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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Cabinetry / Shelving Category

Improvement Project:

How to remove interior drawer / shelving paper covering.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Small pan/bucket full of warm water

  • Scrapper

  • Paint thinner or vegetable oil

  • Dampened cloth/rag

  • Dry cloth/rag

  • General soap/detergent


To remove old interior drawer / shelving paper covering in preparation to either insert and laminate a new interior paper covering or paint the inside, do the following for each interior drawer / shelving whose interior paper will be removed:

  1. Pull out the drawer / shelving and uplift it so as to remove it off its tracks / support pins to gain better access to the paper cover that is to be removed.

  2. Take a warm-dampened cloth/rag (use a small pan/buck full of warm water in which to dip the cloth/rag and squeeze excess water out of it) and rub it across the paper covering with the idea that the warm water will undo the adhesive layer underneath the paper covering that is keeping paper covering attached to the drawer / shelving.

  3. Work your hands around the paper covering's edges, attempting to slowly start the uplifting of the said paper covering.

  4. Continue to rub the warm-dampened cloth/rag across the paper covering, working the warm water into it and, as you do that, continue to uplift the paper covering until it finally comes off.

  5. If parts of the paper covering come off and not others, for those that prove difficult to remove, rub either paint thinner or vegetable oil into the paper covering with the dampened cloth/rag.  Caution: When using products like paint thinner, be sure to allow for proper ventilation for your safety, and make sure you are not operating near combustible materials or open flames.  Use a scrapper if necessary to get rid of the remnants of the paper covering, being careful not to scar or gouge the underlying surface of the drawer / shelving.

  6. Upon removing the paper covering, pour some general detergent/soap into the pan/bucket of the remaining warm water and dip your dampened cloth in it. 

  7. Raise the cloth/rag above the pan/bucket and squeeze out the excess water absorbed by the cloth/rag and then use the-now soapy-watery cloth/rag to give the drawer / shelving a final clean rub and swipe of all residue, including any paper-covering pieces.

  8. Immediately dry the drawer / shelving with a dry cloth/rag, and now it is ready for the application of either a new paper covering or interior paint.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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