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Quick Table Makeover Project for Back to School

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck Brand Easy Liner. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every year I rearrange my homeschool room (just a spare bedroom), and people ask, “Did you totally redecorate!?” Fact: I hardly bought anything new this year (besides consumable supplies)! I simply purged, organized, and refreshed the space with a few quick fixes! One back-to-school redux was this quick table makeover project that’s making study time bright and cheery!

table against wall

I think you’ll be amazed at how dramatically this improves our homework table!

Quick table makeover project for back-to-school study spaces!

More of us have kids learning at home this year, whether full or part-time. So you’ve probably faced challenges with where to put all the kids for virtual classes or at-home learning. A dedicated workspace for each child, or for your group work has certain benefits and advantages:

  • Provides group or individual space to work
  • Encourages independence
  • Allows quiet area for concentrated work
  • Gives a sense of ownership (especially if you involve kids in the setup process)

While we do plenty of on-the-couch, on-the-floor, at-the-kitchen-counter, and in-our-backyard learning, I still like to have a “home base” work table.

Don’t overspend on a table makeover

Don’t break the bank setting up desk space for kids. Between pencils, pens, markers, glue, and scissors, kids can be rough on tabletops.

For this project, I wanted to refresh a secondhand kitchen table I’d gotten off Facebook Marketplace. It’s been a great table for our homeschool work.

However, after a year of use, the varnish was scored and peeling, and the top looked dingy. I cringed at the idea of a painting project though. And, I was reluctant to part with the natural wood look.

Adhesive Shelf Liner has Grown Up!

rolls of shelf liner

That’s where Duck® Brand EasyLiner® Removable Adhesive Shelf Liner saved me tons of time and effort. I created a look I could not have achieved with any amount of paint!

When you think about shelf liner, you may imagine the bottom of your spice drawers, right? But shelf liner has grown up from its humble beginnings into a versatile material choice for many projects. Think beyond the shelf! Use adhesive shelf liner for updating any number of objects or crafts.

EasyLiner® Adhesive Surfaces Shelf Liner replicates the look of natural materials for home decor. Like hardwood flooring, granite, glass tile, and even marble! You can go rustic or luxe with the choices.

For a fun “cafe style” look, I chose the Terrazzo design, which has a lovely chipped stone look. It reminds me of old-school Italian coffee shops. The background is white and bright, and the chipped stone design will hide a multitude of pencil and pen marks.

Since EasyLiner® wipes clean, I’m not worried about letting kids do crafts and chalk pastel art on top of it.

You know what’s really cool? This liner is removable! So if I want to change our back-to-school look next year, I totally can! Maybe marble!?

Quick Table Makeover Project Tutorial

Remember how I didn’t want the mess and hassle of paint? I’m happy to report I covered this table in less than an hour! It’s that easy. Here’s the materials and steps:


  • Desk or table to cover – measure dimensions so you know how much shelf liner you’ll need
  • Duck® Brand EasyLiner® Adhesive Surfaces Shelf Liner – in surface of your choice, enough to cover your project
  • Scissors
  • Hobby knife – for precision cutting
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler – a wide one is great for pressing to avoid bubbles
  • Cleaning materials – eraser sponge, fine grit sandpaper, paper towels, tack cloth


  1. Clean your item well. I used an eraser sponge and damp paper towels to really get old glue remnants and pencil stains off the table top.
  2. Sand any rough spots (if table is wooden) with fine grit sandpaper works. Smooth down ridges, bumps, etc. Clean with tack cloth to remove dust.
    Scissors cutting shelf liner
  3. Measure your table, then measure your shelf liner. Cut the liner a bit bigger than you’ll need. The grid printed on the back makes it easy to measure and cut your liner to the perfect size.
  4. The peel away packing is what makes this project such a breeze! Peeling off one corner of the shelf liner, begin to adhere to one end of your table. Don’t peel away too much at one time. Consider taping the other end down to avoid applying it crooked.
    Close up of contact paper applied to a wooden table
  5. Press the liner into place and peel away backing. Smooth the liner down slowly as you go. I used a wide ruler to press out small air bubbles that may form as you apply.
    hand with ruler pressing shelf liner
  6. After applying to the top, turn the edges down. Tuck the two far ends under and press well so it sticks. You will now have overhang forming a right angle on the side you have not tucked. On the angle bend, cut carefully straight in. Trim and fold the end sideways under the piece still overhanging from the wide end of the table. Now you can tuck the wide side down over and continue tucking along to the other end. Repeat. Don’t worry, the liner is very forgiving. If you cut too much off, just create a little “patch” and affix over this area.
  7. After tucking, use the hobby knife to slice off any liner that might still come down the side of the table and peel that away.
    quick table makeover project
  8. Most desks and tables require a second length to cover. Cut and apply the second section the same way. I recommend a small 1/8” overlap to avoid a “seam” of exposed wood (and dirt getting into that seam). It depends what Surface design you chose if this will look good or not.
  9. That’s it! Admire your work!

I left the table sides and the legs natural wood. I think it provides a nice contrast, and those areas were not as damaged as the tabletop.


A close up of a hard wood table


table with bookshelves in background

You can cover nearly anything!

Close up of a clipboard covered in contact paper craft idea

Oooh, I can’t resist – here’s another mini project I did, salvaging a chipped and dirty clipboard from being tossed! Doesn’t it look fab!? I pretty much followed the same steps as above!

Duck® Brand Clear Laminate is another crafting material perfect for back-to-school projects. I’m using some to create wipeable human bodies for our human anatomy lessons! And to add labels to my bookshelves!

Create your own table makeover!

A young student sitting at a table looking at something So, grab a table from your basement, tag sale, friend’s discard, and give it a quick tabletop makeover like this to create a cheerful (or chic!) learning spot for your kids! You may even have a childhood desk sitting in storage (or at your parent’s house!?) that you could use as a study spot!

I’m curious which Surface design you would pick for a quick table makeover project? And what would you love to cover with this amazing material to give your back-to-school study area a fresh look!?

Enter the Duck® Brand Sticks with Education Social Contest!

Duck® Brand is sponsoring a cool contest rewarding people for sharing how they used Duck® Brand products for educational projects

You could win:

  • One (1) Grand Prize Winner: a year’s worth of school supplies valued at $2,000
    • Includes mix of Duck® Brand products & other key supplies + gift card
  • Two (2) Runners Up: school supplies valued at $500 each
    • Includes mix of Duck® Brand products & other key supplies + gift card

They are judging on:

  • Originality / Creativity – 20%
  • Workmanship – 20%
  • Quality Content – 20%
  • Use of Color/Design – 20%
  • Use of Duck® Brand Products – 20%

Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Post a photo or video on Instagram showing how you use Duck® Brand products in your classroom to organize, decorate, teach, & more.
  2. Explain your projects and use these tags/hashtags: #DuckBrandSticksWithEducation #contest @theduckbrand
  3. Enter between 8/5-9/30. Judging takes place 10/1-10/9. Winner announced 10/16.

I hope you have fun with back-to-school decor and projects! Let me know what you create!