Hello, friends! Today I am sharing how I upgraded our dishwasher by covering it in contact paper. Yes, you read that right! Contact paper! When we remodeled our kitchen, I was in an “all black must go” kind of mood. Still am, actually. But in my thrifty DIY adventures, I hate throwing out something that is functioning well. So we decided that covering the dishwasher front was the best way to go for now.
This is the original dishwasher and, apparently, it is pretty hard to photograph scratches on black but it had a few deep scratches, a lot of abrasion scratches, and a few dings.
Tips for using contact paper on an appliance:
1. I won’t lie, this is a 2 person job. It’s not hard though and the whole thing took about 1 hour to put on (I am slow and precise).
2. A couple of friends have made the comment “Oh, you must have a lot of patience”. I sort of scoff at that because although it is tedious I suppose, it’s a relatively small area. I am proud because it really does look great and authentic.
3. If you do get a small bubble that you can’t smooth out, use a sewing needle and poke a super-tiny hole to release the air and flatten it out.
4. I purchased my “stainless steel” contact paper at Home Depot. It really does look like stainless steel appliances, it has the horizontal lines and matches my real stainless fridge exactly. The contact paper we purchased was damaged so we had to get two rolls ($10 each – but we received a discount). One roll would have done the job and the color was minimally different between the two rolls.
5. The after picture was taken 4 months after installation. We run the dishwasher almost every day and I worried that the heat and potential steam from the dishwasher would affect the contact paper over time. It hasn’t, but I did make sure the wrapped sides were firmly attached to the dishwasher glass well with no loose ends.
First, clean and dry your surface thoroughly. Starting with the top part of the dishwasher, cut the sheet of contact paper to size so that it wraps around each side (I cut mine a little larger just in case). Gently peel the backing down, at least, several inches evenly, making sure that it does not roll back on itself. I highly recommend two people and you can peel the entire backing off. As you can see above, my husband was asleep when I decided to do the bottom of the dishwasher. I felt more confident since this was a much smaller sheet.
Line up the top of the contact paper where you want it so that only the tip touches the surface. Your assistant’s job is to hold the working material so that it doesn’t touch the appliance or fold back on itself. Using a credit card or flat plastic scraper (not metal), move evenly from one side to the other, moving in the direction of the stainless grain. Move horizontal 1-2 inches, then even out vertically. Watch for any bubbles as you work and push them out or lift the contact paper back up a bit and redo. Patience is key. The picture of this technique was unrecognizable but this is the same technique as I use with wallpaper.
Covering the dishwasher was a bit trickier with the corners. After cutting the sheet, I smoothed out the front and then cut these wings on the sides. This way I could fold the top and bottom down first, wrapping around the side edges a bit. Then the sides are smoothed down and the excess is cut off.
Tada! I think it is pretty awesome for $10.
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