Frugal Friday: How to Re-Surface an Old Worktable Using Contact Adhesive Paper (Video included!)

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Frugal Friday: How to Re-Surface an Old Worktable Using Contact Adhesive Paper (Video included!)


Today is Frugal Friday at The Shabby I thought I'd enter her contest and invite you to join in the fun.   Have you ever had a great work table that you just hated to throw out? I bought this fabulous office table..all eight feet of it for $75.00 from Office Depot almost fourteen years ago! We've used it for school, crafts, my husband's desk (he works from home and uses about three computers at a time) and even for company dinner, if we had a large family over.  That surface has seen a lot of punishment and the surface really looked pretty tacky. Four years ago, I pulled all the laminate that was on the top off because it was starting to peel.

It took a little work, but it came right off! That was the first time I covered the surface with contact paper. I used the wood grain paper at the time and it looked amazingly nice and for my purposes, was perfect. It wasn't meant to be a 'show table' but a place to do crafts, school, and science projects, art, and sewing.  But I didn't want to look at a scuffed up surface every day.  Frankly, the wood grain did not show mistakes in the same way that white does, which is something to consider when deciding what to use for your surface.

Well, it was time to re-cover the more time. Now that I'm doing so many photographs for tutorials and prefer a white background, I decided that I would use white contact paper rather than the wood grain.  I think it turned out beautifully!  Yes, it's a poor man's fix. But it's one that will fool company! They won't even know any better unless you tell them. It looks great in my sewing/craft room!

What to Buy:  All you need is one large roll of adhesive contact paper, very sharp scissors, and a hand towel.

It's really a pretty simple task, but since this is my second time to do this, I thought I'd share a few tips. The first thing to do is simply pull off the current surface if you think it is removable-- if not...leave it.

You don't need to measure ahead of time, but whatever you do, don't pull off all of the backing! Just expose enough to attach to one end of the table.

The most important thing to avoid, is getting the paper on crooked. 

If you have to cut it on the sides with scissors,  it just will not cut neatly no matter what you do.  So lay out enough of  the long end of the paper, with the backing still on it, so that you know for sure that the edge of the paper is in line with the edge of the table.

I pull the backing paper with one hand and press it down with a hand towel with the other.  The roll of excess paper just sits on the top and unrolls as I pull.

  If you use your hand to press down the contact paper, the pressure will be  uneven and you might stretch it. This you want to avoid at all costs! You will end up with wrinkles and if you try to pull it up and replace it, you will have bubbles which you will have to prick with a pin afterward to flatten.  That is why I use a folded hand towel instead.

Go VERY SLOW, constantly adjusting the direction you are pulling the adhesive paper, so that it stays exactly even with the edge of the table. You can make tiny corrections as you go.

At the very end, slide your sharp scissors along the narrow side of the table. It will cut through the paper like putty without you ever squeezing the scissors together. If you do it right, you won't have a single jagged edge. 

With the second layer, I went ahead and rolled out the length I needed and then cut off most, but not all of the excess.  I did not try to cut it to fit the width of what was needed to cover the table. I just overlapped in the middle. It might be a bit darker with this white strip of overlap, but the resulting center edge looks a lot neater.

Afterward, I pressed down any air bubbles that I could and poked a few with a pin.  As far as I'm concerned, we've got another four years of great use on this worktable...and saved ourselves the purchase price of a replacement work table. And it looks fresh and clean which means I won't have to be embarrassed when company comes through the craft room/office.  I could think of a lot better use for $80.00 than replacing a table just because it looks bad. nice!

Videos Part I and II

Happy Homemaking!


Trudy said...

That was an excellent tutorial and video(s), Donna.

Anonymous said...

Well done! Do you worry about it bubbling if you put the wrong things on it? Are there certain things you can't clean it with?

Donna said...

That stuff sticks like glue! It's a work table though, not the dining table. I can say that after years of using it with the new surface, I've never had anything affect it but knives. There were scratches and knicks but that was it.
We have put EVERYTHING on that table... crockpots, computers, and glue guns. I wash it all the time. I never scrub it with comet though. :o)

I use 409 or Murphy's Wood Oil Soap. It's very durable. Perhaps, if your surface were not perfectly clean, that would be an issue. My table had a fiberboard top. I've also gone straight over a contact paper layer.

Frankly, this stuff takes a beating and stays on just fine. It was pretty tough peeling off the adhesive when it came time to replace it. I really had to work at it, if that gives you any idea about how well it sticks.

Donna said...

About the surface, what I meant to say is that you would want to be sure it was perfectly clean and dry before laying contact paper on it.

Breathing In Grace said...

It looks so good...and sure saved you lots of $$$ from buying a new one!!! Great job!

Hills N Valleys said...

You are one clever lady!!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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