Saturday, 24 October 2015

the ultimate "new kitchen counter" cheat!

diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com



We've reached the end of the kitchen tutorials now, and I think I've saved one of the best till last. I say best, because this project genuinely surprised me with how easy and effective it was!

I had debated for a long time  over what I was going to do with the counters. What I originally wanted was solid wood butcher block, like we have on the island, and we probably could have afforded it at the time if we installed it ourselves, but the problem was that I hadn't settled on what my idea of the ideal kitchen was. We knew that we would be changing things down the line when we had the money, so it seemed foolish to rip out the old counters to install the ones we wanted now, when we would probably have to rip it all out again next year when we were doing the full renovation.



I've finally learned that it's better to live with a space for a while before making any big decisions, you may think you know what you want, but once you've lived in a new space for a few months you'll have a much better feel for how it works and what you really want to do with it....this realisation took a while to come to, I must admit!

So, I was left with ugly counters that weren't going anywhere anytime soon, and a burning desire to have a whole new kitchen! Painting it or covering it in cement were two ideas that kept popping up when I tried to find some inspiration on pinterest, but they just sounded like things that would be way too tricky to get right for me. And that's where this stuff came in.....


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


Americans know it as contact paper, we know it as sticky back plastic, it's cheap, it's durable, it's readily available, what's not to love?!

I had used it to makeover a table top after I had seen Kimberley over at Swoonworthy use it for the same thing and just found myself thinking "why doesn't anyone use this for kitchen counters?". So I checked pinterest, and it turns out they do! Just not very often ;) 

I told my husband what I planned to do and he said "we'll just have to make sure we don't put hot pots down on it", to which I replied, "who the frick puts hot pots down directly on countertops?!". I'm right, right? Who does that?! But just to err on the side of caution, I'm telling you guys not to put hot pots directly on top of this stuff, it's plastic!

So I picked up a sample of a colour I liked (there are several different colours of "marble" available) and worked out how much of it I would need. 

I then spent several fruitless weeks checking the shop that sold it to see if their stock had been replenished as they didn't have enough....it never was. So annoying! Ordering online was not an option as the delivery charges were more than the cost of the paper, so I waited, and checked, and waited....and checked....

diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


....and finally gave in and did my usual, buying something completely different that they had in stock rather than wait any longer! Happily, I actually liked it much more than my original choice once I saw it in the kitchen. In the shop I thought it was much too strong a pattern with the black going through it, but when it was actually in the room it was soooooo much better! I think the kitchen had so much white and grey already that the first one was actually really "blah", wheras the one I went with is a lot more dramatic and doesn't just blend into the rest of the kitchen.


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


So the next quiet evening I had I cleared off all the counters, scrubbed them down and made sure they were dry, and then set to work applying the contact paper.

Now, at this stage I still fully expected that it wouldn't work, and I had saved the receipt so that I would be able to return the rolls I didn't use! (I bought 6 at €4.99 each, and 2 meters per roll). 

I thought that even if it went on properly, the pattern repeat wouldn't match up, and the joins between the sections would be really obvious. So I roughly measured out a couple of pieces and cut them, then I removed the backing from the first one, and using a card from my wallet to scrape across the top as it was stuck down to get rid of any air bubbles. I left a small edge at the sides in order to be able to trim it off really neatly once it was stuck down. 


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com



As I did this I had to lift it up again several times to get rid of some bigger bubbles and make sure it was lined up properly (I got better after the first one!) and this didn't make any difference to it. It didn't stretch, or pull out of shape, or scratch. In fact, I peeled it off and re-stuck it several times, and it looks exactly as good as some of the later ones which didn't have to be lifted off at all once they were first applied. This is hardy stuff!

When it came to applying the second piece, I did try to match up the pattern somewhat, but if I was to do it exactly I would have had to buy double the amount and waste half of it, and that was not happening! So I crossed my fingers and just went for it.......and it was fine! I mean, yes, you can see the join when you look, but if you weren't looking, or even if you were and just happened to be standing more than a foot away from it, it was impossible to tell!

