Picture of DIY Vinyl Wall Art
I live in an apartment and dig doing large-scale art.

Apartments, however, are usually a pain to paint and then paint to cover-up your awesome paint, and an especially big pain when you move around as often as I do.

I do like having bright, interesting spaces, so I was brainstorming on creating a large art piece that I could maybe mount on the wall, or other types of removable decor, and the universe smiled on my with inspiration from one of my favorite blogs: Nest did a neat post on using contact paper to make wall decals.

With contact paper as my medium, a Tim Burton-esque / Tokyo Plastic vision of swirls, and a hot afternoon (or AC busted that weekend with temps in the 90s!), I was ready to start doin' some art!.

This is my very first instructable, and I hope you enjoy it. Please send me questions. Thanks!

(Edit 1: Added pricing to supplies list. )
(Edit 2: Added bamboo close up images and peeling images.)
(Edit 3: 11/2009: Inserted step 10 describing successful removal, and updated maintenance description.)

Step 1: Stuff You Need

Picture of Stuff You Need
Hardware you'll need:

  • ConTact paper (a brand of low-tack, self-adhesive vinyl, commonly used by grandmas as "shelf liners", has a very matte finish) or similar low-tack, self-adhesive, thin vinyl. 
  • Tape (preferably easily visible and low-stick, like painter's tape or masking tape)
  • Writing utensil (marker or pencil)
  • Scissors
  • Large sized scrap paper (like used news papers or newsprint)
  • Plastic card (like a library card - this is not pictured.)


  • An idea
  • A plan

Costs: The only supply I had to purchase was the ConTact Paper: $30 with shipping, ordered through amazon, with awesome variety in colors, but you can find smaller rolls with different prints at local hardware stores for around $10
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TheChemist5 years ago
I couldn't find black contact paper at my local hardware store. All they had was this patterned vinyl. I put this up with my roommate and my friend in college on our door. we did the whole thing free form. If I could do it again, I would avoid the grass. It's a pain to peel and stick. Big pieces are easy. Stick with that.
sm007thie5 years ago
awesome idea. thanks.

i got bamboo patterned contact paper and made bamboo shoots in one of the corners of my son's room. it was a little tedious cutting all of the pieces, but i think the effect turned out nice.
That's awesome! Brilliant job, very nice!
rasidanks6 years ago
great iinstructable! below my pics
britsteiner (author)  rasidanks6 years ago
Neat! Makes me think of Dali paintings.
ivanuska6 years ago
this is in my bedroom
britsteiner (author)  ivanuska6 years ago
How very elegant! I love the varied line weights in your design.
I did this too! I didn't realize there were any other tutorials on this\, I made a much less in-depth one about it on my site :). I'll add a link to think one for other great ideas!

to my tutorial

(hope the image and link worked, this is my first post!)
madpawn7 years ago
I found a roll of similar stuff at a Home Depot that they were getting rid of for two dollars or so. So I made this! (Sorry it's so close in concept to yours—I plan to make it grow larger and larger as the year progresses. Also, I took it in a more Lovecraftian/tentacular direction.) Wonderful stuff. Thank you so much!
britsteiner (author)  madpawn7 years ago
Your design is lovely! No worries on similarities - I'm glad you liked mine enough to inspire yours :) Also, do you happen to still have the packaging for the stuff you found at Home Depot? Or a link to it on their website? Suggesting another brand might help other people find materials or even different color options.
I'm glad you like it! The brand was "Magic Cover" by the Kittrich Corporation. It seems every store here has either it or the ConTac paper by Rubbermaid. I was particularly inspired by their neon orange. Hmmm...
klawrence7 years ago
okay... so the contact paper thing got me thinking and i love the checkered look, so that's what i did. just cut the contact paper into perfect squares and stuck 'em up. took less than an hour. i've only done the stairwell so far. here's a few pics but i'll do more throughout the apartment. :) thanks so much!
walls 013.JPGwalls 014.JPGwalls 015.JPGwalls 018.JPG
britsteiner (author)  klawrence7 years ago
WIcked! I like it. Glad it worked so well for you.
Kmyz3 months ago
Kmyz3 months ago

Can contact paper be taken down and reused?

TrekCat6 months ago

Do you know if it is possible to paint designs on Con Tact paper?

lblack106 months ago
moving soon, I'm totally going to try this!!!
DarkAshes2711 months ago
does this work with textured walls? has anyone tried it?

