Mastering the Art of Applying Contact Paper Around Corners: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying contact paper around corners can seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you might think. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to give your space a fresh, new look in no time.

Contact paper is a budget-friendly way to revamp your home decor. But when it comes to those tricky corners, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Selecting the appropriate type of contact paper is the first significant step. The options to consider are adhesive vinyl, non-adhesive vinyl, and certain types of wallpaper. Thicker contact papers tend to be easier to handle and more durable, particularly around corners.
  • Preparing the surface is an essential step. This requires thorough cleaning and checking for imperfections. Adding a layer of primer or paint can help level any irregularities. Test a small sample of your chosen contact paper on the surface for a sneak peek and less risk.
  • Accurate measuring and precise cutting of the contact paper are vital. Add a few extra inches to your measurements to allow adjustments. Make sure to avoid damaging or creasing the paper during the cutting process.
  • Applying the contact paper requires patience and precision. When reaching a corner, cut a slit leading towards the corner’s edge and fold it for a clean finish. Smooth out the paper from the center outwards to eliminate potential bubbles.
  • Smoothing out any remaining bubbles is the final step. Start near the corner and move gradually outwards, applying firm pressure and using a smoothing tool or credit card. It takes practice to apply contact paper smoothly, but the patience pays off in results.

Applying contact paper around corners requires precision and patience, and DIY Network provides a step-by-step guide to ensure smooth, bubble-free application. This method enhances the appearance of any room by allowing for customization of surfaces that would otherwise remain plain or outdated, as detailed by Apartment Therapy, which offers tips on creative uses of contact paper in home décor. To achieve the best results, using a soft cloth or a smoothing tool to press out any air pockets is essential, a technique The Spruce recommends in their review of the best contact papers available.

Choose the Right Contact Paper

In the quest to revolutionize your space, choosing the right contact paper isn’t a step you’d want to overlook. It’s essential to pick a material that doesn’t just suit your aesthetic goals but also meets practical needs while ensuring durability and ease of application.

The market is flooded with an array of contact papers with different textures, patterns, and finishes. Your selection process should involve examining their distinct qualities to ascertain which will work best for your project.

You have the following types to consider:

  • Adhesive vinyl: Also referred to as self-adhesive or peel-and-stick vinyl, adhesive vinyl is versatile, very user-friendly, and ideal for beginners. It’s perfect for an easy update to your interiors.
  • Non-adhesive vinyl: Unlike its adhesive counterpart, non-adhesive vinyl requires a bit more effort as it doesn’t self-stick. However, it offers the benefit of being repositionable, eliminating the fear of getting it wrong the first time around.
  • Wallpaper: It’s crucial to note that while wallpaper isn’t necessarily contact paper, wallpaper styles that have adhesive backing perform similarly and provide more variety in patterns and textures.

When it comes to thickness, the rule of thumb is to go for a bit thicker contact paper. It’s a lot easier to handle and maneuver, especially when dealing with tricky areas like corners. Thin papers tend to rip easily and might not stand up to the stretch needed to fit around corners.

Finally, budget comes into play, since contact paper prices can range significantly based on a variety of factors such as the manufacturer, pattern complexity, and material quality. It’s crucial to strike a balance between aesthetics, functionality, and affordability. You’re sure to find a range of options that won’t break the bank, yet deliver stunning results. So rest assured, your home decor, your corners, they’re all in good hands.

Remember, the right contact paper is the first step towards effortless application and a brilliant finish. It paves the way for the next part of your contact paper journey: prepping your surface.

Prepare the Surface

Before you even unroll your chosen contact paper, you might be wondering about the next crucial step: preparing the surface. This step may seem monotonous, but let’s not underestimate its importance; your surface prep forms the base for an otherwise seamless application.

First, you need to ensure your working surface is clean. Whether it’s floors, countertops, or walls, the essence of this can’t be overstated. No matter how attractive or high-quality your contact paper is, applying it on a dust-laden, greasy or wet surface sets you up for failure. So, grab a damp cloth and a mild detergent; give the entire surface a thorough wipe down with water. Once that’s done, let it dry completely.

Next, check the surface for imperfections. Scratch marks on mirrors, chips in the paint, or even slight dents in the metal can leave your finished work looking less than perfect. Applying a layer of primer or a layer of paint can help level these out on walls or roofs. It’s true, these additional tasks add to your prep time. However, when you see your contact paper looking perfect on a smooth surface, and your shoes don’t pick up any residual dust as you work, you’ll agree it’s time well spent.

Material readiness is also essential during this stage. Make sure to have all the necessary tools within reach. A ruler, a pencil for markings, a smoothing tool, and a utility knife for precision cuts are just a few items you need. Anticipate the operation; have everything within arm’s length beforehand. This can save you the inconvenience of scrambling for tools in the middle of the process.

Lastly, consider testing a small sample on your surface. This can offer a valuable sneak peek into how well the contact paper adheres, how it looks, and how easy it is to handle. It’s always better to be safe than sorry — a test run is definitely worth the effort.

Remember, a smooth, flawless application begins with meticulous preparation. So, roll up your sleeves and dive into the preparative stage with the same vigor you’d apply to the final product.

Measure and Cut the Contact Paper

Now that your surface is prepared, measuring and cutting your contact paper is the next step in the process. Accuracy in this phase is vital to ensure that you have enough material to cover your entire area and contour around corners. It’s all about preparing for, measuring, and making precise cuts to ensure corners and edges are neat, clean, and professional-looking.

