After I showed that I used simple $5 contact paper on my kitchen counter top, and also up the walls above it, there were some questions.
Was it sticky and hard to do? Yes, in places it was. I was looking online last night and discovered that there is contact paper that will not stick to itself, but it is about ten times more in cost. However, it might be worth it, looking back!
But I have to say, this was the cheapest route, with the restrictions I had, that I could possibly have gone.
I don't know how other people do this, though I did watch a few YouTube videos and got some ideas. But when it comes down to it, you simply have to find your own way.
Some points I will make:
1) Start in a corner and work out. (That's if you're using a pattern or checks, etc.) I did not do this, and I regret it. I will probably eventually take some of it down and do that. That way you have a much better chance of getting things to look the best.
I did not work horizontally, like all the others I'd seen. I figured, it's only 17 inches and I'm still going to lack about 8 inches, so I chose to bring the length toward me. In other words the 17 inches began where the corner and the counter top started and I worked toward myself.
After all was said and done, I liked the look of this technique better.
2) Overlap. When you put one piece down and are ready for another, overlap by about half an inch. Contact paper is water resistant, but if you don't overlap, water could collect where the pieces intersect. That was my fear anyway.
3) When you go around the kitchen sink, you can watch YouTube videos of various ways to do it.
Remember that it is stretched tight. So don't cut too close. Give yourself some leeway in case the stretch causes the contact paper to move away from the sink area. It's easier to cut a little more than to start over.
4) Contact paper sticks to itself. My technique was to pull the paper away about 10 inches or so. Then I folded the paper back upon itself. This way I was only working with 10 inches of stickiness at a time and it was much easier to handle.
After I got that part smoothed down, and I would suggest something straight like a credit card to gently smooth it down as you go, then I would pull another 10 or so inches and keep going. This made it much less apt to stick to itself.
(If I did this again, I might save my pennies and get the type that does not stick to itself. Might keep my blood pressure from going up trying to extricate myself from sticky paper!
5) There are going to be bubbles. On my surface, there was texture, so there was a LOT of bubbles. You simply take a straight pin and put a pin prick in the bubble and then attempt to smooth it out. This worked for me in most places, and you will never see the pin prick.
And folks, remember, this is a cheap-o budget job, so there will be little imperfections. Things like that usually bother me. But I have to look closely to see them, so I'm not going to sweat it.
This is a fantastic way to completely change the look of your kitchen. You can always use cutting boards placed over areas that particularly bother you, and you won't see the imperfections at all!