Sometimes one of the toughest decorating challenges we have when we are on a budget is replacing old, worn, or ugly flooring. If you have linoleum flooring that has seen better days, or you just want more of a natural or luxurious look in your rooms, hold on to your hat! I am going to show you how to create a DIY leather or concrete look floor from ordinary paper bags from the grocery store! Any beginning crafter or decorator can do this. Cheap and easy! Now on to the DIY brown paper bag floor tutorial.
Brown Paper Bag Floor
Paper Bag Floor DIY Supplies:
- Paper bags or a roll of brown Kraft paper from the postal supply aisle (enough to cover your entire floor, with some overlapping)
- Gallon of water based polyurethane (I recommend Minwax Polycrylic, or Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane) Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart
- Old work clothes
- Strong Knees and Back!
Directions for a Paper Bag Floor
First off, put up the “Room Closed” sign! I did my kitchen in the evening so the last coat of sealer would have a chance to dry well before the kids and the dogs hit it in the morning. Even better if you can keep it closed off for 24 hours or more.
Now, clean the floor thoroughly…tsp is a great idea here, and can be found in the paint section. It is normally used on glossy paint surface, but will work well for these purposes. Rinse well. Let dry.
Tear your brown paper into irregular sections in a size that is easy to handle. It is important to tear, and not cut, as that will give the natural edge you need for the look. Only use the scissors to create a straight edge on some pieces to line up against cabinets, walls, or a change in flooring. Now crumple each torn piece tightly, then smooth out. This will give it texture.
Pour a small amount of polyurethane onto the floor where you will place your first piece, and smooth it out with a brush, although I preferred to use my hands. Lay the piece of paper down, add a little poly to the top of the paper, and smooth down. Kind of like decoupage! Now continue to lay down papers each one slightly overlapping the other. Smooth out bubbles as you go. Your hand is the best tool for this!
If you find bubbles forming underneath your paper bag floor, poke the bubble with a pin, add a little more poly, and smooth down. Keep smoothing, it will also flatten out after it dries and people have walked on it a bit.
Once you finish covering the whole floor with paper, let the poly dry. If you want a darker color, you can stain this with wood stain and a soft rag at this point. Recoat the poly once each hour until you have 4 to 6 coats of poly protecting your floor. This should be allowed to dry hard, at least overnight, longer if possible.
When you notice the floor getting dull, clean and add a maintenance coat of poly. Repairs are easily made with another torn piece of paper bag laid right over the existing treatment. Seal with poly.
Damp mop when necessary, and it should last you years! Definitely not your neighbors floor, and all for the price of some polyurethane and some hard work! Budget Decorator readers have also used this floor treatment successfully over ceramic tile and wood subflooring.
More Brown Paper Bag Floors!
‘Lil Red House’ did a paper bag flooring project in their bathroom. Full tutorial on their process.
‘Lil Blue Boo’ used their brown paper bag floor DIY to make their commercial space look awesome! Easy and cheap flooring idea for a space that gets a lot of foot traffic.
‘My Little Homestead’ made their paper bag floor out of colored paper for a super fun room! Video tutorial included!
‘Mom Depot’ made a paper floor that looks just like rich leather or stained concrete!