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The Best Contact Paper

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Buyer's Guide

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying Contact Papers

Contact paper is an excellent technique to give your property a new look. Contact paper, in addition to being available in a variety of patterns, is also simple to apply.

It has an adhesive backing that allows you to easily apply it to any surface without damaging or leaving a residue.

If you've never used contact paper before, here are some things you should know before you buy: what type of surface the contact paper requires to attach correctly, how to apply it properly, and how much contact paper you'll need.

What exactly is a contact paper?

blue accent contact paper

Contact paper is a vinyl sheet with an adhesive backing. The backing makes contact with and adheres to the surface that the paper is intended to cover. Contact paper can be used on a variety of vinyl replacement surfaces.

The surface on which the contact paper will be put must be smooth in order to be compatible. This can be plastic, glass, tile, stone, or anything else with a smooth surface. This does not imply that it must be flat; it may contain curves and lumpy places. It also does not have to be a perfectly smooth surface with no flaws or inconsistencies.

In most situations, the various varieties of contact materials available are designed to be flexible, which means that they can expand and contract. It also enables the paper to glide up and down on the sticky backing.

Contact Paper VS. Wallpaper

Wallpaper has recently become extremely popular, peaking in popularity around 2017, but contact paper has been around for nearly as long. Contact paper and peel and stick wallpaper are both paper or vinyl-based products with a decorative front and an adhesive backing. They mostly differ in installation method – contact paper is typically installed on horizontal surfaces, whereas peel and stick wallpaper is typically installed on vertical surfaces.

If only installed on the walls, wallpaper will adhere well in a bathroom. It will, however, not last as long if there are a lot of steamy showers or condensation in the bathroom. Contact paper, on the other hand, will last a long time in a bathroom depending on where it is installed. Countertops, backsplashes, window privacy films, and other low-water contact installations will last for many years, but shower or bath tiles will not.

Different Types Of Contact Paper

different patterns contact paper

Vinyl Contact Paper

The most common type of contact paper is vinyl contact paper. It is a low-cost material with a decorative surface on one side and a highly adhesive surface on the other. With little effort, the paper adheres to the desired surface. It is typically sold in roll form, with the user cutting the material to size.

Both the vinyl and the backings are typically bright, colorless, and colorless. Depending on the design of your home, you can usually get plain contact paper in a variety of patterns. Plain contact paper is not as long-lasting as other forms of contact paper.

Shelf Liner Contact Paper

Shelf liner contact paper protects cabinets from the damaging properties of moisture – contact papers are designed to keep surfaces clean and dry, preventing moisture as well as stains. This type of contact paper eases the burden of cleaning because crumbs, dust, spills, and leaks are unavoidable, especially in the kitchen, pantry, and refrigerator.

Stainless Steel Contact Paper

The very first thing you should know about stainless steel paper, which is used to resurface kitchen appliances, is that it is metallic. This means it is reflective, but more importantly, you must be careful not to bend it or cause a crease in it, as you might with a thin sheet of metal.

This type of contact paper is made to look like stainless steel. Many people claim that you can't tell the difference between genuine stainless steel and contact paper.

Glass Contact Paper

Glass contact papers are designed to provide a sense of privacy without using window shades or curtains. It creates the appearance of frosted glass. It is a low-cost method of creating a privacy window in a bathroom or any other window where you want some privacy but not a loss of light.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing Contact Papers

How You Plan on Using it

Most surfaces can be covered with contact paper. Certain surfaces, however, are better suited than others, and you may need to apply some particular treatments to a few surfaces. In addition to these suggestions, consider how it will be used in your home. This should assist you in determining how much contact paper you'll require. When you are ready to install contact paper, think about how it will be used in your home so that you can find the most suitable material for your project.

Quality of the Material

Make sure to consider the quality of the contact paper you’re buying, especially if you plan on keeping it on for a long time. Cheap materials tend to wear a lot quicker than high-quality ones. So make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when choosing a contact paper for your home.


Assuming it will stay on your countertops, shelves, or bathrooms for awhile, make sure to browse thoroughly to see all the designs. There are plenty on the internet, you just have to find what you like most.


Contact paper is generally inexpensive, but there are shops that are more pricey than others. Be sure to search online for a variety of prices, you might find a high value shop that sells at a reasonable price.

Contact Paper Uses

marble design contact paper

The most typical applications for contact paper are for mirrors, shelves, and countertop. It can also be used to cover kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers, bookshelves, closets, and pantry areas. More common uses for a contact paper:

  • Covering old appliances (stainless steel contact paper)
  • As a bookshelf backsplash
  • For added privacy on your bedroom windows
  • On patio doors to keep the hot sun out or to provide additional privacy
  • Over old floors to give them a new look
  • On the blades of ceiling fans
  • On stair risers
  • As a kitchen backsplash

