Using Contact Paper to Cover and Redo Countertops

Last year, I shared how I used contact paper to cover and redo my ugly, old laminate countertops in my house for under $10. I rent, so I did not want to put a lot of $ into this project or do anything that would cause any damage.  Using the contact paper on my counter tops worked out great and I was so glad to not see those red formica counter tops anymore!

I am often asked how well the contact paper is holding up and if I had any issues with it getting wet, scratched or anything.  After a year and a half, the only thing I have noticed is that it does shrink just a little bit over time.  Other than that it worked great and still looked great.

Kitchen DIY Redo your laminate or formica counter tops with contact paper

A couple people asked me if I had tried to cover the metal stripping (I don’t know the exact name for it) that holds the formica counter top piece down.  I did not try to cover it last year. I did try to cover it this year and it did not really stick to the metal that well and also just looked rough because the metal it not a flat piece.

I recently painted the kitchen walls a lovely creamy yellow color (Spiced Applesauce semi-gloss by Valspar), gave the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint and bought new knobs and handles for the cabinets and drawers.  When I did this, I decided I wanted to take the ugly silver metal strips on the front of the counter top and around the back splash off.  It really looked nasty and tacky and looked 10 times worse after the walls and cabinets had been painted.

My landlord was planning to redo the counter top and put a new sink in before I moved in, but that never happened. I know when I move out he would do that so I went ahead and took the metal off around the counters. (Be sure to check with your landlord if you decide to take off the metal stripping because it is really hard to get off and keep it in a piece that could be put back on later.)

Kitchen DIY Redo your laminate or formica counter tops with contact paper

Because of that and wanting to redo the backsplash piece, I decided to redo the entire counter with new contact paper.  I looked for a different pattern but ended up using the same one because it really just matched the best.

I did have to use some tacky glue to get the contact paper to stick to the wood around the edge of the counter. I think it was just that the wood was old, uneven and some of it actually was rotting a bit.  What I did was just lay the contact paper down with enough hanging over the edge so that I could fold it down and under the edge.

Kitchen DIY Redo your laminate or formica counter tops with contact paper

I am super happy with the finished product though! It looks so much better without the dingy metal strips around the counter and backsplash.

Kitchen DIY Redo your laminate or formica counter tops with contact paper

I only used 1 roll of contact paper this time since I had a little practice from last year and did not mess up and have to redo so many times.  I paid less than $6 for the roll at Walmart.

It actually took me longer to get the metal strip off than to redo the countertops! Most of the screws were rusted out & worn down so much that I had to use a pair of pliers to get them to turn enough to rip them out with the back of a hammer.

How to Redo Your Countertops by Covering them with Contact Paper for under $10

You can view my original post with info on how to redo your countertops with contact paper here.

It’s not granite, but for $6 and a couple hours of work, it looks great! Most people are shocked when I tell them it is contact paper and not laminate.  I expect this to hold up and look great for a couple of years since the last time still looked great after a year and a half.  PS did you know they make chalkboard contact paper now too?  Oh the possibilities and ideas for that are endless!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post I would love if you would leave a comment and share it on social media too. :)

Thank you to A Stroll for Life for featuring this project on your Inspire Me Tuesday!

This post may be linked up at any or all of these great linky parties


  1. Amber K. says

    What did the counter look like after you removed the original layer of contact paper? I’m asking before asking my landlord if we can do this to know if there would be damage to the original laminate. Thanks!

  2. Nelda says

    This looks great, what a wonderful idea!

    You said that it shrank a little with that knowledge, how much of an overlap did you allow? Can you post a picture of what the overlap looks like?

    Thanks so much!

  3. Ashley F says

    This is great! I am so glad I found this! We also rent and the laminate on our bathroom sink has some old stains that are surfacing and since we can’t replace the bathroom counter, this would be a perfect solution that is so much cheaper than the other resurfacing options!

  4. Debra Marshall says

    Hi, thanks so much for posting. Do you know if specific contact paper is made for this purpose? Like something more heavy-duty or able to withstand some heat from a pot or plate? Again, thank you for your ideas and for posting great photos.

  5. says

    It looks great! I currently have the same tomato red Formica and the metal strips around the edge and back splash. When you took the metal strips off the back splash, did you take it off the corner too (where the counter meets the back splash) or just off the top of the back splash? I wasn’t sure from the pics. If you did take it off from the corner, was there a gap there that you had to fill or treat a certain way? Thanks for posting this.

  6. JaneEllen says

    Have to admit if I hadn’t seen it I’m not sure would have believed it. You are a brave gal and so smart, did great job on your counter.
    Our counter tops are awful, part of fault/blame is mine as I forgot to turn water off in sink (at least twice) and water flooded counters so now counters are raising up and coming apart. I wanted to use laminate flooring which we already have but hubs says it won’t work. I’ve seen it on couple posts where people used the laminate and it came out really nicely, What would we have to lose? Would like to try the contact paper on our bathroom counter. It’s pretty awful also. Your great post has me thinking again. Happy New Year

    If you care to reply please do so to email address, thanks.

  7. says

    Hi Misty,
    this is my first time to visit you, came over from A stroll thru life………..
    Wow, you did a super job on your kitchen, it looks so much better, I would have never thought it was
    contact paper at all. It really looks great and was a wonderful solution to that dreadful red…………

    Good for you, the white cabinets look great too.

    thanks for sharing this with us,
    Blessing,s Nellie.

  8. MaryJean says

    Hello, I saw your post on Marty’s blog and had to come and look. I cannot believe this is contact paper! This looks great, especially if you don’t want to put too much expense into a redo. Kudos to you and your brilliant idea!

