In my opinion, unless you are moving into a brand new home, contact paper is a must and even then, it’s a pretty handy dandy product. It’s certainly easier to replace than a laminate shelf covered in spilled nail polish or a drawer that warps when a damp loofah gets tossed in by mistake. (I speak from experience)
When we first moved in, I managed to get most of the kitchen and all of the master bath lined but having a “little helper” at home without a big sister to occupy him meant the most important supply in contact paper placement was missing. (I’ll get to supplies in a moment.) With it being summer vacation, I decided to risk it, handed them a new box of Legos, and headed upstairs to take the Lord’s name in vain.
Lest that last comment deter you, putting in contact paper is not at all complicated. All you need is contact paper, scissors, a box cutter, and the patience to get it to lie flat where you want it. (That’s the clincher). Some people like to measure it out exactly before they wrestle with it and if that’s you, you’ll want a ruler instead of a box cutter.
I’ve done it both ways and I don’t think measuring it makes it any easier, so I just eyeball using the grids on the back (erring on the side of too big). When it comes to paper, I’m brand loyal and I only get the smooth kind (the textured stuff weirds me out). This is my favorite pattern because it doesn’t show overlap. It was all sold old (must be other people’s favorite as well) so I went with plain white. It does show overlap, but that doesn’t bother my kids. As for the patience, I don’t have it, so I swear a lot. (Sorry, Mom)
I started by clearing out and removing the drawers on one side of the vanity which is pretty painless unless you drop a drawer on your toe – which I did. After I stopped hopping and cursing, I gave everything a good wipe down with some hot soapy water (those drawer rails get really dusty) and then dried everything off really well. Once that was over, I rolled out the paper making a quick snip at the gridline that was just past the measurement of the drawer, set the drawer aside, and cut out my paper.
Then the cursing recommenced. This is my least favorite part of contact paper. You peel off the back, get it in position, and affix it to the surface hoping it doesn’t shift too much – smoothing out the bubbles as you go. I typically start at one corner and work in a diagonal – lifting/reattaching if it bubbles up. Sometimes I can get into a rhythm and it goes pretty quickly but most of the time, that isn’t my luck. Deep breaths and taking my time are about the only tricks I know for this part.
Because I use the gridlines on the back, I usually have some extra paper that goes up along the sides of the drawer. I just use my box cutter to go around the bottom and then gently peel the edges up from the side taking extra care at the corners because they don’t like to peel off as easily.
(When you don’t take care at the corners you end up with corners that are kind of torn like mine above – again, kids’ bathroom). Then you get to put your finished (pretty) drawers back in and start over on the other side.
Once I finished the drawers, I thought about doing underneath the sink but decided to save hitting my head on plumbing for another day and joined my children (now with Legos everywhere and playing princess candyland) instead.