I can't tell you how happy this little realisation made me :) Just to show you what the joins are like, if you look at the picture below, the tip of the arrow is just touching where the two pieces overlap.

                
diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


So I continued on laying the pieces, overlapping them the tiniest bit to try and get it as seamless as possible (and prevent crumb catchment areas forming!), and cutting carefully around the cooker and sink with a very sharp craft knife after using the card to smooth the paper up as close to these obstacles as possible. I also used the craft knife to trim off the excess from the front edge of the counters. I had wanted to fold it under in order to get everything as seamless as possible, but for some reason it wouldn't stick properly to the underneath even though it did so well on the top. I'm not sure if this is because of the material the counters are made of underneath or if it was just because the lip I was leaving was too small, and therefore didn't have enough scope to stick properly....my gut tells me it was the latter problem. But no worries, it looks just as well trimmed off actually. Sharp craft knives are wonderful tools, they carve off this stuff like it was made of butter!


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


So two hours of very satisfying, easy project later I had new counters! It all went surprisingly well, which makes me wonder why no-one else seems to be doing this! 

There are one or two spots where I got these little bumps, and that's because I missed tiny little flecks of paint that ended up on the counters after I painted the walls. I did clean it down and thought I had gotten everything, but this just shows that tiny little lumps will show up much bigger than you'd think! They aren't really noticeable, and if they really bothered me I could just pull up that section, sand them off and replace it, but that work to payoff ratio just doesn't seem sensible to me! If I was doing this again I would give the whole thing a fairly vigorous sanding before I laid the contact paper though, and I'd be sure to give the whole thing a really thorough clean afterwards to make sure that it had a clean, dry surface to adhere to.


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


I ended up using far less of the paper than I thought I'd need (3 rolls rather than 6) and I kept one just in case I do ever need to replace a section. But honestly, this has been in place for two months now, it's been scrubbed, had water sitting on it, things dropped on it and naked toddler bums sitting on it (I really have to break her of that habit) and it hasn't lifted or torn anywhere. I'm hoping to get maybe a year out of it to tide us over until we can do a bigger kitchen makeover, but honestly I can see it looking the exact same the day I remove it. And by the way, considering how durable it seems to be, removing it is really easy, so this would be a perfect solution for those who are renting.


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com



So that's my lovely new, cheap as chips kitchen. I am totally in love with it, and the €180 and weeks work was TOTALLY worth it! Have you ever used contact paper to update something? Talk to me!!!


I'll be back next week with something completely different, I feel a little Halloween craft coming on ;)




If you would like to read about the other projects in my kitchen makeover:

The €200, one week kitchen makeover
How to paint a tile floor (and what you should think about before you do)
A quick and easy dishwasher update
Adding interest by blinging up your toe-kicks
and
Painting an ugly tile backsplash
I hope you find them helpful! ;)


diy super cheap, easy marble look counters done with contact paper. www.makedoanddiy.com


46 comments:

  1. Awesome! I recently did this on a desk as a knock off to a $699 desk! (actually with marble paper as well) very cute!

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    1. Thank you! Yep, marble paper is pretty much my favourite thing now, I find myself looking around trying to find something else to use it on. If only I had room for a coffee table I've seen a great hack of an Ikea one using marble paper and gold spray paint, two things very close to my heart :D

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  2. Hi,
    I just found your blog and so happy I did! The header is great and I look forward to reading more. I tried to subscribe by email but the link didn't work.

    You've done a wonderful job on your kitchen reno! The marble design of this paper is beautiful.

    Hope you have a fun Halloween!
    Pat

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    1. Thank you Pat, I'm glad you found me! And thanks for pointing out the problem with the email, I'll look into it ;)
      Halloween is going to be fun this year, my daughter wants to be a "skeleton-witch" so I'll be doing my best to make that happen!lol
      Linda xx

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  3. This was excellent! Even though I have no kitchen counters to re-do, I thoroughly enjoyed that tutorial! So glad I found you on ITWBN! :)
    Laura

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  4. WHAT THE ACTUAL!!! THIS IS BEYOND INCREDIBLE LINDA ... I cannot believe how seamlessly (literally) this looks. What an incredible way to update your kitchen while you're saving to renovate. Because that is what would drive me bananas (if we actually owned a place) is having to wait months or years to be able to update something. This perfectly remedies it.

    You are some kind of genius. I think I may have to tackle our counter tops ... It's so perfectly renter-friendly.

