Not just shelf liner: Retro ConTact paper was an easy home decor solution in the 1970s 

Retro ConTact paper

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Let’s journey back to the 1970s, a time of vibrant fashion, the disco boom, and one underappreciated hero of the home decor scene: retro ConTact paper. Yes, you heard that right, that adhesive-backed plastic wonder that served as the Swiss Army Knife of interior design.

During the 1970s, ConTact paper was no mere shelf liner. Oh no — this versatile material punched well above its weight, taking on roles that ranged from furniture facelift specialist to wall decorator, even lending its sturdy touch to the humble cardboard shoe box. Who needed a professional decorator when you had a roll of floral patterned ConTact paper and a free afternoon?

Retro Contact paper on a toy plane (1969)

This wasn’t just a fad, it was a movement, a sticky revolution that let you transform your living space faster than you could say “avocado-colored appliances.” A can-do spirit was all you needed to turn that tired old bookcase into a psychedelic spectacle or give your window shades a floral fantasy makeover.

So, let’s rewind to the time of bell-bottoms, lava lamps, and the mighty ConTact paper. A period when the aesthetics of the everyday were given a colorful shake-up, thanks to a roll of plastic and a little DIY determination. Prepare to stick with us as we peel back the layers on the history of this adhesive all-star.

Vintage Con-Tact paper backing with Connie Con-Tact cut-out expert

Picasso-cued living room decorated with retro floral Contact Paper (1971)

Picasso-cued living room decorated with retro floral Contact Paper (1971)

Super vintage 70s home decor with retro vinyl ConTact wallpaper

Con-Tact: The self-adhesive you just peel off and apply

Retro Con-Tact paper self-adhesive vinyl

DON’T MISS: Cool 1970s kitchen decor: How to give your modern kitchen a groovy vibe without going overboard

Do something nice for a wall tonight… (1970s)

…or a shelf. Or a wastebasket. Give them a sparkling personality. A reflection of your own tastes. Give them a covering of new Con-Tact Brand “Chrome.”

With its self-adhesive back, Con-Tact Brand plastic is so easy to put up you can even do-it-yourself. And it’s even easier to care for. Our “Chrome” comes in four patterns and colors including Triumph, shown here.

See them and all the other Con-Tact Brand styles at fine stores everywhere. So do something nice for your wall tonight and help put an end to the wall blahs.

Vintage Contact adhesive wallpaper 1970s

Con-Tact: It’s a living thing. (1971)

Same room — so many ways to decorate it. A little here, a whole lot there and tradition comes alive — the incredibly easy self-adhesive Con-Tact plastic way. Or — if your mood is modern, create your own supergraphic atmosphere with Con-Tact polished patent plastic.

DON’T MISS: Supergraphics are ready for their comeback! Get vintage decor inspiration & painting instructions

Con-Tact paper - It's a living thing - Vintage home decor

Retro stickyback plastic table-toppers (1972)

Decorating a small cube table with silver metallic wicker pattern contact paper

Decorating a small cube table with silver metallic wicker pattern contact paper (1972)

Covering a wooden picnic-style table with blue adhesive vinyl

Covering a wooden picnic-style table with blue adhesive vinyl (1972)

Vintage shelf liners: A quick course in shelf improvement.

A. You can trust Con-Tact Brand self-adhesive lining to give your shelves the color, sparkle and style you want. For one very simple reason. It’s the original tried and true washable covering that’s rejuvenated shelves, drawers, cupboards, toy chests — almost anything — for years and years.

B. Applying Con-Tact coverings is no sticky business. Just cut, peel, and press. There’s no mess. Because no water is needed. Lift it and reposition it as often as you need to. And put it anywhere. It covers everything from tops and bottoms to corners and edges. And stays put.

C. Choose from a rainbow of colors, patterns, and styles such as chromes and wet looks. Or the Quiltsoft drawer and shelf lining pictured below.

D. Be sure you ask for genuine Con-Tact Brand. The first name in self-adhesive decorative coverings. And you’ll see what a little shelf improvement can do to brighten up your life.

Vintage Con-Tact shelf paper from the 70s

Vintage Rubbermaid Shelf Liner. The removable, re-stickable one. (1972)

Rubbermaid Shelf Liner now has Tack-Back. A gentle adhesive that will hold your shelf liner in place only until you want to remove it.

There’s no backing to peel. Just dampen the shelf, and it sticks lightly where you want it. And it comes in lots of colors to dress your cupboards beautifully.

Vintage Rubbermaid Shelf Liner 1970s

ALSO SEE: Remember these old flower-shaped bathtub stickers? See Rubbermaid non-slip tub appliques from the 60s & 70s

Con-Tact: A moving experience

Con-Tact, fantastic self-adhesive plastic. Updates, decorates, rejuvenates. Fill your house with it. Neighbors will notice.

Our famous Packet Full or Posies, Con-Tact brand flowers in new fall colors to plant on cars, phones, walls, whatever…

Re-covering furniture with vintage Contact paper - 70s home decor

Now every drawer can have a softer lining.

Con-Tact Brand Quiltsoft self-adhesive lining gives everything from drawers to jewelry boxes a gentle touch of elegance. And gives you a chance to unleash your imagination.

Because you have a rainbow of Quiltsoft colors and regular Con-Tact Brand self-adhesive lining patterns to choose from. Made of fiber-filled pillows, Quiltsoft even helps cushion delicate china and dinnerware against chips, cracks, and breaks.

And its durable washable surface is silky smooth. Stockings swish over it, sweaters glide over it, So you can line a clothing drawer or sweater chest and kiss snags goodbye.

