Re cover old countertops with Con-Tact Papers!

Hello! So for my very first post I’m going to show you a big project that I just finished.

Do you hate your counter tops? Do you rent and aren’t able to make changes? Or maybe you own your home but realize that new counter tops cost like, a gazillion (okay not really, but good counter tops sure seem to cost that much) dollars? Then boy have I got something for you! Recover those bad boys! I had talked about doing this in the apartment with my mom but I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out. I was worried it’d end up being expensive, really hard, or that there would be really obvious seams and when anyone would see it they would say “Why is your counter covered in sticky paper?” But after doing a little research and finding out how cheap this really is to do I figured I’d give it a shot.

I found granite contact paper on a 18in x 24ft roll for only $9.97 at Home Depot. I also found that Dollarama has rolls too but I think they’re only 4 ft or something like that and I tried one of them first on my bathroom sink and it just wasn’t working. It’s pretty flimsy and if by chance it sticks to itself, scrap the whole section cause it’s stuck for good. I used it on the top of the vanity in the bathroom to cover up the old stainless steel, but after working with Con-Tact I really prefer the brand name stuff. I also picked up a 18in x 9ft roll of faux wood grain paper for $4.97.  All together this project cost me about 30$ after taxes, and that’s only because Home Depot was sneaky and had the small rolls labeled as the larger ones so I ended up having to go back for more. I still have quite a bit left over even after doing my bathroom counter so one 24 ft roll should do you unless you have a lot of counter space.

What I did:

First off make sure your counters are clean and dry, I used some Vim and hot water and washed it down, then went over it again with regular warm water to make sure any residue was off.

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I also washed down a little piece of trim that’s right under the counter facing the living room, because I wanted to put the wood grain print there.

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Then I got to work measuring and cutting. You want to make sure to leave about an inch extra all around, then trim it with a box knife or razor blade to get it as close as possible. I wanted to have the grain going horizontal, so I just cut it out in long strips. The paper has a grid on the back that makes it a little easier to keep things square, though its plastered in directions that cover up a lot of the grid.

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Peel off the corner of the backing and then line it up with the edge. Those buddies can be pretty hard to separate so you might have to use your nails. You’ll also want a credit card or a small squeegee to help make sure no air bubbles get trapped under the paper. I used our laundry card, lol. You1 can also see my cat Tucker being a creeper. He was in the middle of licking his paw when I snapped this, he’s not that menacing all the time, I promise.

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After you get the first piece up, line the grain up with the second piece and make sure to leave about a centimeter of overlap. The directions say that it’s possible that the paper can shrink a little bit, so with this much overlap you won’t end up with any gaps. After you get the pieces up, take your blade and trim off the excess paper.

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It took three pieces to cover the length of the trim, and you can see the seams somewhat, but I really don’t mind at all. Getting this done just made me that much more excited for the counters!

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For the counter:

A couple “Before” shots. Yes that’s an upside down hanger wrapped around the cabinet handles. It’s the only way to keep Tucker out otherwise he gets in our trash. (I said he wasn’t menacing, but he is a little turd.) Our counter also has a built in cutting board that I neither trust nor use. I just drown it in bleach every so often because I’m convinced that germs are hiding all over it.

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I decided to start by the fridge and get the bare counter done before I moved on to trying to go around the sink and the cutting board. Halfway through rolling out the first section I was more excited than ever. Goodbye boring counter tops!

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There was a wall section that stuck out into the counter top because it has to be like the rest of the apartment and make me frustrated. I rolled up to the edge and then cut the notch out as I was smoothing out the paper. Look at that paint job! Things like that is why I’m working so hard to improve on this little apartment, lol.

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So after I forgot that the notch goes back in I learned why I picked the granite pattern. It is very forgiving. I just took some smaller scraps and patched in what wasn’t covered up and you couldn’t even tell. If you choose to go with marble or some other pattern that needs to be lined up, be careful because it isn’t nearly as forgiving.

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First section is done! From there it went really well, I got that entire section of counter done, then I realized that Home Depot pulled one over on me and sold me a short roll, so I had to go back for more. I used up as much as I could of the scraps that I had though, and did the corners of the sink when I looked over and saw Tucker being creepy yet again. I guess he thought I needed supervising, haha.

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So I did around the corners of the sink, that way I could just come in with some rectangular pieces to finish it off. I headed back to Home Depot feeling pretty proud of myself. (By the way I found several more mislabeled rolls that were in the more expensive spot, and when I told the cashier he said I was the only person who had bought contact paper in probably two months. Lets start covering counters and change that!)

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When I got back with my giganta roll of paper I filled in around the sink a bit more and started doing the little back splash area. By that time I had a nice collection of scraps hanging from my cabinets and had resolved that my next project was doing something with that hideous plug in/switch.

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Also just a word of advice, please try and get a box knife. I used a razor blade with one half wrapped in tape, because that’s what I learned to do when I was a poor college student majoring in fine arts. But seriously, safety first folks.

I had the sink completely surrounded and the back splash done, then I just filled in all the remaining space and went around the cutting board the same way I did the sink. I took some of the wood grain paper and filled in the middle of the cutting board. I never use it, but at least it’ll look pretty now.

The finished product:

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Overall I was extremely happy with how it turned out and I would definitely recommend that anyone on a budget or in a rental space try this out if they want to spruce up their old counter tops. Next, I’ll take my extra and do the bathroom… after I take a rest. In all this took me about three hours to do, but probably would have taken a little over two if I didn’t have to go pick up more Con-Tact Paper.

There it is! My first post all grown up and being read by the world! Hopefully you enjoyed this post and I’ll keep posting about the new projects I get myself into. For now just one more picture, because Tali didn’t want to be left out.

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See you guys next post,

Amber

* HEY YOU!

Just a disclaimer as short as someone who needs a stool to reach her top cabinets (me, what??) Con-Tact paper is not SUPPOSED to stick permanently. This is why it’s popular doing it with rentals/ as a nice change of scenery. But make sure your landlord won’t flip out on you before you do it. We’ve got a cool land lady and from when I did the vanity in my bathroom I didn’t have any problems with residue or stickiness, but use at YOUR OWN discretion aka common sense says sticky stuff might leave sticky stuff behind, and don’t blame me if it does, just read this. It’s “Helpful Hints” found on the back of the Con-Tact sheet.

1) Bubbles: Simply puncture bubble with pin and flatten. Smooth with a plastic straight edge.

2) Cleaning: Wipe with damp cloth or sponge and mild soap.

3) To Remove: Begin at one corner and peel off. Peel at 180 degree angle to minimize effect on surface. Gentle heat from a hairdryer can help.

4) To Remove Residual Adhesive: Use rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol/household cleaners for tougher residue.