Upcycled Vintage Refrigerator

August 1, 2019 | by jessica robbins

When I first set eyes on this beautiful, vintage 1950s refrigerator, I knew that I had to buy it. After a lot of research, I decided to turn it into a beverage refrigerator with a couple of taps on the front. This project is a little more advanced, but who doesn't want to be challenged every once in a while?


  • Vintage refrigerator
  • Drill
  • Sanding drill bits
  • Paint thinner
  • 1” metal drill bit
  • Paint, painter’s tape, brushes
  • 2- tap dispensers
  • Drip tray


  1. Find a vintage refrigerator. Make sure that it works and all parts are in order.
  2. Using drill bit sander, sand the refrigerator. This is a lengthy process. Be patient and sand down any and all bumps, marks, or bubbles. Wipe down refrigerator with soap and water.
  3. Next, use paint thinner to remove paint applied to the door handle, logo, and hinges. (This is an optional step that will depend on the condition of the fridge.)
  4. Mark on the inside of the refrigerator where you want your taps to go. Use a 1” drill bit and drill from the inside of the door to create two holes.
  5. Tape around all handles, hinges, and detail.
  6. Choose a paint color and start painting. I chose to roll on the paint because sometimes my spray painting skills are questionable. Apply a very light coat and let dry completely. Continue applying light layers until the optimal look is acquired. I purchased my paint at Ace Hardware as they have specialty appliance paint. 
  7. When the paint is completely dry, piece together the tap through the two holes. There are a lot of companies online that sell tap pieces and they also have a section at Ace Hardware.
  8. You can use this for carbonated pop, home brew root beer/cherry soda, or beer. All three of these options would require different types of equipment to hook up. Figure out which option works for you and do some research on how to hook up your favorite beverage! 

Life is all about thinking outside the box and being creative. This project was a big one for me and took some time and thought, but I love how it turned out. Sometimes it's good to challenge yourself and take on projects that seem impossible. I'm so glad that I did, and now I'm enjoying my new, upcycled, vintage refrigerator! 

Originally printed in the August 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine

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