How to paint a polka dot washer and dryer that will hold up over time

Guest post by Abbie

paint you washer 7The laundry room has been a sticking point as we put together our house. I don’t have a true “before” picture for you because it was such a cramped, cluttered nightmare that no one would want to see it anyway.

No, really.

U to the G-L-Y.

It started to get SO MUCH BETTER when we scrambled a washer to stack on top of our dryer. It may not look like much, but it’s already so much better because there’s actually an inch or two of floor-space that’s not taken up by some machine or another (the old dryer was where you see that piece of wood).

Okay, so why the laundry room history lesson?

Well, as much as I loved having room to, oh, I don’t know, not have to turn sideways and suck in my gut just to walk into my own laundry room, I wasn’t quite as thrilled about how dingy my washing machine looked next her sparkly new dryer-sister.

And I’ve always wanted to have a colored washer/dryer, but I’m not keen on the prices at all. So, what’s a DIY-obsessed girl to do? Paint her washing machine, of course!

Materials I used

I stumbled across a pretty teal color called Virtue (by Dutch Boy, I think) and some leftover Dover White (Sherwin Williams) in our shed, then grabbed some leftover oil-based Kilz primer that I used on another project, and set to work.

Here’s Henrietta (she’s the washer) after a quick coat of primer.

It dries super-fast, so that same night, I started rolling on the teal.

It took three coats, and I used a tiny craft brush to do the detail work around the Kenmore logo and the washer door, but it still didn’t take longer than an hour total.

After a brief flirtation with the idea of trying to paint over and re-label the control panels (I even wrote out a diagram just in case), I regained my sanity and decided to leave those black.

I was already loving the change, but I wanted to make Henrietta a bit more fun because, seriously, if you have to do a gazillion loads of laundry, you might as well have something that puts a goofy grin on your face while you’re doing it!

And few things make me smile goofily like polka-dots.

So, I unrolled my stencil and grabbed some painter’s tape and my can of Dover White.

Even though the side of my washer was far from flat (see the ridges that run all the way around the edges?), the stenciling process was a breeze.

I followed the instructions from the Cutting Edge Stencils user-friendly video, making sure to roll my paint roller on a paper towel after every time I dipped it in paint.

This step is definitely the most important: if you have too much paint on your roller, it will drip.

Here she is with the first round done.

Because I used so little paint, I could pull the stencil off, reposition it immediately, and go right back to rolling.

The entire process took maybe 20 minutes, and that includes the fact that I was a bit tentative in round one, having never used this kind of stencil before.

And then, I spent another 15 minutes on the front, so now she looks like this:

Okay, so I realize it’s a little batty to take a paint roller to your washing machine, but I’m actually loving that the first thing I see when I go in my laundry room is Henrietta, the teal and white polka dot washing machine.

Plus, it was one of the easiest paint projects I’ve ever done, especially the stenciling process, and I would do it again in a heartbeat…which a did, a few weeks later, when I tackled the dryer.

She was a little harder than the washer — I only primed the dots, and then had to break out a small foam brush to finish those off, but now proudly introduce you to Henrietta’s equally polka dotted sister, Helena.

Also, for those of you who might be wondering how I answered the warranty question that was my only concern in whether I should paint a shiny new machine…

It’s still unresolved.

So, let’s hope that Whirlpool has a sense of humor (or, at the very least, a thing for polka dots).

In the end, this paint job has held up REALLY WELL. On top of the oil-based KILZ primer, I used regular old latex paint in eggshell finish after four weeks and more loads of laundry than I care to remember, it’s holding up great.

Absolutely zero chipping, flaking, or peeling off. I’ve whacked it with the laundry basket, detergent bottle, etc., and it has left a small mark or two, but I don’t know any paint in the world that won’t show marks if you hit it with something hard.

The durability is mostly because of the primer I used, which is one part paint, a gazillion parts magic, as far as I can tell, but can also be credited to the fact that I rolled on three very light coats of paint. The lighter the better to keep the paint from globbing up.

Homies, what would YOU paint on YOUR appliances? Skulls? Rainbows? Steamy gears? Glitter?! Tell us!

