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How to Line a Drawer with Contact Paper: 9 Easy Steps

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Drawers can unfortunately be a great place to collect crumbs, spills, and other unappealing things. But if you add a liner, they are SO much easier to clean! Contact makes an excellent drawer line with so much pretty choices of colors and patterns!

So how do you line a drawer with contact paper? To line a drawer with contact paper, use removable contact paper that is measured to fit the drawer. Gently peel away the backing and smooth the contact paper into place within the drawer, cutting away any overlapping pieces of paper.

3 gray and white patterned contact paper rolls with Xacto knife and scissors.

Get more furniture makeover ideas here.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve done several furniture diy redos, including painting an old jewelry box, and drawer liners give the project a little extra pizazz in your decor. Other projects that beg for a drawer upgrade are organizing a kitchen as well as cabinet and bathroom drawer organization.

contact paper on jewelry box drawers when pulled out.

They can make the space just look more put together. Plus they work great if you are trying to hide an unsightly stain in a drawer or on a cabinet shelf.

If you already have a place you need to add a drawer liner, let’s jump right to the how-to!

Determine Color and Style of Contact Paper

There are SO many beautiful options for decorative contact paper. One thing to consider is finding a contact paper that is “removable”.

This will make it easier to pull away from your surface (especially wood) down the road should you determine to change it.

If you are not familiar with contact paper, Wikipedia defines it as “an inexpensive material that has a decorative surface on one side and a highly adhesive material on the other side.”

In other words, it’s perfect for lining drawers! It stays in place AND it is pretty. I’m a fan of marble contact paper! It’s popular and fairly easy to find.

marble contact paper image.

Great places to find contact paper are Amazon , Dollar Tree, and WalMart.

Some use gift wrap and apply mod podge, glue, or spray adhesive to the bottom of the drawer. I personally do not recommend this as I like the option of removing the shelf lining down the road.

I’ve also seen fabric used to line drawers. For me, adhesive contact paper is very easy to use and what I would recommend.

Once you have selected the perfect paper, you are ready for business!

Clean the drawer

Vacuuming in the corners might be necessary if you have crumbs, dirt, dust, or debris that is hard to reach.

Use a good all purpose cleaner to clean out the drawer, ensuring you get any oily spots wiped well.

Sometimes a damp cloth with a tiny bit of soap is a great way to clean up a drawer.

Gather Supplies to Line Drawer

Keep in mind, you can certainly line a drawer without measuring the space first as liner comes with measurements on the back side. But, I find it is a bit hard to handle the entire roll of paper.

Cutting it to fit makes it MUCH easier to place without ending up with the paper sticking to itself or getting a crease or bubbles, causing you to want to pull out your hair.

Plus, if you are like me (perhaps a bit uncoordinated), you end up wasting paper if you accidently crinkle it when trying to fit it in the space.

So, don’t leave out the next step;-)

Measure Space for Liner

Measure the drawer bottom to know the exact dimensions for shelf liners. Determine if you want to use liner on the sides as well.

If that is the case, you will have better success doing the sides separately.

When using a pattern, this can be a bit tricky to get things lined up perfectly, so take that into consideration when selecting your contact paper.

You might find it helpful to use a pencil to mark where you need to cut.

Getting exact measurements of contact paper size before installing as drawer liner.

Cut Liner to Fit Drawer Leaving Slight Overhang

When cutting the liner, ensure you have a slight bit extra paper than what you measured. If you get the paper in the drawer crooked, it can cause you to come up short.

So, just measure a little extra width as it is easy to cut it away later.

I preferred using scissors for cutting, but you could certainly use a rotary cutter on a cutting mat.

Peel Away Edge of Backing on Contact Paper

This is the step where things get a bit tricky!

The adhesive on some adhesive contact paper can be really sticky. If you peel the backing off all at once, it will almost certainly just stick to itself, creating a bit of a mess and lots of wrinkles.

So, just start by peeling the very edge/corner of the backing from the contact paper. A good quality liner isn’t likely to tear easily.

Line Edges of Liner in Back Corner of Drawer

Place the peeled portion in the back corner of your drawer.

A wallpaper squeegee or the straight edge of a credit card can help you smooth out the corner toward the edges of the drawer before you continue pulling away the backing of the contact paper.

Slowly Smooth Contact Paper as You Peel Backing

After the corner is firmly in place, slowly pull the rest of the end portion of the backing away from the contact paper. Use a straight edge to smooth it out.

Once the liner is adequately in place at the back of the drawer, slowly continue peeling the backing from the paper, working your way to the front of the drawer, smoothing with your straight edge (wallpaper squeegee or credit card) as you go along.

Do this for the entire depth of the drawer. Take your time. Contact paper is fairly easy to install in a drawer, but patience is key.

Large drawers can be a challenge. If you are having trouble keeping the vinyl from sticking to itself, you might need to enlist a member of your family or a friend to give you a helping hand.

Use Craft Knife to Cut Away Excess Contact Paper

Once the contact paper is completely in place within your drawer, if you have any excess contact paper going up the side of the drawer use your craft knife (X-Acto Knife) to carefully cut away the extra.

If you are interested in covering the interior sides of the drawer, follow the above steps. Just know it will likely be a lot easier since you are working with smaller pieces of contact paper.

gray contact paper in bathroom drawer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you Line Drawers with Wallpaper?

You can certainly line drawers with wallpaper! You will likely have better luck using unpasted wallpaper and using an adhesive that will allow you to remove the contact paper later should you wish to do so.

Is Contact Paper Hard to Remove?

If you use the “removable” contact paper, you should be able to remove it fairly easily from most surfaces. However, if you use just the regular contact paper, you will have a very challenging time removing it, specifically from wood.

Does Contact Paper Ruin Wood?

It depends! Once again, ensure you get a contact paper that is advertised as “removable”. This type of paper is not nearly as sticky, but it will allow you to take it out of your drawers in the future if you’d like!

Removable contact paper will protect your drawer or shelves from scratches, dents, etc.


Contact paper can be a great way to make your drawers look clean and crisp again. It’s a perfect liner for kitchen drawers, bathroom drawers and cabinet shelves, chest of drawers, dresser drawers, jewelry box drawers, and more!

I’ve even used contact paper to line sturdy shoe boxes or shoe box lids. They are great to throw in a drawer or cabinet for a divider;-)

Marble contact paper used in a bathroom cabinet.

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