Application Reminders

  • When applying contact paper, avoid extremely textured surfaces as it will not stick properly.
  • If you want to utilize contact paper on your kitchen cabinets, you'll need a non-toxic finish.
  • Because contact paper does not attach well to soapy or wet surfaces, you will need to use a sealer to adhere it to such surfaces.
  • There are numerous contact paper application tools that will make the application process easier and more successful.
  • Run a ruler (or any straight edged object) along the front surface as you apply the paper to push out any air bubbles as you go.
  • Wipe the paper down with a rag after it has been applied to ensure that it is adhered to the surface.
  • It's better to cut your paper too big than too small. A utility knife can be used to trim away excess paper for a finished edge.

contact paper installation

Final Thoughts

Contact paper is both long-lasting and simple to use. The key to success is to follow the application and preparation processes. Most contact papers are plastic-coated to create an easy-to-clean surface. Some of the patterns are exact replicas of textures such as wood, granite, marble, leather, and other natural surfaces. This genuine appearance appeals to those who want to create the illusion of marble shelves without the expense. Flowers, ivy, and lattice-work designs are just a few examples of decorative patterns that can be used to add a splash of color and even whimsy.


What is contact paper used for?

Frosting Windows: Want to give a unique touch to an otherwise boring plate-glass window or add privacy? Contact paper that is specifically designed for glass can be purchased. You don't have to worry about getting it right the first time, no matter how intricate the pattern is. Contact paper is great because you can easily reposition it until you are happy with the results.

Make a Feature Wall: Contact paper is an option for those who aren't sure how long they'll enjoy the design.

Repurpose Old Dressers: You can often find old dressers at garage sales or used furniture shops for very little. You can make them look like a million dollars by covering the drawers in contact paper. Remove and replace all hardware. Next, lay down your paper. Voila! In less than an hour, you can transform a shabby look into something chic. It is rare that projects are so easy.

Kitchen Countertops: Replacing or refinishing kitchen counters can be costly! Most of the time. You can change the look of your most used rooms in your home for next to nothing by using contact paper. You can choose a durable design, such as one that imitates natural stones like marble or granite. Then apply the material using a credit card to smoothen things. Are there any air holes? Use a pin to pop them.

Kitchen Backsplash: Looking for an easy and quick way to update your backsplash? It can be very simple and satisfying to cover it with contact paper. Paper offers almost limitless color and pattern options. On the other hand, it is durable and can withstand regular cleaning. Are you tired of this look? You can simply take it off and do something else.

Does contact paper attract roaches?

According to The Kitchn, cockroaches have a penchant in contact paper. While we might think food is their only lure, but they actually eat everything, from hair to paper to your sheets of contact paper.

Does contact paper really come off?

It can be very frustrating to get rid of contact paper, but it is possible! You will need heat to remove contact paper that is stuck to wood, metal or countertops. Set your hairdryer to the highest setting. To warm the adhesive, move it across the contact paper. Begin at one corner and begin to peel off the paper. You may find that bits of the paper stick to the surface. To remove those bits, use a scraper. Use a rubbing alcohol or industrial strength adhesive to remove any sticky residue.

What is another name for contact paper?

Most people refer to self-adhesive paper used to line shelves and more as “contact paper.” That's because the trademark name, Con-Tact Brand, represents the product that has been around for more than 40 years and is the major player in the self-adhesive paper category.

Can I use contact paper to cover my walls?

You can create paint-like patterns on walls with contact paper, believe it or not. There's very little chance of making a mess if you use adhesive paper. You can also cover walls in any shape or manner you like, and you can easily reverse it when you want it.

Can I use contact papers as a backsplash?

Contact paper can be used to create any shape of tile you want, provided you have the right scissors skills. To make it look like tiles, simply cut the pieces and stick them to the wall.

Will contact paper peel off paint?

You should be able apply the contact paper easily if the wood has been sealed with a high quality varnish. If the varnish or paint quality is poor, the paint may peel off the contact paper.

You should use a citrus-based adhesive remover if you have to remove adhesive from sealed or painted surfaces. Solvent-based adhesive cleaners can disintegrate varnish and cause damage to furniture.

How well does contact paper hold up on countertops?

The contact paper is very durable, very thick, and very sticky, but pretty easy to work with. The best trick for working with it is to spray lots of water on the counter before applying the contact paper. If you apply it properly, it will hold up pretty well.

Will contact paper damage cabinets?

Contact paper can leave a sticky residue. Use it only on items you want to cover permanently. The residue that is removed can cause damage to surfaces, especially porous ones like wood.

Can I use contact paper on a desk?

Marble contact paper is a cost-effective and affordable way to add glimmer to your desks. It can be difficult to apply sticky back vinyl or contact paper, but it wouldn be pretty worth it once you see the results.

Is contact paper waterproof?

The contact paper's decorative side is typically made from plastic, which makes it durable and waterproof.

Will contact paper ruin painted walls?

The adhesive can be quite strong, so it is not recommended to try to remove the contact paper, it will chip off paint. You should consider other options, such as priming your walls or sanding the walls before you apply any type of contact paper.

Contact paper can ruin painted walls when you try to remove it the wrong way. Standard wallpaper-removal products won't work because the adhesive is water-resistant.

How do you remove old contact paper?

