Introduction: Restoring Washing Machine Panel Symbols

About: Highschool language teacher.

(Please notice: I did this instructable two years ago. I thought I published it before, and then I found it on my drafts folder.)

In Spain we use to put washing machines inside the kitchen, under the counter. Most appliances advise not to wash them with soap, but, since you'll wash many times the kitchen counter, chances are some soap runs down to the washing machine panel, effectively erasing its symbols over time. (In my case, I have to admit there is another reason: I am very clumsy and tend to drop the soap when I do laundry).

I'll show you how I restored the symbols in the washing machine panel. It was a quick-and-dirty solution inspired by (I'm sure I saw this on instructables first, but I can't find it).

I'll simply re-draw the panel using a computer, print it, transfer it to transparent packing tape and stick it on its original position. Let's start.


You'll need the following tools:

  • Scanner.
  • Printer
  • Image editing software and know-how to use it.
  • A computer or similar hardware you can use with all the above tools.
  • A jar/bowl or other container for water.
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • The instruction manual of your appliance, in order to check the original text of the erased panel.

You'll need also the following materials:

  • Transparent packing tape. Try to get a good quality tape.
  • At least two sheets of paper, one for tracing and one for printing.
  • (Optional) trace paper. This substitutes one of the sheets of paper.
  • Baking paper, or a sheet of stick paper with no remaining sticks on it.

Step 1: Trace the Panel

Trace the panel. Ideally you should use tracing paper, but I didn't have any at hand, so I rubbed with a pencil to make a trace of the lights and buttons.

Then I scanned the image and moved it to Corel-Draw!. I used an old version of Corel Draw! that came with my graphics card, but I guess any vector drawing system allowing to keep size of scanned images will work.

I put the scanned image on a layer marked as "non-print" and "non-edit", then I added a new working layer.

I drew the shapes of the buttons and lights using ellipses and boxes. I looked for a similar text font and I checked the instruction manual of the washing machine to put the right text over every light and under every button.

Attached to this step you can see the original CDR file and a SVG exported from it.

Step 2: Print the Image and Stick It to Tape.

I printed the image. I made sure scanned trace was marked as "non printable", and autoscaling was off.

Then I cut the paper, leaving the lights line on a strip of paper and the buttons line on another strip of paper.

(Sorry, no photo available).

I carefully stuck each paper strip to a tape strip. To avoid fingerprints, I shouldn't touch the tape, but, as I said before, I am very clumsy, specially with sticky things.

I put the tape strip sticky side over some non-sticking material. I don't remember well, but probably it was an empty sticker paper (with no remaining sticks); you could use baking paper instead, if you don't use printer stickers in your workplace.

Then I rub the tape to make sure the printer ink transferred to the tape.

(Sorry, no photos available).

Finally, I carefully detached the tape from the non-sticking paper, and put it on a jar full of water.

Step 3: Remove the Paper.

Leave the tape on the water jar overnight.

After the tape has passed a night into water, I took it from the water jar.

I put it plastic side down and carefully scraped all the paper out from the tape.

Step 4: Erase Text From the Appliance

I cleaned from ink and letters the panel of the washing machine. I simply rubbed it with a cloth to remove all the lettering.

Step 5: Put the Tape on the Appliance

I placed the tape (sticky side down) over the buttons and, after finding the right position, cut the residual tape and stuck it firmly.
As you can see, I used two strips of paper/tape, one for the line of lights and another for the line of buttons.