No, it doesn't. Unless the wall is completely smooth, it will be easy to pull up. Also, I've discovered in my house that they don't stick to certain paints either. I have plaster walls with about a million coats of paint on them and everything I try to stick on the walls in the bedrooms falls right off. No cute decals for us :(

aww well thanks for the reply =/ maybe something better will come up someday
Chris222221 year ago

Very Nice, I like the way the black bamboo matches the decor. We did something similar in white in the shower on the glass door but we just bought some <a href="http://www.splashwallart.com" rel="nofollow">wall decals</a> and then put them up ourselves.


dding that to my wall as soon as i track down some coloured contact paper. hard to find around where i am :(

you ca. Find it in dollar stores around here---cheap too

you ca. Find it in dollar stores around here---cheap too

I love it!
this is awesome it inspired me to do an Instructable of my own if you get a chance please check it out faux headboard made of contact paper.
ConTact brand has both a chalkboard liner and a shelf liner on Amazon. I was confused about which one to use since I don't want my walls to get ruined but then the decals shouldn't fall off easily either.
nthomson2 years ago
Okay this is a really old thread but I am wondering what people think about colouring the paper (like with a sharpie) before sticking it up? Want to make some little woodland animals for my baby's room.
britsteiner (author)  nthomson2 years ago
Using a sharpie should work. The vinyl material isn't like paper where markers would be problematic; it's more like a thin-but-still-waterproof plastic. The contact paper brand vinyl I used wouldn't let the sharpie seep through at all, so I don't think it would leak through over time and hurt the walls. And a good sharpie should show clearly on the lighter vinyl colors easily. I think other people have posted about using paints on top of the vinyl as well, but your marker idea sounds easier to apply to me!
sbmile4 years ago
just so everyone knows.
Contact paper is Also Perfect for Car decals.
you can get White contact paper at wal-mart and hardware stores. I had these stickers on the window of my car for about 8 months (i will say, that is too long, unless your ok with all of the adhesive coming off the stickers and on your window)...
i had some others for about 6 months, and they came off like they weren't even there, with the exception of dirt outlines. and i Will also point out. they last Excelent through all weather conditions Except Winter, because, if ice or snow builds up on your window, you have to scrap it off...
i couldn't find black in a local store, so i had to buy it on line. and, i am in the process of testing it on the body of the car. so far, its working perfectly, it looks almost like its painted on, however, i don't know yet if it takes the paint off, but i kinda doubt it will.
the two side stickers (batman, and the joker) they took 2/3 hrs to make each. and i smashed the outline into the inside of the window, and it took about an hr to put them on the window.
(and for anyone wondering, the batman logo, it is Korean, for Batman :P and i made it in photoshop)
This is nice!! Now did you put the contact on the inside or outside of the car? I did my husband design and placed it on the outside and it's starting to peel along the edges. I used the contact paper from Menards.
This is so badass, it brought tears to my eyes...
dwoythal sbmile4 years ago
Im just wondering, do you know if this is legal to do in the US? New York to be specific.
mbrown2 sbmile4 years ago
This is amazing. Great Job! I love this. <3 Batman and Joker are my favorite.
dhull-1 sbmile4 years ago
hi i am working on my car and my them for my car is the dark night and i was woundering if there is anyway you can make me just the joker one for my window and i am willing to pay you can get a hold of me on face book or or on my cell my name is .... Drew Hull .. 724 516 8381 or 724 216 7645
D00M99 sbmile4 years ago
Whoa. Nice job!
Dollydagger3 years ago
I love this tutorial. And I love seeing what the rest of the commenters have done with the general idea.
I just moved into a new apartment that needs some spice on the walls. Once I get my arse in gear I'll be showing everyone what I've come up with.
rmacdonald33 years ago
I m actually doing a "psycho"(the movie) themed bathroom(blood red walls, shower curtain with bloody hand prints and bathmat with bloody foot prints both purchased from think geek.com) I am doing a wall stencil of a composite image from the movie in black on my wall..mine is going to actually be painted but I am going to use the vinyl to make the stencil do to the fact its rather large and has some small detail cutting and using a paper stencil will not work/too difficult because of certain parts of the stencil will be floating so this vinyl idea is perfect thanks much. I attached an image of what the image will look like..obviously I will have to do the stencil in a "negative" format as the wall is red and the black parts will be painted. Hope the attached image works.
whoops image didn't work first time
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