Available in both clear and more festive variants, contact paper has as wide a variety of potential uses as it does color and pattern options. The unifying characteristic of all contact paper is that is has adhesive on one side. With this in mind, you can employ several alternatives in the event that you can't find or don't want to use actual contact paper.
One common use of contact paper is as a quick means for laminating--you can place a piece of paper between two sheets of clear contact paper to laminate it. If you have access to a laminating machine at school or work, however, then this is unnecessary. In fact, a laminating machine will likely produce better results--it automatically squeezes out obnoxious air bubbles you would have to do yourself using contact paper.
Contact paper also comes in handy if you want to decorate the insides of a closet or cabinet space. One potential limitation of contact paper in this respect, however, is that while it does come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, it's usually not possible to match it exactly to your existing wallpaper. The solution? Use an x-acto knife to cut wallpaper in the shapes and sizes you need to outfit the insides of your cabinets, and then wet the wallpaper so that it sticks inside with its own paste.
Other Craft Materials
In addition to practical applications, contact paper can also prove useful in craft situations. One of its qualities that is not always welcome, however, is its transparency. Using other craft supplies in its place--such as foil or construction paper--with a simply adhesive such as a glue stick, hot glue gun or rubber cement instead of contact paper's inherent sticky backing, can allow you to make fun, decorative crafts that appear sturdier as a result of their opacity relative to contact paper.
Robert Schrader is a writer, photographer, world traveler and creator of the award-winning blog Leave Your Daily Hell. When he's not out globetrotting, you can find him in beautiful Austin, TX, where he lives with his partner.