© Nicole Dinardo

The results are out-of-this-world gorgeous.

March 24, 2017

Custom-painted KitchenAid mixers: It’s such a fabulous idea, we’re not sure why we didn’t think of it before.

Lucky for us, Nicole Dinardo's already got it covered. For her, the pretty, painted appliances are more than just fun to look at; they actually pay her bills. In her 2,500 square-foot shop in Arlington, Washington, she paints at least several of them per month, with requests coming in every day from all over the country.

That’s partly owed to the free publicity she gets every time Ree Drummond, known to many Americans as Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman,” pulls out her own Dinardo original on her ultra-popular, eponymous show. Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, and Mario Batali are also proud owners of Dinardo mixers.

Oh, and Beyoncé, who had hers decked out in 23-karat gold. And Oprah, too. No big deal.

“I was an artist first, and then I got into airbrushing in 2005,” Dinardo told Food & Wine in a phone interview. “And then I just started painting the mixers for fun, you know, for friends and family. It snowballed from there.”

 © Nicole Dinardo

You might be tempted to try painting your mixer at home after seeing Dinardo’s designs. If so, be warned: Her process is extremely complicated — so complicated, in fact, that it's nearly impossible to replicate. Besides the obvious artistic skill required, there are also layers of masking, taping, and sealing involved, plus some basic engineering.

 © Nicole Dinardo

“It’s pretty intricate,” she said. “Before I even get a client on board, I have to add the reverse tape mask to my vector program and draw everything out on my computer for the final design. Then, I scale it to the mixer size, cut out the design, and tape it. I leave a hole where I’m painting, and the rest of the mixer is completely covered up.”

Once the painting’s done, Dinardo unmasks the mixers and preps them for a final, shiny coat of clear sealant in a process that can take up to 12 weeks.

Dinardo credits the success of her small business to Google and Pinterest searches; after all, she pretty much monopolizes the "handpainted mixer" market. 

As for the now-legendary Drummond mixer, which features lush pink flowers on a cheerful orange backdrop: “I actually did hers in 2012. I had already been doing mixers for other people,” explained Dinardo. “I made 4 of them originally, and she ended up doing giveaways on her site for 3 of them.”

“She’s a really sweet lady and it was fun to collaborate,” she continued. “Now, I’m just excited to keep painting and doing what I love. I’m excited for what’s next.”

Dinardo's designs retail from around $300 to $1400 (not including the mixer itself), but vary project to project. To learn more or order your own, visit her website.