Painting Over Contact Paper? (Read This First)

how to paint over contact paper

Contact paper is a type of waterproof paper that is coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. It is typically used for temporary applications, such as mounting posters or creating makeshift windows.

However, it can also be used for more permanent purposes, such as lining drawers and shelf liners.

I once painted my friend’s contact paper cabinets in his apartment’s bathroom, and the overall project worked pretty well.

The colors on the shelves and doors were nice and bright, and the paint also held up well to repeated cleaning.

With that said, if you’re feeling creative and want to add a little personality to your home by painting contact paper, you should think again because it will not be easy.

Can You Paint Over Contact Paper?

Technically, you can paint contact paper, but only with the right amount of quality primer-sealer; it will stick well to give you a long-lasting job.

Using the suitable primer in the right amount is crucial. Because then only you will get a perfect paintable surface that can adhere to oil or latex paints.

The type of primer and paint you need to use depends on the contact paper you need to paint over.

  • If it’s a standard contact paper (used on walls and wardrobes), you should use an oil-based primer and latex paint.
  • However, if it’s fabric contact paper, you should use a water-based stain-killing primer.
  • For clear or transparent contact papers, you should use a white-pigmented shellac primer to help the paint adhere better.
what paint to use over contact paper

How to Prep and Paint the Contact Paper Surface?

Now that you know what type of primer and paint to use, it’s time to prep and paint the surface.

Step 1- Clean and Score

Start by ensuring the contact paper is clean and free of dirt or debris. If it’s not clean, the paint will not adhere properly.

Once the contact paper is clean, use a putty knife or another sharp object to score the surface. This will help the paint to adhere better.

Step 2- Prime Contact Paper

After you’ve scored the surface, it’s time to prime it. Remember, the success of the adhesion of the paint to contact paper will depend on how well you prime it. So do not try to skip this step, and choose the primer wisely.

Use a brush or roller to apply an even layer of primer over the entire surface. Let the primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3- Paint the Contact Paper Surface

I would generally suggest using acrylic paints on contact papers. Not only it’s cheap and straightforward to use, but it will also help transform the space naturally.

To ensure that the same color is used throughout, paint the entire surface with a brush or roller. You can even try a sponge to paint creatively. Just make sure that you allow the paint to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Step 4- Apply a Top Coat on Contact Paper

After the paint has dried, it’s time to apply a topcoat on the glued contact paper surface. This will help protect the paint and make it more durable.

Use a brush or roller to apply an even layer of topcoat over the entire surface, including the seams and joints.

Allow the topcoat to dry completely before using the contact paper surface again.

peel and stick wallpaper vs contact paper

Is Peel and Stick Wallpaper the Same as Contact Paper?

Peel and stick wallpaper is very similar to the contact paper. They are both vinyl-based materials that can be applied to a surface in a few easy steps.

Both have a decorative front surface with an adhesive backing.

The key difference is that peel-and-stick wallpaper is designed to be pasted on vertical surfaces like walls. In contrast, contact paper is chiefly used for horizontal surfaces like countertops or shelves.

You can, however, use contact paper on your walls for decoration just like wallpapers – thanks to its relatively lower cost and non-permanent adhesiveness.

The other main difference between the two is that peel-and-stick wallpaper is thicker than contact paper. This makes it more durable and better suited for high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways.

Contact PaperPeel and Stick Wallpaper
Thin paper that is very easy to removeThicker paper that’s removable
Mostly for horizontal surfacesDesigned for vertical wall surfaces
Generally waterproof due to vinyl coatingGenerally, it’s not waterproof
BPA-free and cost lessBPA-free but costs more
Last for a few years if installed correctly and cared forRelatively more durable if installed correctly and cared for

Related FAQs

Does contact paper take off paint?

Fortunately, contact papers, removable wallpapers, wall stickers, or wall decals are all removable – they do not ruin the paint.

If you remove them gently and slowly, they come off quickly without taking the underneath paint along.

Moreover, if you are not removing them all at once and leaving some patches here and there, they will not damage the paint either.

Can you use chalk paint over contact paper?

You should not use chalk paint over the vinyl-based contact paper. Chalk paint usually works best on porous surfaces; the contact paper is not absorbent.

The paint will not adhere correctly to the surface and will eventually peel off. Plus, if you put the chalkboard paint, it can easily be wiped away.

What’s the best way to remove contact paper?

The easiest way to remove contact paper is to use a putty knife or razor blade to peel away the paper slowly.

If the paper is old or has been on the surface for a long time, use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the adhesive before you can peel it away.

Can you paint over contact adhesive – how well does it hold?

Many people wonder if they can paint directly after removing the contact paper from the surface.

You can spray paint over contact adhesive, but it is not recommended. The reason is that the contact adhesive will eventually break down, and the paint will start to peel off.

Removing the contact adhesive by sanding and scouring the surface is better. Then clean and prime the surface before you apply the paint.

The Bottom Line

Contact paper is available in a variety of colors and patterns, making it a versatile material for a variety of projects.

It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to work with (thanks to different sizes and shapes), making it a popular choice for DIY projects.

Whether you’re looking to add some extra flair to your home décor or you need a quick and easy way to mount a poster, painted contact paper is an excellent option.

With a little bit of effort, you can transform any space in your home to make it look more premium. It’s time to get creative.

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