Comments on How to paint a polka dot washer and dryer that will hold up over time

  1. Okay, I thought you were only doing the one, which would be totally unfair to Helena. It looks nice and swanky now. If we owned our own washer and dryer I’d be giving them sailor tattoos!

  2. It’s a good thing that right now I live in a rental with appliances that we don’t own. I have an overwhelming desire to GO PAINT ALL THE THINGS!

  3. They look awesome!! And thank you so much for the stencil link. Going to save me so much work in the nursery I’m currently planning…and need to finish in four weeks or less. 🙂

  4. I have an old fridge i got from my parents when i moved out of home. by the time i moved in with hubby, it was showing a few rust spots around the bottom… but it was a good fridge, so we decided to paint it (which was a good decision, cuz it’s now out-lasted three much newer 2nd hand fridges…) it’s painted on all three sides with a mural of sonic the hedgehog.

  5. *gasp*

    thanks you! our washer and dryer could use some decor, but they match and are behind a door. the real point of interest is the bright white chest freezer in the middle of the dining room. oh, i am so excited.

  6. I love this! I’ve wanted to paint my fridge forever.. But didn’t know if it was possible 🙂 but if you can do that to a washer and dryer why not a fridge right!? Thanx for the post and what a great sense of humor you have!

    • Our old fridge (which came with our apartment) was painted with chalkboard paint! It was definitely a selling point of the apartment. It also leaked all over the floor. We finally got our landlord to replace it, but we fully intend to buy chalkboard paint for this one.

  7. I love this! After reading this, my husband and I have decided that this is the solution for our boring, beige dishwasher. She simply doesn’t fit in with the surrounding blue hues and our Keith Haring mural (a replica of the painting on this site except that the background (our wall) is baby blue). We request suggestions as to which pattern to use.

  8. Thanks! I’ve been wanting to paint my old beer fridge but I thought that spray paint was the only way and I didn’t relish the idea of dragging it outside and having to drag it back in again.
    This is gonna be perfect! Now, to decide on color……

  9. Totally digging not only the polka dots, but the stacked dryer. Hubby will hate me when I ask him to make ours do that. I am now inspired to paint my washer & dryer with my all-time fave… cow spots. they’re already white… so that should be simple enough. Wish me luck!

  10. I’ve pinned this and am seriously pondering colors. No one sets foot in my laundry room but me, but I like to keep things goofy out there. Purple-y cobalt walls, a row of fake stained glass bottles on the bottom of the window and a poster of theater-marquee haikus greet me now…polka dot washer and dryer would seal the deal, right?

  11. Brilliant! I’m re-doing my utility room (known as “The Room of Requirement”) and was wondering how to jazz things up – polka dots… :)x

  12. I love, love, LOVE the polka dots. I once bought a used white Beetle with the intention of blanketing it in colorful polka dots (think Dr. Seuss “Put Me In The Zoo” book, for 5 year olds and me, um… 54 (:ol ) but then I chickened out. Someone might commit ME to the zoo. No thanks. But painting and naming my washer and dryer should be safe. (?) Steve and Jim, I think. Then maybe my husband might be inclined to hang out in the laundry room every now and then, with his new buddies. And do some laundry.

  13. I don’t love, love, LOVE polka blobs (I don’t even like them) but Steve and Jim have no choice, too bad, because that’s probably what they’ll end up getting. Or maybe I’ll get better at stenciling. I can’t imagine it being “a breeze” but I really appreciate your tips and we’ll see. Whatever, at least doing laundry will be a more colorful experience. For my husband. *ha ha ha ha yeah right*

    BTW I found your fun blog because I was originally searching for a way to paint my appliances yellow. Well not any more! (:o] So thank you!

  14. I’m so glad I pinned this. I am buying a house with UGLY kitchen appliances. I’m so going to do this with a different stencil. I mean, what do I have to loose? Even a bad paint job would look better than the 80s cream colored appliances I currently have in the house.

  15. I covered my washer and dryer in fun magnets and photo holders. I thought I was the only one who was trying to jazz up a washer set. I love these ideas.

  16. Hi!
    I came to your blog from “Shabby Creek Cottage”. This put a huge smile on my face. You did an awesome job, it looks beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the idea. I would love to do this!

  17. Are any of the parts you painted plastic, or are they all metal? I want to know because my machines have plastic fronts.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.They look great!

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