I don’t have all the money in the world. I didn’t strike win the lottery or go to school to be a lawyer. I’m just your average 25 year old girl who works as an admin assistant in a small company. So buying my condo took a lot of saving, a lot of foregoing dinners out and movies with friends, but in the end, when I got the keys and stepped inside it was totally worth it.
This is my first place all to myself and it has granite countertops. GRANITE COUNTERTOPS! Is this real life? When I first moved in I just wanted to hug those countertops. I wanted to sleep on them. I wanted to eat off of them without plates. It didn’t matter that my kitchen is barely big enough to turn around in, I love them.
Which brings me to my first new homeowner experience. How the heck do you keep those babies clear? I don’t mean clean… maybe we will get to that another day, but how do you keep them neat? What can you do when you have an itty bitty kitchen with 5 or 6 usable cupboards and you don’t want to fill your counters with clutter?
You have to make full use of ALLLL the space you have. And that means getting organized and THAT means you need some shelf paper. It may not seem like the first thing you want to do in your kitchen because it sure isn’t very glamorous. But once you put all your dishes away you will be so so bummed if you didn’t do this first. And you want to do it right, because as I discovered you will be equally bummed if you have to take all your crap out and do it again because you only did a half way job the first time.
Now when I did this, I tried to Google it and I couldn’t find any tips or tricks on “best practices” for laying in sticky shelf paper. Usually I love picture directions because they are so simple… but these ones were pretty useless. Cut, peel, stick, and smooth… I mean really? What did you think I was going to do? Throw the whole roll in there and step on it?
Through trial and error I found discovered some things that really worked for me!
1. Get all your materials together.
A measuring tape/ruler
and your beautiful shelf paper
2. Take the drawer out if possible.
It’s much easier to work with the drawer out so you can access the very back and all sides, but if you are working with a cabinet or a drawer that doesn’t come out it’ll just be a little more cumbersome. Be sure to set your drawer on a blanket or towel so you don’t scrape it or whatever you are setting it on!
3. Clean the drawer.
This is the most crucial step! If you do not clean the drawer, the paper won’t stick- or it will stick, but not for very long because the dirt will cause it to peel up over time. Use a mini vacuum if you have one and clorox wipes/paper towels. You will be disgusted by how much dirt comes off, even if you thought it was pretty clean. Be sure to wait for it to dry completely before sticking in the paper.
4. Measure the drawer and cut a piece (almost) to size
I recomend cutting a little bit extra since sometimes drawers are not quite perfectly squared. It’s good to have a little wiggle room… we’ll trim it down on the next step. Plus, it’s much easier to work with a smaller piece and get it precise, rather than struggling with the whole roll.
5. Trim it down.
Lay the paper in the drawer wrong side up. Line the truest edge up to the back (likely the side that was cut by the manufacturer- not you). Using that edge as a guide, align it first with the back, then line up one side (preferably another “true” edge), when you get to the front and other side you will have some left over if you over-cut like I recommended. Use your fingers or the back of the pencil to push the paper into the edges. Then draw a pencil line on the edges that have extra to trim. Cut off the excess.
6. Stick it on.
Pull back about an inch of the backing on the side that will be aligned to the back. Starting in one corner, use your hand to press it firmly to the drawer. Work your way across so that the entire back inch is firmly attached. Now, gently pull the backing off with one hand and use your other hand to smooth and press the paper as needed, just a couple inches at a time. If bubbles appear, smooth them out to the nearest open edge as you go.
There you go, just keep repeating on all your drawers and soon you will be a pro. Type As (and Bs) rejoice in this picture-direction alternative!