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    1. Yeah, I'm really not able to play the long game, I need instant gratification! tbh it's going to be a loooong time till we can afford to do what we want in here, so it was take a chance or live with what's there...and that was not an option! I'm really surprised how well this turned out, and so far it's holding up really well, not a mark on it! I thought it would start lifting at the seams, especially around the cooker and sink, but nothing so far :) And I am not a genius, I am desperate! haha :D

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  5. Do you think if I were to put a layer of paint sealer over the contact paper it would protect it?

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    1. I've never used paint sealer (we don't have the clear poly stuff here, just varnish that yellows) but to be honest mine has been on my counters, taking a LOT of abuse for three months now and it isn't showing any wear. At all. I'm not trying hard to protect it, it gets wiped down at least twice a day and has often had water/food pooling on it around the cooker and sink, and everything is still as it was the day I applied it. So I don't think you need to put anything extra on it to protect it, and if you did it would take away the biggest plus to this whole process IMO, and that's that if anything did happen to it and it got marked, all you would have to do is remove that section and apply a new one. I also love that if I change my mind about the pattern it will only cost me €20 and a couple of hours to completely change it, and if you covered it that wouldn't be the case. I hope this helped! :)

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  7. Love this tutorial! Any idea what the american version of the paper you used would be? I searched Amazon but can't find the brand you used. Any help would be appreciated. Love the blog!

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    1. Thanks Joshua! I just searched "dc fix" on Amazon.com and got lots of different patterns of this stuff popping up, including the marble. Hope this helps :)

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  8. Hey Linda! This is amazing. I do have two questions. What direction did you lay the paper? I was thinking long-wise vs short-wise to avoid a lot of overlapping. What did you do? My other question is 'how is it still holding up?' I know its been several months so I'm curious.

    Now, I'm off to look at other projects you've done. I'm super excited!

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    1. Aww thanks Amanda :) I put the paper down in short strips from the back of the counter to the front. My reasoning was that shorter strips had less chance to get messed up/bubbly, and given the fact that I had to pull each one up again to some degree to deal with these things I think one long step strip would have driven me crazy!
      You dint notice the overlaps (with this pattern anyway) and is holding up fantastic! Actually, I was thinking that it's been 6 months since my kitchen makeover so I should definitely do am update.
      I hope this helps :)

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  9. Hi, Linda! Great tutorial. My husband and I are doing some 'renovations' in our apartment this month and we are definitely using your tips for some of the changes in our kitchen. Someone asked how long the contact paper veneers can last for a countertop: during my sophomore year of college I made my melamine kitchen counters and my *bathroom vanity* into marble with plain old Contact paper. Even with cooking everyday, washing face&hands, brushing teeth, doing handwash laundry, cleaning paint brushes etc etc -- the contact covered surfaces held up for three whole years and probably would have lasted longer if needed!

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    1. Good to know! Mine are still absolutely perfect after 6 months of hard wear so I figured they'd last a long time but it's great to hear you used it successfully in a bathroom as well! Honestly I don't know if I'll ever bother with new counters after discovering this!

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  10. This is seriously awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing. My question is, what do the counters feel like? do they feel like paper or do they feel hard? I know this is a silly question but I want it to look and feel like a counter top.

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  11. Thank you! They don't feel like paper at all, this stuff is like really tough plastic so when it's on over the original counters it just looks and feels like a normal worktop. You'd never know it was stuck on really. Hope that helps!

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  12. What a great idea! I have the paper and am covering a super short, but deep cabinet space. I assumed that you would run the paper from left to right vs back to front. However, when the paper came, I realized it was rather narrow and would never work laid horizontally. So, just to be clear, you laid it vertically on your countertops? Did it leave a bunch of seams? The seams you show look great, I just want to make sure before I start cutting. I hope the questions are clear, and thanks in advance for any advice.

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  13. Hi Amy! Yes, I laid mine vertically (from the wall to the front of the counter) in short strips. It left seams, but they're not very noticeable, the marble pattern is particularly good for hiding them I think. I how this helps! Linda xx

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  15. Hi Linda! This is awesome! I'm just wondering, if I want to remove it, how hard is it to remove? Will I have a big mess to clean up?

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  16. Hi there - just saw this and I too am tossing the idea around with concrete over laminate. I am totally going to try this. I actually did an old wood 4 drawer filing cabinet and it came out great! Gotta love contact paper!! Thinking about putting on the back of my stairs next :)

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  17. Yep, contact paper is just about my favourite thing at the moment, I love the idea of putting it on the back of the stairs! If I ever get around to pulling up the aged carpet on mine I'll remember that!

