3 Tips For Using Contact Paper For A Countertops Makeover

Finished countertop freshly wrapped in white marble contact paper.

Contact paper (or sticky-back plastic as it’s known in the UK) is super-useful for covering all kinds of surfaces, including countertops. Since I painted the tile backsplash and the kitchen cupboards in my utility room, my old countertops needed attention. I decided contact paper might be a quick and easy way (and low-cost too!) to freshen them up.

As I haven’t used contact paper before, I hoped the section of countertop I was covering would be an easy place to start. It is a straight run, with just a sink at one end.

I chose a lovely marble effect contact paper from the Sticky Back Plastic Vinyl Shop. I worked out the length I needed by measuring the countertop, and then I ordered the paper in 67cm width. This width is perfect as it covers the depth of a countertop plus a little extra to wrap the edge.

The role of white marble contact paper sitting on the old countertop.

Tip 1: Thoroughly Clean And Smooth Your Countertops

First off I thoroughly cleaned and wiped down my countertops with sugar-soap to ensure that they were completely grease free. I had a few blobs of paint on my worktops which I didn’t remove. This was a mistake as you can feel the blobs under the contact paper, so always make sure the countertop is smooth.

Tip 2: Remove Air Bubbles In The Contact Paper As You Go

Next, I unrolled a first section of contact paper lined it up against the back wall of the countertop. Once I was happy it was straight, I began to peel back the first section of the contact paper. I used a flat scraper (something like a credit card) to press the contact paper on to the worktop. I worked slowly unpeeled a small piece of backing at a time, to try and minimise any bubbles that appeared. If I did get any big bubbles, I just pulled the contact paper back up and pressed it down again. As when hanging wallpaper, I tried to work from the middle towards the edges to get any air bubbles out.

Tip 3: Take Your Time With Obstacles

I proceeded in pressing the contact paper onto the countertops until I reached the sink. It wasn’t possible to remove the sink, so I had to work around it. I tackled the sink in a similar way to how you would tackle a plug socket when hanging wallpaper. First I pulled the contact paper across the sink area (with the backing paper on at this stage). Next I cut a hole roughly in the middle of the sink area. Then I cut towards each corner of the sink, so that the paper had enough ‘give’ to be able to be pressed against the edge of the sink.

I’m not going to lie, this part was really tricky – and I didn’t get it perfect! I slowly unpeeled the backing paper around the sink and pressed the contact paper as close as possible to the edge of the sink. Then I used a Stanley knife to trim off the edges. I didn’t get all the edges perfect – and 1 corner ripped a little, which I had to repair. Overall though, I think it still looks good .

Close up of contact paper around sink area and contact paper repair.

As the picture above shows, some of the edges around the sink are less than perfect – however a layer of white silicone around the sink should cover this as well as making the whole thing more ‘finished’. I also did a layer of silicone around the edges of the worktop and the walls / cupboards once I had trimmed the contact paper around the edges to give it a more finished look.

Once I had got past the sink, I continued on pressing down the contact paper on the countertops as before. Any remaining tiny bubbles that I couldn’t press out, I got a pin and punctured them and then pressed them down – they soon became invisible.

Overall I’m really pleased with my attempt at using contact paper for re-covering my countertops! While they aren’t perfect, they look sooo much better than before – and for just a few pounds spent, it’s a great temporary or low-cost solution to give your kitchen a lift.

Finished countertop wrapped in white marble contact paper.

Check out my budget kitchen makeover post for more low-cost kitchen transformation ideas!