Asked on Mar 25, 2016

Contact paper for drawers not sticking

by Samantha
We are refacing our built-in cabinet unit, and are currently working cleaning up the shelves and drawers. The issue I'm running into is this: the shelves and the bottoms and sides of the drawers are covered in 2 layers of contact paper and then a couple of layers of paint underneath that. I've scraped and cleaned everything the best I can, and then I went to lay a new sheet of contact paper down. The new paper isn't sticking in the least, though! Any one have any ideas or know of a good sticky brand of paper that I can use??
  14 answers
  • KatAych KatAych on Mar 25, 2016
    How about stapling? You could even use fabric instead. You could Modge Podge it on if you're really desperate! (Although I use a mixture of white glue and water instead.)
    • See 1 previous
    • KatAych KatAych on Apr 16, 2017

      Elmer's Glue mixed with water.

  • Skyval Skyval on Mar 25, 2016
    The residue of 'whatever' is always gonna be there and I've done different finishes with this method .. I took the drawers outside and prepared them and spray painted the bottom of them . When you have that shiny new enamel surface , things stick better to it . Good luck .
  • Jud1016678 Jud1016678 on Mar 26, 2016
    Use wallpaper!
  • Mandy Brown Mandy Brown on Mar 26, 2016
    You could try spraying the drawer lightly with spray adhesive before you place the contact paper for better adhesion. The only thing I'd do is put news paper around the edges so the overspray doesn't get on them since spray adhesive doesn't wipe off that well.
  • Kim Kim on Mar 26, 2016
    I hard the same issue with my bathroom cabinets. The surfaces must be free of dirt and grease. I used a solution of warm water and Dawn Liquid Dish Detergent. Scrub the surfaces with that, then wipe with a towel dampened in clean water to rinse. Allow to dry, and the paper should stick better.
  • Kin5258196 Kin5258196 on Mar 26, 2016
    I use vinyl flooring on shelves and inside drawers. It's easy to clean, always stays flat and in place, cushions the dishes and is virtually indestructible.
    • See 2 previous
    • G G on Nov 04, 2016
      So you don't use the peel and stick vinyl flooring under the sink or in the shelves you just place it in there? Or am I getting that wrong. My shelves are stained bad and I want to cover that, and the contact paper wont stick to the surface (particle board) so I was thinking this might be the better option after reading your comment about vinyl flooring. Thank you for responding to my question!
  • Cindy Cindy on Mar 26, 2016
    Try Cute patterns.
  • Retta Robinson Retta Robinson on Mar 26, 2016
    I always line the bottoms of lower bathroom and kitchen cabinets with 12" vinyl flooring tile. You can cut it with scissors to any shape you want. It has a peel off paper backing over the adhesive back and will stick to anything. Do all your measuring and cutting before taking the paper off ! Best of all, it's really inexpensive--sometimes as little as 29 cents per square.
  • Sara Marburger Sara Marburger on Mar 27, 2016
    Try glue dots
  • Kin5258196 Kin5258196 on Nov 05, 2016
    The vinyl I use is from a large piece of rolled vinyl that would be installed for's fairly thick and lays flat. The biggest advantage is that there are no seams for water or dirt to seep into! I'm afraid the peel and stick pieces won't stick any better than the contact paper you have already tried. Most of the product I have used are pieces passed on by family and friends, but I did get a small remnant from a local flooring installer to use in my new to me kitchen.
    • G G on Nov 06, 2016
      Thank you I just decided to paint them, although I hate painting! I primed it and painted them gray and not a single stain can be seen the guy at home depot was so helpful and gave me everything I needed for this job. They came out really nice. Thank you again for your advice.
  • Sandy Steadman Sandy Steadman on Oct 27, 2019

    TSP (tri sodium phosphate) is a very harsh cleaner that will get off most anything, and it's designed to be used before paint. I did that, rinsed well, let completely dry, and my $%^$%$^ contact paper still didn't stick! I tried to tack down the edges with packing tape, and it still let go! I'm trying the linoleum next!

  • Becky Becky on Mar 06, 2020

    I am looking to see if anyone had a good solution to getting contact paper to stick. I just painted the shelves. I am using new contact brand paper. It is not sticking well. I tried using spray glue and letting it dry a little but it seems to react with the contact paper and cause the vinyl to stretch and bubble in a weird way. I have not tried to use the Elmers glue/water method.

  • Pat Pat on Mar 07, 2020

    Are you using genuine contact paper? The reason I asked is I bought some shelf liner paper that is like contact but does not stick either. Where I wanted it, was able to staple it to the shelves. I have linoleum on my cupboard under the kitchen sink and works great and easy to clean. When all else fails, I would paint the bottom shelves, which I have done in other houses and looks nice and clean.