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  18. Hey Linda! Alex suggested I check out your post as I have THE ugliest countertops ever in my rental... How has the contact paper held up over time?!?! I worry that it would tear at the little bump parts... That said...I think I am going to take the leap and do it!!! Also - great choice in your blog theme :P

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    1. #thingsbloggersnotice lol, thanks Meagan :) I've had my contact paper in place for almost a year now and the only mark on it is from my husband spilling super glue on it! I don't try to look after it, water sits on it, things are dragged across it etc and it's still fine, even around the sink which I was sure would peel. The little bumps are still there and don't look any different to the day I installed in. Honestly, it's probably my favourite diy to date! Well worth trying.

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  19. Hiya Linda! How is the counter top holding up for long term use?love this idea, thanks for sharing!!

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  20. Opps I see your update now!

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  21. hi, just checked this option and it looks awesome. was a bit apprehensive about how it will hold up but according to your comments looks like its pretty durable. not sure if anyone asked but how does it react to hot surface or do you have to be very carefull not to put anything hot on it, as well as scrubbing dry stuff off of it?

    thanks !!

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    1. It's been on almost a year now and I have had no issues with hot things or scrubbing. Obviously I don't put hot pots etc directly on it but I wouldn't do that with anything! I regularly take hot bowls from the microwave and put them directly on it for example, and I've skilled very hot water on it several times....no problem. As for cleaning the only slight issue I've found is that sometimes a tomato based sauce will slave and stain it slightly, but the mark is always gone after day or two of normal wiping. Basically, I'd say I treat this exactly as I would a solid wood counter.

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  22. A friend sent me your link after my complaints of my horrible yellow counter tops in my rental home. Why the owner chose this color, I will never know. I had considered doing the feaux marble counters using permanent supplies. Not sure the landlord would be happy with that so this is an amazing alternative! I WILL be using your tecnique! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  23. It was probably the absolute cheapest, that's why they chose it! Lol. So glad you're going to Terry this, it made such a huge difference in my kitchen and I've been happy with it for a year now. Good luck!

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  24. Hi Linda,
    This is great and I'm definietly going to try...question, it appears the contact was not wide enough to cover the width of the counter with one piece (I can't find one I like that is wide enough), did you just have two rows and is the seam visible?
    Thanks
    Laura

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  25. what would you think about painting it over with polyurethane? would that look too shiny and not like real marble?

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    1. Hi Summer, I honestly don't think it needs a cover to protect it, it's very hardy stuff. And to be honest I love knowing that if I wanted to change this it's very easily done, coating it with poly would make it much more permanent.

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  26. hi where can this rolls be found i think its exactly what i need to redo my kitchen surfaces in a rented house

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    1. I got mine in a hardware shop but you can definitely get it on Amazon if you search for dc-fix.

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  27. How do you think this would work over granite? Will it ruin the granite when I remove it?
    I bought a recently remodeled home that has beautiful granite countertops, but they are 100% opposite of my style.

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    1. Hiya Kristi, I think it would do just fine but I would test it on a small area first just to be sure! It hasn't left any residue on anything when I've removed it, but I would check just to be sure if you're working with brand new granite!

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  28. How do you think this would work over granite? Will it ruin the granite when I remove it?
    I bought a recently remodeled home that has beautiful granite countertops, but they are 100% opposite of my style.

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  29. I found this post after looking for a tutorial on how to paint tile a backsplash. I covered my butter yellow tile 4 years ago with white contact paper and it is just now starting to lift around the corners. Everyone thought I was crazy but it has looked so good and held up so long!! I really hate the color of my kitchen counters, so I may just take the contact paper off of the walls and then put some on the counters tops! Thanks for the tip!

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  30. Hi Linda,
    Your post is very helpful and I can't wait to try this in my new house... The only problem is that it has Tile countertop :( Do you suggest trying this on tile? Also, did you have any problems with regards to water seeping in or the paper peeling off?

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    1. Glad you found it helpful! I haven't had any problems with water or peeling in the year I've had it, but I don't know if it's a good idea to put it over tile as all the grout lines will show through?

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  31. Where do you find paper for countertops?

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    1. Most good diy stores, failing that, Amazon.

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