  9. Patrice Shannon says

    I did this years ago in a townhouse I was renting in Eugene Oregon, and it looked fabulous and yes, it was easy maintenance. Of course I did not cut anything on it and yes, Kool-aid will stain it, but 409 took it right up with no problem. But my landlord told me it was a real bear getting the glue residue up after I moved. Not sure what we have today that would do the job of that real fast.

  10. Margie Whitten says

    You did a fabulous job. It looks professionally installed. I have to say though that I loved the charm of the red formica. Now that was beautiful.

  11. jamie says

    Hey misty!!

    I’m totally doing this tomorrow on my day off! I have the exact same counters except not red, they r black. But the metal is the exact same! Did you do the strips lengthwise or sideways? I just wondered how you made the “back splash” look so good?

    • says

      Hi Jamie! The backsplash was actually loose on my wall, I guess the glue had worn out over the past oh 50 years since it was put on, lol! So I actually ended up pulling off the wall, stretching out across the floor and covering, wrapping a little over the top and bottom then placing back on the wall. However, the first time I did this I did not take the backsplash piece off, I just did it in sections like from the wall to the window, then under the window, then the other pieces, so there was a little overlap on each section so you didn’t see seams. It looked fine then too. I am so glad I ripped the metal strips off this time around though it looks so much better!
      Misty Kearns recently posted…The Ultimate DIY Bundle plus bonus offers ends Jan 26!My Profile

  12. Lauryn says

    Great tips! Was wondering if this would work on my kitchen counters that are laminate (me thinks). The house was built in 1890 but the big kitchen was put in around the 40’s. Everything is old wood, orange counters and orange tile backsplash across the entire thing and the flooring looks like red fake bricks… UG..LY!!! I’m stuck with the floors but everything else is so beat up. And the kitchen is DARK! My son calls it the dungeon. And I have tried putting contact paper in the cabinets but the wood is so old and dry it doesn’t stick. But I can at least tackle the counters and figure the rest out later. Awesome job!

  13. tom4824 says

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  14. says

    Hi Misty,I found this via Pinterest. It was very helpful to see both of your posts (Thank you). I found Instant Granite Countertop which is a peel and stick countertop for $19.99/roll. It sounds just like contact paper, but more expensive. From what I am able to find out it is the same thing, but it can last longer and hold up to more of a beating. Have you heard anything about this type of paper? If so, I would love to hear what you have to say.Here is a site to one of them, if that is ok?
    Your kitchen looks great. I wish I was able to do that type of suff. I give you kudos that\’s for sure.You also had someone by the name of Debra Marshall ask about this type of product as well, in the above comments. I have bookmarked your blog and will look forward to reading it.~Tammy

  15. Chantel says

    How do you remove the silver lining from the back splash? I’m renting from my mom, so I totally have creative control…but I don’t have the funds for the remodels…also, I’m not even sure if its worth putting that much into that place. Anywho, that’s the reason I’m choosing to go with this method, and have been planning on doing so for a while! I’m nervous about those metal strips though! This is the first tutorial/post I’ve seen with them !

  16. Lilia says

    Dear Misty, how perfect … countertop is exactly the same color red! Although I did do this project myself many, many years ago…….I had to remove the paper…..and now, certainly not being able to redo the countertops, will go with your idea. I found a great paper in Etsy…..I am also considering doing the backsplash (as you did)……I will keep you posted. Any other tips you may want to share? Thank you in advance…..

  17. Liz says

    Oh haleluja, what a brilliant solution to the ugly rental counter tops! I’d love to try this, but I”m kind of concerned about the seams between pieces of ccontact paper. We bake a lot at my house (are and just generally messy cooks) so I can imagine a lot of flour or cocoa powder or just dust accumulating in the seams. Also, I’d worry about spilled liquids finding their way into the seams and messing up the edges. What was your experince? How careful did you ahve to be with your new counter tops? Any dust etc.stuck in teh seams?

    Thanks for the gerat post!

    • says

      I overlapped it a bit so there isn’t seams, you can’t even really see the seams or overlap at all on this pattern, you have to run your hand over it to find them. I even had a couple places I had to put a “patch” over where a knife slipped off my cutting board and those are not even noticeable. :) If you chose something with a larger pattern I imagine the seams would show & you couldn’t overlap it any. I don’t cook a whole lot but I am messy/clumsy so I spill stuff on it all the time, lol… It cleans up just fine so far!
      Misty Kearns recently posted…Caribbean Sweet and Spicy Salsa RecipeMy Profile

  18. Sarah Nelson says

    Hello, I love the idea of this! I’ve been looking for a cheaper way to redo counter tops. I have a lot of stains and cracks. I do have one question…I have a long section of counter top with nothing breaking it up. Did you find it hard to lay 2 pieces of the contact paper together without being able to see the seam? I’m worried where the 2 pieces meet there will be a visible line. Also, did you use scissors or an exacto knife to cut paper??? Thanks!

    • says

      Thank you. I’m sorry for the crazy delay in replying, I haven’t blogged in months. It depends on the pattern you choose, you can’t even really see the seams on this pattern, you have to run your hand over it to find them. I even had a couple places I had to put a “patch” over where a knife slipped off my cutting board and those are not even noticeable. :) If you chose something with a larger pattern I imagine the seams would show. I used an exacto knife, but scissors would work too!
      Misty Kearns recently posted…Cardboard Heart $4 DIY Valentines Wreath TutorialMy Profile

  19. tina says

    Great tutorial! Thank you! I have terracotta/orange countertops that needs a cheap fix til we get new ones. This will be perfect! Did anything ever stain the contact paper? Like spilled tomato sauce or blueberry juice, etc?

  20. Kelly says

    Would this work on a tile counter top. I am moving into a rental that has tile counter tops that are hideous and am looking for ways to cover it up.

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