I know…I know. This isn’t the post that I promised. If you remember from last week (or if you subscribe to the newsletter), you know that today I was supposed to share the best way to store supplies in your linen closet. And I promise I’ll get to that. But I just couldn’t wait to share this project with you.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I’m participating this fall in the One Room Challenge hosted over at Calling it Home. Participants are supposed to transform one space in their homes in a 6-week timeframe. It’s crazy, it’s stressful, and it’s so much fun. This fall, I’m making over our linen closet and open storage display in our hallway. As of last Wednesday, I completely purged the linen closet of excess junk and painted the interior and trim with fresh white paint.
But what about those shelves? I shudder every time I see that stained, peeling contact paper from the 80s. The mauve flowers are just so dated and dingy.
The original plan was to use a natural stain for a wood look similar to Bliss at Home’s linen closet in my inspiration collage, but the shelves were badly chipped and had large paint drips from previous owners. New shelves aren’t in our budget, so I had no choice but to find another covering.
And then I saw it: marble contact paper. I’ve been drooling over all the marble showing up in home design over the last couple years. It’s classic, it’s neutral, and it’s beautiful.
In about 2.5 hours, I removed the old contact paper, prepped the shelves, and recovered them to create inexpensive marble shelves. Aren’t they pretty!
Since I’m not sticking to my original posting schedule, I might as well give you some tips I learned along the way from working with contact paper. After all, even a simple and inexpensive project is only with the effort if it looks as good as possible, right?From dingy & dirty to timeless beauty-check out these shelves! #DIY #home #design Click To Tweet
Tips for Applying Contact Paper to Closet Shelves
Buy more contact paper than you need
Truth told, this isn’t the first time I worked with marble contact paper. A couple years ago I ordered some marble contact paper from Amazon (at a cost of about $8) to create a backdrop for some of my food photography. Although I still had some of that contact paper on hand, I bought a new roll from Lowes for this project for around $7. I only ended up using one roll, but my closet is pretty narrow.
The picture below shows just how different both marble patterns are in both color and design. Just like tile and flooring, you should always buy one more than you think you’ll need. But this time, it’s to avoid mismatched marble. If you don’t open your extra roll, you can always return it.
Remove the Shelves from the Closet
From what I can tell, the previous owner attempted to apply the contact paper while the shelves were still in place. That’s far more difficult than just pulling them up off of the supports. You may need to use a mallet to lightly tap the shelves from underneath if they are nailed in place.
Prep Your Shelves
The most important thing you can do is to make sure your shelves are properly prepped. Contact paper adheres best to smooth, clean surfaces. For my shelves, that included removing the old contact paper, removing nails, and giving the shelves a good sanding.
To remove the nails, I had to cut off the sharp ends with lineman pliers and hammer the nail back through the top. This pushed the nailhead back through the top so I could pull it out with the back of the hammer.
Do the Math and Use the Grid
Contact paper has a grid on the back that makes it easy to measure and cut. The measurements could be in inches or centimeters, depending on where it was manufactured.
I chose to cover 6 sides of the shelf to get the most realistic look possible. This required an extra strip of contact paper on the bottom of the shelf, since the paper wasn’t wide enough to cover the entire shelf. By doing the math on how much paper I really needed, I minimized waste when making the extra cuts.Transform your closet shelves with only a few $$ and a couple hours. #frugal #organizing #DIY Click To Tweet
Here’s a quick look at the measurements and layout for our shelves:
Cut longer than you need
Even though you want to minimize waste, cut your paper slightly longer than the width of the shelf to ensure there are no gaps. You can always trim off the excess at the end.
You’re not likely to get seams to match up with marble contact paper. Since it’s not uncommon to see seams in large pieces of natural stone, allowing a little bit of overlap creates the smoothest and most natural looking seam. Here’s a look at the seams on the underside of our shelves.
Only peel back a few inches at a time
If you remove the entire back of the contact paper at once, you it will end up sticking to itself, and getting wrinkles that are nearly impossible to get out. Gently peel back a few inches from the backing of the contact paper and place the sticky side against the shelf. Smooth down the contact paper from the center out, using a credit card or smoothing tool to press out any bubbles as you go. Then continue to peel and press in small sections until you are done.
Consider Your Location
I would love to use contact paper to create floating shelves in a bathroom or kitchen. However, I would only use it with shelves that have an end cap like these Ikea shelves. And I would consider adding some extra adhesive at the seam to help combat peeling from humidity.
Would you use contact paper to make inexpensive marble shelves?
Where do you want marble shelves in your home?
See more ORC projects: