I featured part of Kathy’s kitchen recently — spotlighting how she found resources to fix her vintage GE oven and electric range top here on the blog. But golly, I saved more wowza from her delightful kitchen for this second story: Kathy crafted her own decorative dishwasher panel — using an enlargement she made from the cover of her grandmother’s vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. The dishwasher panel not only suits her kitchen design to a tee, but it reflects the kitchen’s historic connection with Betty Crocker, too. Read on to see how Kathy completed this easy DIY, and for a peek at the other side of her perfect wood-yellow-red kitchen.
The dishwasher was a recent project of mine. My dishwasher works fine but it is 20 years old, and I wanted to do something to make it fit in more with the retro look. Having a budget of next to nothing I had to get my creative juices going. I thought about spray painting it yellow to match the oven/stove, but I didn’t want to chance the mess or doing it badly. Then I thought of those huge magnets for sale in the country magazines that decorate the front of dishwashers for $55. None of their decorator designs really satisfied the retro look I was looking for. But, it gave me the idea of covering the front panel with a picture of something retro. I thought about what would be fun and chose to pay homage to my grandma with a poster that I had made from her 1950’s Betty Crocker cookbook, which I still use today.
…the original owner was a professional cook in the Betty Crocker test kitchens in Golden Valley, Minnesota at General Mills near my home.
This was also why Kathy wanted to rescue the stove — she wanted to retain that fascinating connection to Betty Crocker history. How cool — and what a great idea to carry the Betty Crocker homage to the dishwasher panel! Kathy continues with her DIY steps:
First, I had the cookbook scanned and made into a poster. Before cutting it to put on the dishwasher, I made a pattern first. To do this, I measured the dishwasher panels… I did the math to add the two panels together as one piece, so that my pattern could be split without losing some of the design… and then, I made a plain paper pattern.
Second, I laid the pattern on top of the poster to gauge where I wanted to cut my design… traced around the pattern with a pencil… cut out the pattern… and made sure to cut it a tiny bit smaller so it would stay within the edges of my dishwasher. Then I cut the poster into two pieces, one for each panel.
Third, I had the two pieces laminated at the local copy/office supply store, where the laminating is a little thicker and sturdier than normal office/school laminating. This made the new panels a little sturdier. I had them leave a 1/4 inch of laminate all around the edges of each piece when they cut it for me. The laminating was around about $10 for my project, but they charge by the size of your piece of paper so yours might be different.
Then last, I took the poster pieces home and had intended on attaching them with double stick tape since my original dishwasher panel is not magnetic.
But then, I discovered that my older style dishwasher’s panels have an edge over-lapping the panels — and my newly laminated pieces could slip under the metal edges without the use of any tape. A much better solution since there would be no gaps where water/mess could get under the new panel. I used the end of a flat blade screwdriver to help slip the laminated poster under the metal edges.
I stepped back to admire my new retro look and was pleased at the kitsch I had created! I think this method could be used for posters, old wallpaper, children’s artwork, or even enlarge an old family photo to poster size at the warehouse club for cheap — and put grandma herself on your dishwasher!
Thank you, Kathy. What a fabulous project, and you know I love love love the Betty Crocker history. Also, your sense of design is awesome, in terms of color and scale, the decorative panel “works” perfectly in your kitchen!
Note: Before running this story, I checked with the PR folks at General Mills, owners of Betty Crocker, to make sure they thought that making an enlargement from their cookbook for a personal project like this was okay. They responded that they thought it was a fun project and gave me the green light. Thanks for the luv, General Mills!