I've been covering my desks and tables with various shades of contact paper for about 3 or 4 years now. I wanted a way to make the different pieces of furniture in my room a bit more uniform. What I didn't realize at the time was what a huge impact it would make on the overall look of the room!
Here's a before picture from early this summer...
And an after picture (this was right after the tables were covered)...
My lovely bff sister helps me do this each summer.
Actually, let me rephrase that in case she reads this tonight.
My sister does the bulk of the contact-papering while I'm running around like a nut hot gluing labels, making lists, and what not.
Perhaps she should be writing this post to you! Hang on. Nope, I just asked her, but she politely declined (she's a teacher, but not really into blogging. I'm trying to persuade her!).
But she does want me to tell you the following things are important, should you attempt the contact paper:
- No jewelry (especially rings)
- Shorter fingernails are easier than long (she's into nails big-time).
- Smooth the paper down lightly...makes it easier to lift it up again if you don't like how it's coming out.
- Smooth the paper down with a side-to-side motion (like your hands are meeting in the middle and moving away from each other...that's totally clear I'm sure, haha!).
We've (she's) also learned over the years that smaller sections are easier to work with than larger ones. So if you are covering a long table, it is easier to place multiple sections overlapping one another in the short direction...rather than a huge long piece running the length of the table.
So you will have some seams and they might not look perfectly straight. We (um, she) goes nuts about this and likes them to look perfect (you see, the type-A-ness runs deep in our family) but I really don't mind the overlap...
You can never see it once everything is covered and the room is done anyways.
Here are some other questions I've been asked about the contact paper:
How do you get it to go on smoothly?
The best way we've found is what my sister said above (to press lightly and smooth side to side). I also learned this summer that you can use a little thumbtack to push holes and smooth out any air under the paper. I only do this on the big wrinkles, I promise...even I have my limits of patience for this project.
Does the contact paper stay on well?
Once it's down, it stays on great on the overall surface. It's the edges you'll have to be careful of. We've been using electrical tape for the edges for years now. The upside? It looks really slick and finishes off the contact paper edge nicely. The downside? It can be very pickable...sigh
Which leads us to the next question...
Do the kids pick at the paper?
So, I do model how to take care of our beautiful desks and tables and the importance of not picking at that enticing tape, but kids are kids...
To curb the picking this year, we decided not to have the tape so overlappy on the desk/table edge (you can see a big black border on the blue contact paper above).
Instead, we thought if the contact paper itself wrapped under the desk edge, and the electrical tape was flush with the desk/tabletop, it would prevent this from happening.
And it has!!! You can kind of see what I mean here...the tape does not go onto the top of the table, just meets the top edge...
Maybe you can see it better here...
I'm happy to say my tables are in fabulous shape this year! Not one scrap of electrical tape has been picked at so far (knock on wood...or contact paper!).
Where do you get the contact paper?
Ok, here's where you'll think I'm really strange. Or perhaps not, those of you who have known me for awhile. I've searched all over and have tried a bunch of different shades of paper over the years--and I've only used actual contact paper for the royal blue and black colors you've seen above.
The blue and black (and some other primary shades) can be found for a great price at Discount School Supply. They come in these really large rolls too.
The shades of blue I used a few years back (sorry, I can't find any pics of those without students in them) were vinyl paper, rather than contact paper. I found this really cool site that has a zillion different shades of vinyl...Sign Warehouse. This store is great and the paper was gorgeous, but it was a bit harder to clean off than the typical contact paper.
This year, I used vinyl that is meant for kitchen or bathroom countertops. I found it in a little hardware store and loved how it looked nice and bright, but had some texture. It looks almost just like those really nice desks and tables you see in classroom furniture stores online (you can see a closeup here):
Do you peel the contact paper off each year?
Usually I do, since I like to switch color schemes and the paper has kind of had it by the end of the year. I'm not too sure if I will replace my current paper this year though...it has held up so nicely and I love it. But who knows, I love to try new things!
Well, I think that's everything my sister and I know about contact paper on desks and tables! Have you ever tried this? Would you ever try it? Thanks for reading! :)