Friday, June 8, 2018

Best Way to Line Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers - Con-Tact Brand Paper

Best Way to Line Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers Reviewed
Cabinet & Drawers I Covered in My Daughters New Home
Con-Tact® Brand Creative Covering Adhesive Shelf Liner in White Marble
When you buy an older home or rent an apartment, the inside of your cabinets can be like new by simply lining them with Adhesive Contact Paper. 

Our daughter has moved at least a dozen times since she graduated from high school.  First to dorm rooms each year, then to various apartments throughout her grad school years, and most recently due to job changes.  I'm not very helpful with moving boxes and furniture, therefore my job on moving day is to line the cabinets throughout the house with Contact Paper.  It's a great way to ensure that dishes, towels, and clothes will be placed on a clean surface. 

As we all know, apartments and dorm rooms frequently have annual occupant changes.  As a result, apartment kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as closet shelves, can be in varying states of cleanliness and condition.  Shelves can even have cracks or splinters in them that will ruin clothes.   Kitchen cabinets can have all kinds of stains or even unidentifiable gunk on them that require gloves and a face mask before you want to get close to them, much less, store your dishes or glassware on.   Contact Paper is a lifesaver, literally, in rental dwellings or when you buy a previously owned house.

How to Lay Contact Paper

Con-Tact Paper lining a shelf
Like anything we do to improve our homes, there are a few tricks to laying Contact Paper if you want it to look nice in addition to being clean.  First and foremost, measure then cut.  There are lines on the back of Contact Paper that guide for a pretty straight cut.  I intentionally over-cut the sides by 1/4", then trim it.

I always lay the straight edge at the front of the cabinet, which means the cut edges will be on the sides and back.  I trim those edges with a boxer cutter.

How to Lay Contact Paper in Cabinets

In cabinets, I start peeling the backing off in the front, pressing down the adhesive side to the shelf, and work from front to back, slowly removing the paper backing a little at a time.  After the backing is completely off, I smooth down the entire surface (again from front to back) with my hands.  If a small bubble is in the paper, I use a straight pin to pop the bubble, release the air, and smooth it out.

How to Lay Contact Paper in Drawers

Adhesive Contact Paper for lining shelves, drawers, cabinets & More
For drawers, I start at the front and work my way to the back.  Even if the drawers are removable, it is easier to get it laid flat and straight by starting at the front.  Also, you really want a prettier edge on the front that will show.  Some bottoms of cabinets or drawers are warped and it is impossible to get perfection. 

How to Lay Contact Paper on Shelves

For long removable shelves, the process is the same except I start on one end and work to the other end.  That is easier since the widest area is from side to side.

For a very small shelf, like a linen closet, I remove the backing completely and carefully lay the Contact Paper in place, then smooth it down with my hands.

If you are covering an extremely warped bottom or shelf, it may be necessary to cut the Contact Paper with a box cutter in an area that won't show or get a lot of wear and tear to force it to lay flat.  

How to Lay Contact Paper in Deep Cabinets

In all cases, I try to work with one main piece.  However, deep bottom kitchen cabinets will require two lengths of the paper in order to cover them.  I start with the piece that is cut for the back of the cabinet. Then, lay the front piece with the back edge of the front piece overlapping the front edge of the back piece.  That will help prevent the back piece of Contact Paper from coming up when you slide around products later or push them toward the back.

Benefits of Contact Paper

  • Adheres to a just about Any Surface
  • Gives a Clean, Non-Toxic Surface to Cabinets & Shelves
  • Wipes Clean with a Damp Cloth
  • 100% Vinyl
  • Easily Removable  (so you won't lose your rental deposit)
  • Thick Paper Surface that Won't easily Rip or Tear during normal use
  • Lasts for Years (even decades, if desired)
  • Comes in a Variety of Designs & Colors, including clear

How Much Contact Paper is Needed

Con-Tact Paper
Probably the hardest thing to determine is how many rolls you will need to cover an area.  I recommend buying more than you think you will need and returning unopened rolls.  

The last kitchen cabinets I covered for our daughter required 5 rolls of 18" x 20" Con-Tact Paper to cover all of the shelves and cabinet bottoms.   

Regardless of the store or seller, be sure you buy only Con-Tact Paper Brand for lining cabinets & shelves.

Examples of Designs Available

Check Out More Home Decor Reviews at

House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I haven't used contact paper in years, but I fully agree with all the reasons you give for rental homes and apartments. In fact, I happen to have a couple rolls of contact paper in my closet with palm trees on them which I may save for my next move in 3 months. Glad you could help your daughter get moved and appreciate your good advice for how to lay contact paper.

  2. Like Elf, I too haven't used contact paper in years, but I'm thinking maybe it is time I did a refreshing of my kitchen cabinets and drawers. Thanks for the great tips.

  3. I agree, I've tried a few brands and this brand is the best!

  4. It sounds like you have this down to a fine art. I can remember doing this once and making such a mess, I swore I would never do it again. I like your technique of unravelling the paper a little bit at a time. Sounds like a much easier way to do it than doing one big piece and hoping for the best. You say it's easy to remove, that must be a big improvement since the last time I tried. I almost lost all my fingernails trying to get the stuff off again. Maybe I need to try again. Thanks for the review!

    1. It is definitely easy to remove Olivia! We had to take it up every year when our daughter moved out of her dorm rooms and it pulled right up and out without any problems.

  5. Everyone who moves a lot (like me and your daughter) needs someone like you in their lives. I don't feel moved in until my drawers and shelves are lined with either Con-Tact paper or the gripper liners that are also popular. I was just shopping for Con-Tact paper this week for my next DIY project involving reclaimed drawers. It is a timeless product that makes any drawer feel so much cleaner and so much better looking.

  6. I have used Con-Tact paper in every place I've lived - except this one. The shelves here are such a funny width that I didn't even think about trying to line them. I agree that this brand is the best.


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