Barbie Sweet Roses Fridge – Refurbishment

One of my aunts is an antique dealer and knowing I was trying to put together a playscale dollhouse, she kept an eye out for old dollhouse furniture for me and found some of the Barbie Sweet Roses furniture from 1987. She actually found more than the fridge for me, there is also a kitchen set, a cabinet, sofa, chairs and a few other things, most of which are from the Sweet Roses collection. Anyway I decided to tackle the fridge first as I have been wanting a new fridge since I kinda mucked up the repaint of the hot pink barbie fridge I had.

This Sweet Roses fridge had been in an attic and it has yellowed with age and heat. I know that originally the fridge was white, and inside there is some light pink detailing. The great thing about this Barbie fridge is that it’s quite a bit deeper than the current barbie fridges on the market, which means it can hold more cute re-ment food! But more importantly this Barbie Fridge from the 80s is more to scale than the newer fridges, meaning when Pullip goes to open the top freezer, she will actually be looking into the freezer and not looking at the top of the fridge. This old fridge is also much better put together as well, for example the shelves inside are nice and level and don’t sag like the latest fridge does. XP

So the first stage of refurbishment was to scrub down the fridge which was a little dirty, and to get the old yellowed and torn decals off of it. It took some effort to get the decals off, because the glue was really holding them on there. With the newer fridges, just a 15-30 minute soak in hot and soapy water will pretty much remove the cecals easy, but this one required more elbow grease. In the end after a soak in warm soapy water wasn’t doing the trick, I broke out the isopropyl alcohol and rubbed it down, finally removing the decals.

After removing the decals I noticed that the plastic underneath wasn’t as yellowed as the rest of the plastic, which is unfortunate. You can see it just barely in the pic above. Now this leads to me to decide what to do next. I’ve heard that putting yellowed plastics in a bleach or hydrogen peroxide bath can help remove yellowing, but I’ve also heard that it can make the plastics more brittle. I have also considered a repaint, but after my last failure, I’m not too keen in wrecking yet another fridge. There is also the fact that the way this fridge it put together means I can’t separate parts nearly as easily for repainting either. Whatever I decide to do, I’ll probably continue to post the results here.

For now though I have placed it in my dollhouse kitchen and been messing around with furniture arrangement. My kitchen is really coming along now, especially since my mother found me the brown re-ment china cabinet when she was shopping in Pittsburgh. The dimensions of the Sweet Roses fridge works really well for my kitchen, it fits neatly in the space between the two windows, but I would need to make some sort of cabinet to go in the space between the red re-ment kitchen and the fridge. I would also eventually like to make some red wall cabinets to match and pull the room together more. Still a lot of work to do, but little by little I am getting there. :)

5 Comments

  • Hippolyta says:

    I hope you give us an update if you do more work on this fridge – it’s really charming. I have a vintage Pedigree Sindy one which looks similar but I’m too scared to mess with it and at least it’s not pink… The two barbie fridges I repainted wouldn’t bare too much scrutiny *winces* It’s tricky…

  • Amy says:

    I will definitely give an update if I decide to do more with the fridge. Right now it’s still sitting in my doll’s kitchen. I think I got a little discouraged after my peroxide bath didn’t whiten it. As you seem already aware, painting a fridge can be so tricky/finicky and I am reluctant to try again. I may try another peroxide bath though and this time have the bath less diluted. There was a specific ratio of water to peroxide that people used to brighten old Transformers plastics, so maybe I should just be more diligent with that!

  • Kaelyn says:

    Instead of just soaking the fridge in the peroxide you could try scrubing it. Possibly with peroxide (again), water, or soap.
    P.S. (Post Script) Where did you find the stove/oven/sink, antique shopping?

  • Amy says:

    Yeah I am thinking of trying a new method. I know that the Transformer enthusiasts out there are able to whiten old plastic with peroxide, so I should probably give it a go again.

    As for the sink/stove combo, that is actually a Re-Ment piece…I don’t know if they sell it anymore, it came in white and red. You might look around and see…usually it’s referred to as a “Re-Ment Kitchen” if that will help your searching. The little oven on the countertop is also a Re-Ment…it’s a Hello Kitty toaster oven. I think you should still be able to find that one fairly easy as it isn’t but maybe a year old or so.

  • Kaelyn says:

    Yep I found the toaster oven, too bad the others are discontinued. Oh well, many thanks!




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