Our RV is small, so everything has to be multipurpose. As such, it was surprising to learn that our fridge and freezer doors were dark wood—taking up valuable light and not providing any useful functionality to our small kitchen! Thankfully, we were able to replace them with magnetic dry-erase doors for just under $27!
Simple but effective, this trailer upgrade can make a big difference. We use magnetic dry-erase boards every day because they are so useful. With a dry paper towel (and a little kitchen cleaner if the writing has been up for a week or more), they wipe clean easily, help us stay organized, and help us remember what we need to buy!
Additionally, our RV has become very well-lit thanks to the bright, reflective surface. It is incredible how much difference this has made in such a small space!
An overview of the project
- Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Total Cost: $26.92
- Level: Easy
- Tools Needed: A sharp knife, a small hand saw (suggested when cutting gloves)
How to Do It
For the whiteboard surface on the fridge, we looked at many options, including thin sheet steel and adhesive whiteboard liners. But Walmart’s 24 x 36-inch dry-erase whiteboard, which is has a slightly bigger size than our fridge door, was the most affordable option at $17.96! The dry-erase boards will need to be trimmed to fit your doors, so you should measure them first.
Our RV fridge door was perfect for this 24 x 36-inch magnetic dry-erase board found on Amazon for just $17.96.
Despite looking chunky and thick, most of the thickness comes from the fridge freezer. Door openings in fridges and freezers are held in place with thin pieces of backing wood that slide into grooves.
We can slide our new dry-erase board into place by taking away the original doors. We can also get rid of the black trim from the top of the fridge by pulling it back with the door open.
The door is held into position by a bit of plastic trim. You can see the thin piece of light brown wood that slides along.
After taking away the trim, slide the door out completely. It would be best to keep it vertical and straight as you slide to avoid sticking. We’re glad to rid our RV of this heavy item!
It doesn’t need adhesives or screws to slide out—just keep it straight.
After removing the old door, you can see the fridge’s silver foil lining. In place of the old door, we will put a dry-erase board.
Be careful not to scratch or dent the silver fridge door at the back!
Next, the dry-erase needs to be reduced to ensure its fit. In our case, the fridge’s frame was aluminum and needed to be taken away. There are no screws, only adhesive, and it’s pretty well stuck on, so I used a screwdriver to help peel off the corners.
Be very careful when doing this because the metal surface of the dry-erase board has sharp edges!
The white metal sheet has sharp edges that will cut you if you are not careful!
Once the frame is removed, the old door can score lines with a sharp knife on the back of the dry-erase board.
You could run the knife along a straight line if you could remove a piece of the aluminum frame without it bending.
Along the way, I realized that cutting it in two steps was the most efficient way. Start by cutting through the backing cardboard and removing it once the score line is marked. Run the knife along it repeatedly from the backward direction to cut through the metal.
Cut the dry-erase board to size using the old RV fridge door as a template. Make sure you get it as close to the mark as possible since there is little room for error.
Initially, I tried using scissors, but although they cut through metal without a problem, their wrinkled edges made it more challenging. The easiest and cleanest way to cut is with a sharp knife.
The refrigerator door slid into a rather slim slot in its original position. It is a little narrower than the cardboard and metal laminate on the dry-erase board. To make it a little thinner, lay the dry-erase board face down on a flat surface and press the borders with your hands or a small round object, like a screwdriver.
This groove needs to be crimped slightly, so the dry-erase board slides back into it.
Upon cutting and crimping the board, it should slide back into the groove where the old door was. If the edges are too tight, crimp them a little more. In our experience, it is best to have two people—one at the top of the door and one at the bottom. It helps ensure that it slides straight in. You can snap the black plastic trim into place after you’ve inserted it all the way (make sure it goes underneath the frame on the hinge side).
Once the layer is in, check if there are any exposed sharp edges around the sides, and you’re good to go!
You can use the same steps for your freezer doors. For $8.96, we found another (even cheaper) 17 x 23-inch magnetic dry-erase board at Walmart. In this case, the frame was black wood instead of aluminum, but the process was the same.
Remove the black plastic trim on the old freezer door when the door is open and slide it out.
Remove the black plastic trim from the freezer door and slide out the old door.
Afterward, the board is cut to size, crimped at the edges, and slid into place, the same thing we did with the fridge door.
It is finally done—the ugly, heavy, dark wooden door has been replaced with something much brighter and more useful!
The old doors were put in storage in case we ever wanted to put them back in. There wasn’t any damage during this modification, so if we ever sold the trailer, we could easily add them back in.
When we saw the original refrigerator and freezer, we knew we wanted to upgrade them. Our family uses it daily for shopping lists, meal plans, and sketches of other ideas we’re considering.