Start by directly measuring the width and length of your surface area using your ruler or tape measure. Remember, it’s better to be over generous with your measurements. Adding a few extra inches to both your length and width measurements will give you ample room for readjustments and to cover any unforeseen surface imperfections.

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With dimensions recorded, unfurl the contact paper roll on a flat and clean surface. Transfer the measurements using your pencil. Being careful at this stage is essential not to crease or damage the paper.

Once measurements are transferred, it’s cutting time. Use your utility knife along with a straight edge to make clean and precise cuts. Remember, patience and precision are key here. It’s tempting to rush, but you’ll see the best results if you take your time and strive for accuracy.

When working with large pieces, it helps to have a partner. Have someone steady your paper while you’re cutting to prevent it from moving or shifting.

By properly measuring and cutting your contact paper, you’re one step closer to revamping your space. You’ve got your perfectly cut pieces ready. Now it’s time to move to the next step: application. This is where you’ll start seeing your hard work pay off, as you witness your space transform right before your eyes.

Apply the Contact Paper Around the Corner

Mastering the art of applying contact paper around corners can seem somewhat daunting. There’s no need to let this challenge intimidate you. With a little patience and clever maneuvering, you’ll gain the expertise to pull it off smoothly.

Start by peeling back a small section of the backing paper. Attach the contact paper to your chosen spot. With one hand, smooth out the paper from the center outwards. This technique helps get rid of air bubbles. Use the other hand to gradually peel off more of the backing as you smooth down the paper. This stage is all about patience, precision, and smooth movements.

When you reach a corner, pause, and get ready to apply the contact paper around it. Lay the contact paper over the corner area but don’t stick it down completely just yet. Now, here’s the trick: rather than wrapping it around swiftly, you should cut a slit in the contact paper at the corner, leading towards the corner’s edge. It’s like wrapping a gift box – you create folds to achieve clean, crisp corners.

Once you’ve prepped the corner, you can begin to apply the contact paper. Smooth it onto one wall up to the corner, then wrap it around onto the next wall. Thanks to the slit you’ve made, the paper will neatly fold around the corner. No creases, no bubbles, no frustration!

But remember, don’t rush this part. Make sure to press down firmly and evenly, smoothing the contact paper along both edges of the corner. Again, working from the center outwards will help eliminate any potential bubbles.

While following these techniques, remember that your work’s outcome largely depends on precision, so don’t rush. Practice, patience, and persistence pay off in the end.

Smooth Out Any Bubbles

Smoothing out any bubbles is critical to a professional-looking finish when applying contact paper on corners. Kitchen countertops, cabinet shelves, drawers, or any surface with corners might not just be challenging but also entail an extra step to ensure there are no air pockets.

You’ll need a smoothing tool or even a credit card to help iron out the creases. It goes without saying that you must work slowly, moving from the center to the edges with absolute precision.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you handle bubbles:

  1. Start Near the Corner: Initiate from the proximate side of the corner and then move outward. This segment is strategically important because any bubbles here will be incredibly noticeable.
  2. Apply Firm Pressure: While applying the paper, make sure to exert firm pressure. This step helps to squeeze out the air and keeps the adherence smooth and tight.
  3. Use a Smoothing Tool: A purpose-designed smoothing tool or even a simple credit card can help you spread out the contact paper and iron out any creases or bubbles.
  4. Push Bubbles Towards the Edge: If you notice any bubbles forming, use your smoothing tool to push them towards the edge of the paper.

Practice though, is instrumental in mastering the smooth application of contact paper. It’s also important to remember not to rush through the process but rather move at a pace where you can maintain precision. This can seem time-consuming but remember: patience is the key!

For further insights into contact paper application, read on as we delve into dealing with curved areas in the next section. Apply the same ideas, such as pressure, patience, and practice there as well, and you’re already on the road to becoming an expert in applying contact paper for your interior design projects.


So you’ve made it through the intricacies of applying contact paper around corners. It’s clear that the key to a bubble-free finish lies in your ability to start near the corner, exert firm pressure, and use a smoothing tool while directing bubbles towards the edge. Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you hone these skills, the better you’ll get at handling those tricky corners or curved areas. So keep patience and precision at the forefront of your efforts. With these principles, you’ll be well on your way to mastering contact paper application, making your interior design projects look professional and polished. Now go forth and transform your spaces with confidence. The world of contact paper is your oyster!

Why is it important to smooth out bubbles when applying contact paper around corners?

Smoothing out bubbles gives a polished, professional look on your contact paper, introducing no signs of amateurish work. It helps in reinforcing the perfect look achieved by the contact paper in the overall appearance of your project.

How do I handle bubbles effectively when applying contact paper?

Start near the corner, apply firm pressure on the paper, use a smoothing tool specifically designed for this purpose, push the bubbles towards the edge. Follow these steps consistently to handle bubbles effectively.

What three principles should I maintain when dealing with curved areas?

Practice, patience, and precision are the main principles. Contact paper application requires a steady hand and patience to ensure even coverage around curves. Practice helps in honing these skills.

Are the skills used in dealing with contact paper essential only to interior design?

No, these skills can be useful in any project involving contact paper, not just interior design. Mastering them can serve as a robust foundation for a myriad of artistic and design ventures.