Applying Contact Paper

One of the easiest ways to update the inside of drawers, shelves or in my case the top of my craft desk, is contact paper.  Adhesive contact paper can instantly brighten up a space and add some temporary color, but it is sometimes a pain to apply.

This is what my desk looked like before:

Not bad, but not very interesting.  It’s the Bedford collection from Pottery Barn and I love it.  It’s seen some abuse over the years though, even with an acrylic topper I have managed to nick the corners and such.

I didn’t want to paint the top of the desk so I decided to cover it with contact paper.  I purchased Macbeth chevron contact paper from Amazon.
Before applying contact paper it’s so important to get rid of any dust or debris from the surface.  I use a solution of 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol to clean almost any sealed surface (except unpainted wood).  It leaves no residue and dries streak free in an instant.  It’s also great for cleaning kitchen counters too, because it sanitizes without eroding the seal on the granite.
Once I prepped my surface, I rolled out my contact paper and measured the length I needed.  Then I cut along the printed grid on the back, making sure to cut precisely so I had the straightest line possible.
Then I folded down one corner of the paper backing and carefully aligned it with the edge of the surface. I made sure that it wasn’t twisted or crooked.  If you want you can let one edge hang off the end and cut it off after you’re finished (I’ll talk about that a bit later).
As I peeled the paper backing off I smoothed out the air bubbles by pressing the top of the contact paper with my free hand.  After I peeled off all the paper I went back with my vinyl card (a credit card works too) to smooth it out even more.
Almost done.  My desk is wider than the contact paper.  So…once I finished applying the first length of paper I had to fill in the gap at the back of the desk. To do this, I first measured how much I needed to fill in.
Then I measured my paper and cut it longer than the measured space.
Using the same techniques above, I lined up my corner and my pattern with the paper already applied. I overlapped my pattern about 3/4″ so I could cut off the excess. Then I peeled off the paper backing, smoothing it as I went.
Using an X-ACTO Knife and very light pressure, I carefully cut through the top layer of vinyl along the edge of the overlapping pattern.  This makes the seam between the two less visible. Don’t laugh at my grubby knife; it’s seen a lot of use. lol
Finally, I ran my X-ACTO Knife blade along the edge of the desk at a 45 degree angle to cut off the excess liner. This works really well when lining drawers, because instead of trying to measure and cut to get an exact fit, I just cut the paper larger than needed, press it down and then run the blade along the corners and trim off the excess.
Last, I put my acrylic topper back on the desk to protect my pretty new surface.  If I ever get brave enough to paint this desk or just decide to change the paper it’s as easy as peeling up the contact paper. Such a pretty pattern.  I’m loving my new craft desk surface!
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Applying Contact Paper — 2 Comments

    • I have never experienced a problem with the Contact brand papers. They have never left a residue on anything I have tried. However, it might leave a residue if left for many years or exposed to extreme heat.

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