The easiest way to get rid of contact paper is to heat it. This melts the adhesive that holds it to the surface. If the hairdryer is unable to reach all the contact paper, you can use an extension cord.

To warm the adhesive, move the hairdryer across the contact paper. Start in an easy-to-reach corner and move the hairdryer about 3 in (7.6cm) from the contact paper. Slowly move your hairdryer over the area. Pay attention to any corners or edges that you are able to remove the paper from. Keep heating the hairdryer until you see a portion of the contact paper lift up. The paper should begin to lift up in a matter of minutes.

Take the contact paper off of a corner or an edge. Find the area where the contact papers have lifted the most. To remove the contact paper, use your fingers to grasp it with a firm grip. You can heat the adhesive to melt any stubborn areas or break it if you reach them. Try to get rid of as much contact paper as possible.

It is recommended to use the hairdryer simultaneously when removing the contact paper in stubborn cases. Using a scraper will prove to be useful too. Even though the heat can be very effective, some areas may remain stubborn. Apply heat, then use a scraper to lift any stubborn pieces of paper. You should be able to peel off the contact paper once you see an edge lifting.

To remove sticky residue, use adhesive remover on a sponge. Put on gloves and dampen a sponge with adhesive cleaner. There are many adhesive removers available at home improvement and craft stores. Before you apply the adhesive, make sure to read the label. You can also use rubbing alcohol as an adhesive remover.

How do you seal contact papers?

If you don’t have any edge strips, push the contact paper into the back corner of the counter and trim the paper to fit flush against the back. To seal the area and give it a seamless look, use silicone or caulking in a matching color. Do not apply caulking to your backsplash until you have completed the other tasks.

Is it possible to paint on contact paper?

You can paint over contact paper, but you must use a primer. It can be used with glossy paints, glass, and plastic laminate countertops and cabinets. If you suspect that there may be oil or grease on the contact paper, make sure to clean it before you paint.

Can you Modge podge over contact paper?

Yes. Contact paper is very flexible, so you can un-peel it and move the contact paper around as many times as you like. To glue down the paint chips, you can use Mod Podge or glue dots.

Can you use contact paper on ceiling?

It is possible to put contact paper on the ceiling. Although the process of applying contact papers to a ceiling is not easy, you can ask for help to make the process easier. Because the contact paper hangs upside down, it can be a challenge to apply. To reinforce the adhesive, you will need to add a little wallpaper glue around the edges. This will prevent any gaps or sagging that gravity may cause.

Can contact paper be used as wallpaper?

Yes. Contact paper may help you get a stylish look whether you're planning to decorate a modest apartment or saving money on a room makeover. This temporary wallpaper is available in a range of colors and textures to help you modify your space.

How do you cover drawers with contact paper?

Absolutely. To line a drawer with contact paper, cut the paper to the exact dimensions of the drawer. Simply remove the backing from the contact paper, smooth it into the drawer, and then cut away any excess paper.

Can you put contact paper on a refrigerator?

Yes! Whether you're renting or owning, a dingy fridge may be brought back to life with removable contact paper. When your lease is over, you can simply remove the contact paper. It's a simple project that won't cost you a lot.

Can you use contact paper to cover cake boards?

Using contact paper on a celebration cake board is an excellent way to give it an additional touch. It is very easy to apply contact paper on your cake board. These food-safe, self-adhesive papers come in a variety of fun designs and colors.

How do you smooth out air bubbles under contact paper?

The easiest way to remove stubborn bubbles under contact paper is by using a hairdryer. Switch it on medium-high heat and move the hairdryer over the contact paper for a minute to remove the bubbles.

Can you use contact paper on bathroom walls?

You have two options: wallpaper and paint or adhesive paper. This is a quick way to transform your bathroom. Contact paper can be used to make a pattern on one wall.

Contact paper won't hold up in the steamy bathroom. Putting contact paper on tile never looks quite right. If you do want to give it a try, you will have to take a chance.

Can you use contact paper to laminate?

Clear contact paper is a better choice than expensive laminators to protect your papers and projects. Laminating can be a great way for your children to keep their artwork, chores, and dinner menus.

Clear contact paper adds a layer of protection to prevent the project or paper from being ripped or stained. Laminating with contact papers is permanent. Clear contact paper might not be perfectly clear so before you start your project, test it on a scrap of paper.

Do you need to seal contact paper?

Contact paper is an extremely durable material. It can be used without sealing. But, if you must, caulking may be used to seal the edges of cut contact paper in areas where moisture and high humidity are involved, such as in bathrooms or kitchens.

Is contact paper the same as peel and stick wallpaper?

Although they are similar, contact paper and peel and stick wallpaper has two distinct uses. Contact paper is more versatile than other types of adhesive paper. Although you can technically use contact paper as a substitute, peel-and-stick wallpaper may be less versatile and more durable.

Does contact paper stick to wood?

Contact paper can dramatically turn basic particle board into a variety of opulent textures, ranging from marble to textured oak. It also creates a fantastic surface within kitchen cabinets or any kitchen surfaces that need to be tidy. It is easy to clean, and a great way to transform a piece of old wooden furniture.

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