If you are lucky to have a brand new kitchen, all shiny with modern finishes, you are most probably thinking that this post is not for you. But before leaving this page, read along because there might be more applications to this easy DIY than you may think. It started with the need to replace the most hideous dishwasher kick plate, but I now find that this idea can be used in various ways.
Our kitchen is older but in good shape and there is no renovation planned ahead, apart from small projects that I can undertake myself. When we moved into the house last June, one thing that needed to be replaced right away was the dishwasher’s kick plate – I didn’t take a picture before throwing it away, but it was a black plastic kick plate with a coat of white paint on top ~ to match the color of the cabinets baseboard, I guess. The paint was chipping and falling on the floor and the kick plate was constantly out of place as it was not properly attached to the dishwasher. On the back part, it had a thick layer of insulation that was all dirty. And the kick plate also had a weird shape – it was extending outwards, no wonder we were constantly hitting it with our feet. I contacted the manufacturer, hoping that I could purchase a stainless steel kick plate to match the dishwasher, and that would also be strong and rigid so that it could stay in place. Unfortunately, the only kick plate for this model was the exact same plastic one I already had, available in two colors, black or white. Although a bit disappointed, I ordered the white one as it seemed that I had no other option. At least, it would be new, white and clean.
Two weeks later, I had the brand new plastic white kick plate for my dishwasher but I still had a problem: it moved around every time we vacuumed, or whenever we just accidentally touched it with our foot. You can see its strange shape, here. I guess it is supposed to attach to the metallic brackets on the right and left side of the dishwasher, but no screws were included, nor any directions.
A few months went by and it hadn’t occur to me that I could easily fix this problem until I was shopping at my local hardware store. That’s when I saw a stand with balsa wood boards and balsa wood sticks in various sizes. Balsa wood is a very lightweight and soft wood, used mostly to make model airplanes; it can also be found at hobby stores and craft stores.
With a sharp knife, you can give the shape you want to any piece of balsa wood. In order to make my board stay in place between the two cabinet baseboards (on the right and left of the dishwasher) without using complicated tools or hardware, I simply trimmed thin pieces of wood, a little at a time, to get to the point the board would fit tightly in between the dishwasher’s opening. I also trimmed a small part from the top of the panel so that it can be pulled out easily for cleaning and/or when the dishwasher will need to be hauled out.
Then I painted the board ~ with craft paint actually ~ and positioned it in place.
That’s certainly an upgrade! I guess if I wanted, I could make it look like the cabinets baseboard by adding a strip of balsa wood running along the bottom part. But this photo is taken from a lower elevation, so we usually don’t have such a close view of the bottom part of the dishwasher. I think that it looks absolutely fine as is!
In literally five minutes, this custom made kick plate was in place without drilling holes, without using a saw, or any other tool. The piece of balsa wood I bought cost about $3, while the plastic kick plate from the manufacturer was about $60 with taxes and shipping. I now regret for rushing to order and not trying to DIY this earlier.
As I am adding the photos to this post, I think I could also add a strip of balsa wood between the top part of the dishwasher and the countertop. We also have an IKEA dresser that lost its kick plate during the last move and we got an estimate that was above $100 to have it fixed (!). I ‘m about to give it a little remake and I will certainly use this idea to add the missing kick plate.
So, keep this tip in mind. You never know when you will need it!