Kitchen Projects Part 1: The Duct Tape Refrigerator (and more)

Kitchen Projects Part 1: The Duct Tape Refrigerator (and more)

I got a bunch of questions on the DIY’s in my kitchen makeover, so it’s time to talk detail. Also, this lets me shove some more kitchen shots in your faces that I would not have been able to otherwise so this is a total win-win we have here.

Now I’ll talk you through the main projects I did in my happy kitchen in two blog posts. Today, I’ll take you through the refrigerator (personal favorite) and the cabinets & countertops. Next week, I’ll do the rest. LESSGO.

DIY Duct Tape Refrigerator

The refrigerator came with the apartment. And while I wouldn’t probably have touched it if it had been in a more isolated kitchen space (I’m lying), I just couldn’t handle it in my living room (the living room layout is very studio apartment-ish).

Because landlords are always so fun, I needed a temporary solution that I could get rid of in minutes when the time came and so my heart naturally went to duct tape. And man was it the simplest project ever.

Whattay sex bomb.

I don’t have great pictures of this because I just randomly started taping one night while watching TV/listening to music and didn’t display a lot of stability and patience like normal human beings on documenting the process. But it’s ridiculously simple, so we’re all going to be fine.

What you need
1) Duct tape. 1 roll for each color.
2) A pattern in mind. I chose diagonal stripes.
3) Cutter. For chopping off the excess bits of tape.

About 3 hours. Have something fun playing in the background while you do this, or split it up over different days and you won’t even feel the pain of those 3 hours.

Level of difficulty 
Blow-your-mind kind of easy.


8 pm. Bad lighting. Terrible for photos. Great for a ‘before/after’, if you know what I mean

1. Pick a point on your appliance and start taping. I started in the middle of the bottom door and lay one stripe down with the white tape at a random angle.

2. Pick the second color and layer it right next to the first stripe. There can be a slight overlap between the two, it doesn’t show. It’s very hard to not get the stripes straight each time because the duct tape is very easy to manipulate and the length is not long enough to cause trouble. And whenever I felt I hadn’t placed it right, I’d just pull it back up and try again.

3. Keep going until you’re done.

1. Experiment with pattern. You could do stripes going in different directions, with blocks of stripes perpendicular to each other. Or straight stripes in varying widths? Plaid?
2. Experiment with color. I’d love to do a blue, orange and white pattern, if I ever tried this again.

DIY Contact Paper Cabinets & Counter-tops

Doing this project just changed things up so drastically, all N and I could do the first few days was to just stop and stare at the kitchen and admire ourselves. He wasn’t quite on board with the plans when I first told him what I wanted to do but volunteered/was-blackmailed-into doing the cabinets with me. Though once he saw the end product, he realized once again how me controlling his life was the best thing for his happiness.

ANYWAY, before I go to the how-to, let’s first talk on what contact paper is. I honestly did not know about contact paper until a few years ago and so I’m going to assume that it’s the same for everyone.

So contact paper is a temporary adhesive paper that comes in large sheets/rolls. It’s a super large sticker with amazing adhesion so it’s unlikely to ever come off, until you pull it off yourself. It’s wipe-friendly so drop anything on it and it will live. However, it’s a sticker and so thick as it might be, it will rip if you run a knife over it.

What you need:
1) Contact paper
2) Cutter. For getting rid of the excess.
3) Something to slide/smooth the paper down as you apply it.

2-3 hours. The counter-tops took me an hour to do. The cabinets N and I did together in 3 hours.

Level of difficulty
Moderate when you’re trying to get the hang of it. Easy once you’ve picked it up.


1. Clean your surface. CLEAN YOUR SURFACE. I was a lazy ass about this and wouldn’t wipe it down because I was like “It’s clean anyway”. But you’ve got to wipe it down EVEN IF IT LOOKS CLEAN. If you don’t, you’re going to get nasty bubbling that’s going to drive you crazy and take double the time to do. If you wipe it clean (and N taught me this) it’s going to go so smooth, you’re going to want to kiss yourself.

2. Take off the backing from a tiny bit of the contact paper and start applying. Use something to smooth down the paper as you stick it. Drive any bubbles out from the side which is still attached to the roll. (Google ways to apply contact paper on YouTube)

3. Keep going until you’re done, done, done. For the cabinets, we took off the doors first, then took out the handles. Then we covered up the door, screwed the handles back in and hinged the doors back on. And you’re doneee.

1. Wipe your surface with a cloth that’s not going to leave fiber behind.
2. If you get bubbles, lift the paper up, and lay it out again. The bubbles won’t go away on their own so get them out as soon as you see them.
3. Experiment with designs. I mean, think marble print contact paper that you can use on counter-tops – what a beauty.
4. Applying contact paper the first time is frustrating. But if you clean the surface and apply it little by little, you’ll get the hang of it and breeze through.

Next week, I’ll talk more. Tell me now what you want details on and I’ll add that in.

Contact Paper & Duct Tape from Ace Hardware.
Plants from Dubai Garden Centre.

Until next time.


  1. Author

    Sarah: I got both from Ace Hardware (updated the post too). I've also seen contact paper at Carrefour but Ace has the best variety – multiple wood patterns in different shades. Otherwise you can always order online since most stores deliver to the UAE.

  2. I'm a fan of contact paper, sticking it to the kitchen counter is such an amazing idea, love the overall makeover of your kitchen.

  3. Just wanna say it again and again and again that i love your writing style and the thoughtfulness behind each are wow

  4. What is your Master Plan for removing all of this, and the resulting glue and residue, once you move out? Is the few dollar overhaul worth losing your Security Deposit over? I can say, if I were your Landlord and I saw this, I would have already chalked the Security Deposit up as mine.

  5. Woah, I would be totally furious if I was your landlord. Really uncool to do this to someone else's place. While the white cabinets look happier, I hope you pay a professional to clean this up before moving out as contact paper (even the non-residue kind) always leaves a sticky-forever kind of mess. Hope you're prepared to loose your security deposit. Yikes.

  6. Author

    Anon: hi anonymous. My landlord is aware and doesn't mind it at all. Plus I've done this before and is easily removable xx

  7. Who in gods name would want contact paper countertops over what was there before??? This is the most idiotic doing something just for the sake of DIY thing I've ever seen.

  8. Wow looks likes some commenters from apartment therapy found your blog. ? What trolls. Just because their 1980s contact paper left residue….jeez. Your kitchen looks great! And ya maybe nothing WRONG with the before version but totally not my style either! Love your ingenuity and style!!!

  9. Hi! I was wondering about the duct tape fried DIY I've read the blog before but now I'm actually thinking of doing this so I was wondering how the tape was handled at the door Mtlb kaisai fold kr Kai kaha gai I'm asking the question in the weirdest possible way I think :p but erm yeah could you share pics of the fridge door? And corners perhaps for better u ferry ding before I take on this project please? 🙂

    1. Author

      It wraps around super easily. And where it wasn't, I would put a tiny cut with a papercutter and fold it up. It's incrediblyyyyy easy, just time consuming.

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