How to turn your RV Fridge into a Magnetic Dry Erase Board
Whether you have an older RV or a much newer one, it's possible you're looking for ways to make certain aspects more functional. At least that's been the case for us as we renovate our 2008 motorhome. Today we're sharing how we turned our RV fridge into a magnetic dry erase board.
Here's a before photo of the fridge that came with our RV:
For those that are new here, we recently left our sticks and bricks home to spend a year traveling in our RV. You can read more about us here. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure here.
Turn your RV Fridge into a Magnetic Dry Erase Board
Even though the wooden fridge panels in our RV were nice, I knew it would be better if they could double as a place to write notes, especially since we're working on the road.
At first I considered using good ‘ol chalkboard paint or chalkboard vinyl to update the panels, but thought it would be nice to also have the fridge be magnetic. Sure I could have used magnetic paint under the chalkboard paint, but I wanted something easier, lighter, and that wouldn't leave a collection of chalk dust on the floor every time I went to erase it.
Have you ever removed the panels from your fridge?
It wasn't until I attempted to remove the wooden panels from ours that I realized just how heavy they were. That's when I knew they had to go. If we could replace them with something more functional AND lightweight, I would be one happy camper.
After considering a few different options we ultimately decided to go with galvanized steel.
Why galvanized steel, you ask?
- It can be used as a dry erase board
- It's magnetic
- It would be much lighter than the previous fridge panels
You can watch a video of Eric showing off our updated Fridge below:
After messing around with the fridge I was able to figure out how to remove the freezer panel, which basically just slid out once I snapped off some of the plastic trim. The fridge panel, however, turned out to be a major pain.
As you can see from the photo below, our fridge is located in our RV slide-out. So basically every time we tried to slide out the fridge panel, which slides upwards, it would hit the ceiling of our slide out. Ugh.
If your fridge isn't located in a slide-out you can most likely just unsnap the black trim at the top of your freezer, and the one at the top of the fridge door, and slide your panels out that way.
We couldn't figure out how to get the doors off, so we looked at our Dometic manual and some youtube videos.
What we discovered is we would need to remove the entire fridge door in order to get the panel out. Only to get the fridge door off we would first need to remove the freezer door.
That could be done by first removing the pin at the top corner of our freezer door with a wrench and a pair of pliers (or you could use two wrenches).
This took a bit of elbow grease and at one point we thought there must be some other way because the pin didn't seem to budge. At. All.
Eric's persistence paid off and eventually we got the pin out.
Once the top pin was out it was time to remove the second one, located at the bottom of the freezer door, followed by the third pin located at the top corner of the fridge door.
Once the pins were removed we were able to remove the doors and slide the fridge panel out, yay!
With the old panels removed from our RV fridge we could now use those as templates to create our new panels. I had also looked up the dimensions of our specific fridge model online.
Materials used to Create Magnetic Dry Erase Panels:
- 26 gauge galvanized steel
- Aviation Snips
- Yardstick/Measuring Tape
- Dry Erase Marker
- Gloves + Safety Goggles
- Nail File
The panels we used were purchased at our local Lowe's, and it cost roughly $40 for both. We had purchased a 24 x 4 ft plated steel sheet that we cut to size for our fridge panel, and then a 24 x 2 foot plated steel sheet that we cut to size for our freezer panel. After tracing around the panels with a dry erase marker, we cut them out using aviation snips.
Make sure you use gloves for this! The sheet metal is very thin and VERY sharp on the edges, so make sure to wear gloves and eye protection and be safe! I did and then later went to throw a tiny sliver in the trash and cut my thumb on it. It SUCKED. So again, be careful!
Once both panels were cut we lightly went over the edges with a nail file (you could use a deburring tool if you have one), and then slide them into place.
That was it!
Our Updated RV Fridge:
You may have seen a glimpse of our fridge back when we shared our rustic modern media cabinet. Here are some updated photos of our fridge with the new panels installed, roughly 6 months later:
I am so happy that we made this update to our fridge which was super easy (at least once we figured out how to remove the doors), affordable, and makes our fridge look like stainless steel. We were also amazed at how much it brightened up our RV.
The fact that we can stick magnets on it and write out our to-do list makes it look good while at the same time being functional.
So what do you think?
Answers to Questions I've received about our RV Fridge:
How to Erase the Dry Erase Markers from the Metal Panels
I've found that dry erasers don't do much and neither does the spray, I'm guessing because this isn't a white dry erase board.
We generally just use a paper towel (ummm or our hand) to wipe off the dry erase marker, but that often leaves “ghost writing”. After trying different cleaning solutions including water, hydrogen peroxide, and Mrs. Meyer's products, I've found that rubbing alcohol and Target's Method All-Purpose Cleaner works best for completely cleaning off the panels, including any “ghost writing”.
Does it Make Noise?
At first I thought I would need to add a plywood backing to the metal, but later realized that wasn't necessary. The sheet metal we used was 26 gauge and is sturdy enough that it doesn't make any noise when we drive down the road.
Have you updated the panels in your RV fridge, or do you plan to? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!
You can find all of our RV-related posts here.