Putting it on is no sticky business. Just cut, peel, and press. There’s no mess. Because no water is needed. Lift it and reposition it as often as you need to. And wherever you want it to stick, it’ll stick. So hurry out right away and treat your shelves and drawers to a softer lining. 

ALSO SEE: Vintage ’70s toadstool ottomans & gull-wing chairs, in wet-look vinyl & plush

Vintage soft Con-Tact paper drawer liner - 1970s


Remodel your kitchen with ConTact vinyl paper

The old kitchen was such a joke — even when the walls were cracking up, but they laughed last with Con-Tact.

Shown: Contact paper for countertops, Con-Tact flock paper, faux teak wall coverings, red daisy table paper

Refresh kitchen with adhesive plastic - Contact Paper 1970s (1)

Shelf-improvement kit: Vintage Rubbermaid kitchen shelf liner (1970)

Rubbermaid shelf liner 1970

The no-loan home improvement

You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to improve it. You can do it wall by wall, room by room, the easy, inexpensive Con-Tact way.

Con-Tact brand self-adhesive plastic can turn any room or object modern, romantic, rococo, or just beautifully new. And it’s washable and waterproof. (A damp cloth wipes almost anything off, from grease to grape jelly.)

Yet, you can change the average drab kitchen into a dream kitchen for less than nine dollars! A bathroom costs a little less; a living room a little more. All you pay for is the Con-Tact vinyl. No paperhanger, stickum, brushes or rollers. Just a couple of hours of your time.

And you have over 200 styles to choose from, from traditional to avant-garde, many of which have matching accessories like shelving and pleated edging. And just like that, you’ve got a lovely home improvement with no strain on you or your budget. You can bank on it.

Home improvement - Contact paper seventies

MORE: How to wallpaper a ceiling, plus 12 colorful examples of this retro ’70s home decor trend

Retro decor: Decorate your home with sticky back plastic (1970s)

Even if your home has 150 rooms, Con-Tact Brand gives you colors and patterns to cover everything beautifully. And easily.

Over 150 different patterns and colors to choose from. Even flocks and chromes. Con-Tact plastic with its A-21 self-adhesive backing is a snap to use for walls, shelves and nick-nacks. Can easily be repositioned to correct mistakes.

Con-Tact brand patterns and colors - retro adhesive backed plastic

ALSO SEE: Vintage beanbags & bean bag chairs: The retro ’70s casual seating fad

Vintage Contact paper crafts: Practical to whimsical.

There’s no limit to what you can do with Con-Tact Brand decorative coverings. Combine colors, combine patterns, combine woodgrains, and create hundreds of beautiful decorating ideas. The possibilities are endless. All the way from practical …to whimsical.

Vintage Con-Tact decorative coverings - Crafts

Vintage floral Contact wallpaper: The end of the white wall. 

And the beginning of the Polished Patents, the Flocks and the Burlaps.

Pick a wall. Then pick a fantastic new textured Contact brand self-adhesive or vinyl to cover it with. Want a wet look? You’ve got it, with one of our crazy Polished Patents. A wild look? Any one of the dozens of our Flocks will do.

Is fabric your thing? Then, how does Genuine Jute Burlap in brilliant decorator colors sound? They’re all self-adhesive, washable, and beautiful ways to end the white wall.

MORE: Check out 100 vintage 1970s supermarkets & retro grocery stores

Vintage 1970s Con-Tact vinyl wall decor

Take the easy way to Instant Decorating, with easy-on, carefree CON-TACT plastic!

Everyone can use this self-adhesive covering — it smooths right onto almost any surface.

Versatile, decorative CON-TACT plastic transforms old furniture, decorates everything from walls to window shades, and protects splash areas, because it’s waterproof and washable.

Lets you match up everything in your kitchen (counters, shelves, canisters) . . . or cover walls with woodgrain so realistic your friends will be amazed when they hear “It’s really CON-TACT!” Dozens of patterns and colors, at department, variety, hardware and paint stores, supermarkets.

Make over furniture with sticky plastic coverings - Retro home decor

ALSO SEE: Remember vintage gold-edged bedroom furniture sets from the 60s & 70s?

Retro Contact Paper from other decades!

1950s Sculpture Con-Tact plastic wall panels (1959)

Now, you can put up a 3-dimensional wall in just 29 minutes! Sculpture Con-Tact — new self-adhesive, washable, plastic wall panels

Company coming in 30 minutes? There’s time enough to give any room a brand new, natural, decorator look with Sculpture Con-Tact. These amazing dirt-proof, water-proof rigid self-adhesive plastic panels put decorating magic at your fingertips.

MORE: We are (surprisingly!) obsessed by the vintage wall paneling in these 58 mid-century rooms

See how quickly Sculpture Con-Tact covers your wall in 3-dimensional seamless beauty…  without nails, paste or tools. Sculpture Con-Tact may also be used as a decorative trim under windows, for room dividers and screens, hallways, home bars, headboards, doors, and indoor porches. A choice of 9 patterns is featured by any one of many authorized Sculpture Con-Tact dealers near your home.

Sculpture Contact paper plastic wall panels from the 50s (1959)

1960s Contact paper self-adhesive plastic wall tiles (1967)

1960s Contact paper self-adhesive plastic wall tiles (1967)

1980s Contact paper grid patterns (1984)

Old & worn/Reborn… with Con-Tact Brand decorative coverings

Vintage home decor and furniture renovations from the 70s

1990s country & floral Contact paper designs (1991)

Country and floral retro 90s Contact paper designs (1991)

90s retro contact paper Christmas patterns (1991)

90s retro contact paper Christmas patterns (1991)

NOW SEE THIS: Retro stick-on wallpaper: See some vintage Flair Squares from the ’70s & ’80s

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