DIY Paper Bag Flooring Guide – 4 Days Project

Paper bag or brown paper flooring is a huge hits in a DIY world. Since 2 of influential DIY-ers like Rachael of The Lovely Crafty Home and Ashley of Domestic Imperfection both share impressive success, people starts racing to do this guide.

The reason why this DIY guide belongs to one of the most wanted content is because it’s simplicity and it’s high success rate. Since the main material needed is a recycled paper bag, this is also a low cost solution to make over your old flooring instantly. This flooring feat lasts anywhere from a few to several years if proper application and maintenance are followed. Remember this instruction is highly recommended for plywood based floor. It doesn’t work well for concrete or vinyl floor. Here is the guide to achieve a durable and strong paper bag flooring.
You will need:

  • Brown craft paper (or this brown builder’s paper)
  • Elmer’s Glue – Gallon
  • Small bucket
  • Paint brush
  • Roller tray
  • Stain (optional, I used Minwax, Dark Walnut)
  • Floor Grade Polyurethane (I used this in semi-gloss)
  • Sponge pad on wood block mop head to apply poly
  • Lambskin stain pad refill (if you’re using stain- this fits on the same wood block as above)
  • Extension pole (universal screw in connection for the mop blocks or paint rollers)
  • 3″ chip brush (or, get a 6 pack)
  • Disposable Gloves
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1. Prepare the Floor

Removing furnitures / Image Source:

Remove your carpet and furnitures from the work area. A nice and clean work area leads to easier movement and increase workability. The term ‘clean’ means that you have to clear the subfloor until the smallest dust. Which means you need to vacuum your subfloor to let the adhesive stick perfectly to the floor.
Never think to do this DIY on a potentially wet floor such as bathroom. A good dry flooring area is the key to a long lasting brown paper flooring.

2. Prepare the Paper

Crumpled Brown Paper. Image source:

The goal is to make your floor looks like a shiny-elegant leather layer. In order to achieve that, you need to tear and crumple your paper bag around 15 – 20 cm diameter size. When it goes smaller than that, the look of elegance will be easily disappear.

3. Apply the Glue Mixture

glue mixture application. Image source:

Mix 3 parts of water into 1 part of white school glue evenly. Spread a thin layer of glue mixture to a small area of the floor, start small! dip the crumpled pieces of prepped paper into the glue mixture. Then squeeze it to get the excess out.

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4. Roll Out the Prepped Paper

flatten the paper. Image source:

After you dip the paper inside of glue mixture, then flatten it to the glued floor. Do a little overlap purposely to make a natural result. Use your paintbrush to smooth wrinkles. Repeat this process until the whole floor is covered in paper. Let the floor to dry overnight.

5. Adjusting To The Right Color

The stain used. Image source:

It is more recommended to use oil based stain rather than water based stain. Liquid Oil Based Wood Penetrating Stains are made from the highest-quality oils, resins and pigments to ensure your finishing project will be an easy and rewarding experience. Spread the stain evenly to the entire floor surface over the pieces of brown paper. Keep layering with the stain until you get the color you desired. Finally, let the stain dry completely for at least 48 hours.

6. Polyurethane Coating

The Final step! Seal with several coats of a water-based, floor-grade polyurethane. Pour the product into a paint tray and affix foam floor applicator pad (better for water-based finishes) to your extension pole. For a smoother look, sand out the surface of each layer you have pour.

Finished Natural without stain. Image source:
Finished with stain. Image ource:

Once the poly is fully cured, it is pretty resistant to scratches from normal traffic. It is similar to hardwoods in that way. We can’t guarantee it will last for 10 years, but we have heard that it can. It’s all in the application and general care of the floors. A regular vacuum and sweeping are enough to take care of this beautiful finished artwork.

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