Contact Paper Appliances

Did you know you can get the look of stainless-steel appliances for cheap?! Use stainless steel contact paper to cover your refrigerator or dishwasher in about an hour. This DIY project looks great too and holds up over time with the right prep.

When we remodeled the kitchen, I didn’t have all new appliances in the budget and the dishwasher was actually functioning pretty well. So we decided to put our money towards building a kitchen island, new countertops, and adding more cabinet storage.

But the dishwasher was still saved! I upgraded by covering the dishwasher in stainless steel contact paper. Yes, you read that right! Contact paper! And years later, it held up very well until we eventually replaced the appliances.

I often get questions about this project. How does it hold up to heat and steam? Does it actually look like stainless steel? Is the contact paper waterproof? Does it leave any sticky residue or damage walls when you remove it? All the details are included!

3. Bubbles. 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. Where to buy? I purchased my stainless-steel contact paper here. It really does look like authentic; it has the horizontal lines and matches my real stainless fridge exactly. It also has a great adhesive and I have not had problems with the edges. I would not recommend purchasing any ol’ contact paper you find from the grocery store, as some of those are thinner and have less durable adhesive.

5. How does it hold up? This project looked good as new 2 years after I did it. The dishwasher broke around that time, so we had to replace it. However, I think it would have lasted at least a few more!

6. Want to avoid seams? There are rolls that come in more sizes for all kinds of appliances and even countertop width! These weren’t available years ago when I did this project, but I definitely would have went with this option.

7. Heat and water. I never had a problem with this brand pulling up at the edges even though the dishwasher gets quite warm, and steam came out the sides. Contact paper is usually waterproof, so that should not be a concern if the paper is applied well. I will say I have not tried this on an oven, so I am not sure that would work.

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. Before starting I cleaned it thoroughly with Windex (no residue) and made sure it was cool and dry.

Because of the lines in the paper, we had to lay this horizontally from left to right. Since it is a vertical surface, I highly recommend two people so a partner can hold the sheet as you smooth it down. We did the bottom as a separate piece.

If you pay attention to the dishwasher, you may notice that the sheet was about 1 inch short of the top part. Therefore, we do have a seam on ours. It doesn’t bother me, but there are much better sizes available today so that you won’t get seams on dishwashers or refrigerators.

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, so the above photo is the same technique that 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. Fold the top and bottom down first, wrapping around the side edges a bit. Then the sides are smoothed down, overlapping the previously laid bits. This ensures no gaps in the corners.

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 and the sides.


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