How To Line Kitchen Drawers & Shelves with Cheery Paper

updated Jun 8, 2019
How To Line Drawers and Shelves
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(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Whether you own or rent your home, lining the shelves and cabinets is a great, low-commitment way to spruce up your kitchen. Con-Tact paper couldn’t be simpler to apply, and it comes in tons of colors and prints — you’re sure to find one that coordinates with your decor. Here, we’ll show you the easiest way to get a neat, professional-looking result, with no bubbles or wrinkles in sight.

Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Before you gather your supplies, you’ll need to measure all of the surfaces you wish to cover. This will determine how many feet of Con-Tact paper you’ll need to buy. Go through your kitchen with a ruler, notepad, and pen, writing down the dimensions of each shelf and drawer bottom. Con-Tact paper comes in an 18-inch width, so bear in mind that you’ll have to overlap two cut sheets if any surfaces measure more than 18 inches on both sides.

Go Bold & Bright!

Once you’ve done all of the measuring, it’s time for the fun part — picking out a pattern of liner paper. Like a quirky, bright lining inside of a classic trench coat, a kitchen drawer liner is a fun place to go bold. Pick a cheerful print that’ll make you smile every time you open a drawer or cabinet. Oh, and while you’re at it, make sure you’ve bought a few extra feet to account for cutting mishaps, especially if you’re new to this kind of crafty project.

Roll Away with a Rotary Cutter

The quickest, easiest way I’ve found to cut Con-Tact paper is with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, on top of a self-healing cutting mat to protect the table. If you’re already no stranger to quilting and sewing projects, you likely already have all of these supplies on hand. If not, they’re easily purchased in any craft store or online.

Where To Buy Cutting Supplies

The Secret Tool for Squeezing Out Bubbles

It may be a little more difficult to track down a plastic squeegee — I found mine at TAP Plastics, which has stores in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. About the size of a credit card, this yellow plastic tool is perfect for smoothing the bubbles out of a piece of shelf liner paper. Mine cost $1.25, a price I happily paid to avoid the headaches of removing and reapplying the paper. You can also use a credit card or small plastic ruler, but make sure it doesn’t have any sharp edges or nicks so you don’t tear the paper as you’re smoothing it down.

A Bright Solution to Your Drawer Situation

In addition to brightening up my kitchen, lining the drawers was also a great excuse for a reassessment of my kitchen gadget situation. I found a few things to donate, reorganized the drawers, and got a bright new look too. Go ahead and follow the instructions below to add a little pizazz to your drawers and shelves, and you may end up getting rid of some unnecessary odds and ends while you’re at it. An added bonus if I do say so myself.

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Measure all of the shelves and drawers you plan to line, notating the length and width of each surface. (Image credit: Coco Morante)

How To Line Drawers and Shelves

Nutritional Info


  • Ruler
  • Notepad
  • Pen or pencil
  • Cleaning cloth
  • All -purpose cleaner
  • Magic eraser or scrubby sponge (optional)
  • Con -Tact or other shelf liner paper
  • Self -healing cutting mat
  • Quilting ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Plastic squeegee


  1. Take measurements: Measure all of the shelves and drawers you plan to line, notating the length and width of each surface.

  2. Clean the shelves and drawers: Dampen a cleaning cloth and wipe down the shelves and drawers thoroughly, using cleaning solution as needed. For stubborn spots, use a damp magic eraser, if needed. Allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly.

  3. Unroll a length of the liner paper onto the cutting mat: Use the quilting ruler to measure out the required length, marking the top and bottom of the paper with a pen or pencil.

  4. To cut the liner paper: Line up the quilting ruler on the contact paper where you’ll be making the cut. With one hand firmly pressing on the quilting ruler. Roll the rotary cutter along the contact paper alongside the quilting ruler, using it as a cutting guide. Press firmly as you cut to make sure you are cutting completely through the paper. Repeat with remaining contact paper, measuring and cutting out all of the sheets required to line your shelves and drawers.

  5. To line a drawer or shelf: Peel a small corner of backing away from the liner paper and position the paper exactly as you want it to lie.

  6. Tack down the exposed corner of the liner paper: Use the plastic squeegee to smooth it down, starting in the middle and working out toward the edges. Continue to peel away the backing from the liner paper a few inches at a time, smoothing with the squeegee as you go.

  7. Smooth out wrinkles: Once the entire backing is removed and the paper is fully tacked down to the shelf or drawer, check carefully for any bubbles or wrinkles, smoothing them out with the squeegee if necessary.

  8. Finish the rest of your drawers and shelves: Repeat steps 5 through 7 with all of the remaining shelves and drawers.

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