How To Reface Kitchen Cabinets With Contact Paper

If you have outdated kitchen cabinets but you can't bear to replace them, or you are on a tight budget, consider refacing them with contact paper. Contact paper works on any surface, and it is much easier than painting or staining. Here are some tips to reface kitchen cabinets with contact paper.

Prepare to Work 

For this project, you need:

  • pencil
  • paper
  • screwdriver
  • straight pin
  • soft cloth
  • putty for wood cabinets (optional)
  • sponge
  • plastic squeegee
  • mild liquid dish soap
  • tape measure
  • T-square
  • cutting mat
  • utility knife
  • contact paper 

Clean the cabinet surface gently with the sponge or squeegee, warm water, and dish detergent to provide a more adhesive surface, then let the area dry. Remove the cabinet doors and knob or handle screws with the screwdriver, set items in the cabinet aside, and detach the shelving, if it is removable.

Store hardware and screws in a safe place, since you will reuse them later. If you have wood cabinets, fill holes and scratches with putty, then smooth the putty with a utility knife.

Measure Cabinets and Cut Contact Paper

When you shop for contact paper at home improvement stores or department stores, look for self-adhesive paper that has grids for easy measuring. Measure cabinet doors, exposed sides, and visible cabinet bases. Write these measurements down, lay the contact paper flat on a cutting mat to protect the surface underneath it, and transfer the measurements to the paper. Use the T-square to check for even lines, then cut the paper with the utility knife.

Install the Contact Paper

Lift about an inch of backing from the top of the paper, then align it on the upper cabinet facing, matching the sides and corners first to avoid bubbling. Use your hand to flatten the paper, and move the squeegee across the line. For bubbles the squeegee can't remove, insert a straight pin on the side of the bubble, then run the squeegee over the area.

Trim extra contact paper with the utility knife. When the paper needs to be applied on a narrow cabinet face, trim the paper so it runs in the same direction as the paper's design grain. For example, to apply paper on a 3-inch cabinet face over the door, trim the paper in 3-inch sections over the width of the paper.

Run a soft cloth over the paper using firm pressure to eliminate bubbles. Mount the cabinet back on the wall. To reinstall knobs or handles, locate the door knob or handle opening, punch a small hole with the screwdriver tip, then secure the hardware. 

Refacing cabinets with contact paper saves money, and lets you hold onto the cabinets you cherish. If you feel the cabinets need replacing, or you need bigger jobs like lighting and flooring done, consider hiring a remodeling contractor.

For information on a kitchen remodel, click the link or do an online search.