred dollars.  

At our old house I had painted the dishwasher black to match the kitchen cabinets but here I wanted it to match the rest of the stainless steel appliances.  I did a little bit of research and finally decided on using a specialty Rust-Oleum product.  

My plan was that if the stainless steel paint didn't look good I would cover it with the white paint that I am using for the cabinets and if that still didn't look good I would have to give in and purchase a new stainless steel dishwasher.  Luckily for me it turned out fantastic.  I am very happy with the results and I'll show you how to do it yourself below.

Here is the dishwasher before I got started.  Just your basic white dishwasher with handle.

Here is the after.

I am really really pleased with how it turned out.  It looks very close to real stainless steel and I don't think that from a distance or in a picture that anyone can tell that it is not the real thing.  

Here's how to do this yourself:

1.  Purchase the Rust-Oleum Specialty Stainless Steel paint.  I bought mine at Menards and it was about $17.  

2.  Sand.  The directions on the can say that you don't need to prime or sand but I decided to give the front a little roughing up anyways.  I used a piece of left over sandpaper and just quickly ran it over the front of the dishwasher.  

3.  Clean.  After sanding I cleaned the front and sides with hot soapy water till it was squeaky clean.

4.  Paint.  After it had dried, I applied the first coat of the paint with a foam brush.  Now when you open the can the paint is a very streaky silver with black swirls.  I stirred and stirred and shook and shook and it never truly mixed together.  I used it as it was and did not have any color problems.  

Now you can see from the picture below it was looking like crap.  The paint was not going on very smoothly and I was not getting good coverage.  I was convinced at this point that I would be buying new dishwasher for Christmas.  I almost didn't do another coat but then I figured I should just try.  

So for the second coat I switched to a regular paint brush and things went much better.  I finally got the coverage I wanted and the color was looking close to my other appliances.

This paint gives you a lot of time to play with it.  I went back over a few areas to remove drips and excess paint.  The paint is very forgiving and didn't show many brush strokes at all.

I probably could have stopped after 2 coats but I did a 3rd coat of paint just to make sure I didn't miss anywhere.  It was looking great.  The texture feels kinda like unpolished metal.

BTW - this stuff stinks.  Make sure you open a window and air things out.  I had a headache for two days - it could have been from my kids or it could have been the paint - really a toss up:)

5.  Seal with polyurethane.  The directions on the box recommend this step, and I am glad that I did it.  I used a can of Minwax Clear Polycrylic in semi-gloss finish because that's what I had in the garage.  I did 2 coats following the directions on the can.  I'm glad I did this step because the polycrylic adds the perfect touch.  It gives the paint a shine and depth that matches a real stainless steel finish.  

You can see the reflection of our white step stool on the front of the dishwasher after I added the polycrylic.  If I were to do this again I would probably use a high-gloss polycrylic to make the finish look even closer to real stainless steel polish.

Here's a close up picture of how the finish looks.  I don't think that anyone can tell that it is not real until you get up close and touch the dishwasher.  

Now I will say that it does not perfectly match my fridge and my stove but they don't match each other perfectly either even though they are both GE appliances.  My dishwasher looks almost exactly like the finish on the fridge though.  Plus after I hang a towel on the handle it looks completely authentic.

Here's the after shot again.  I purposely left the kick plate white.  I will paint that to match the cabinets when I get around to those.  You can see a little bit of our stainless steel sink in the corner of the picture.  Except for being a tad shinier I think the color is spot on.

I have tons of paint left over.  I could probably do a stove or a small fridge with the leftover paint.  I almost wish I had kept my old fridge and given it a go with the paint.  I think that if you did all your appliances as a group with this paint that no one would know that they were not a complete matching stainless steel set.

Has anyone else tried this on a different appliance?  Give me a shout if you decide to try this out yourself.  I'd love to see your after pictures.

~Gold Shoe Girl ~

P.S.  I should mention that I was not asked or paid to endorse this product.  I just bought it and used it all on my own.

I'm linking up here...

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  1. Wow that turned out great ! I love it.

  2. OMG! This is awesome! Loving your site and everything you're doing. Can't wait to see your kitchen when you paint those cabinets. :)

  3. I'm so glad I ran across your website and found this project. I must move from my home soon and have an appliance that works perfectly but is white - all my other appliances are stainless steel. This will save me a small fortune. Thank you for sharing this great information!

  4. It looks great. How long after the last coat did you wait to put in the polyurethane.

    1. I waited about 24 hours after the last coat of paint and then I did the polyurethane. It is still holding up great. After 9 months of use and abuse we still don't have any chips, scratches or blemishes.

  5. Im wonder how this would work on a stove with the high heat... We just bought a home that has an older stove in it and it is the best stove EVER! I don't think a brand new stove could top the stove we have now, but it is a cream color and everything else we have is stainless steel (dishwasher, fridge, sink, etc.) so we were talking about replacing the stove and vent hood next year to match. I would love to try painting it first, but since it's still a great stove if we replace it we will probably sell the stove we have now so I don't want to mess it up by painting it if it isn't going to work with high heat.

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      I would not recommend using it on a stove - especially if you want to sell it down the road. I think the paint worked well on the flat surface of my dishwasher but I'm not so sure it would do well getting around the corners and bends of a stove. Also my dishwasher was a plastic front not a metal or glass like I think your stove would be and I'm not sure how well the paint would adhere on that kind of surface.

  6. Thanks for sharing your steps! I'm renovating an old 80's rv & think this will transform the stove & oven without replacing it!

  7. Oh wait, now I'm reading the post above.. we'll see! :D

  8. Just get liquid stainless steel for the stove

  9. I did one side of a white refrigerator yesterday. It took 4 coats but it looks great and I have not put on any clear finish yet. I will take pictures when I am finished and post them. Thanks for the tips, they really helped in my application.


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