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Paper Bag Floor

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Those of you that are looking for an affordable, attractive, totally doable flooring solution have come to the right place! Create this floor out of brown paper. Most of you are probably wondering what the heck paper on a floor looks like and we don’t blame you, it’s kind of a weird idea.

For a wood floor you will need
  • A roll of brown paper.
  • A gallon of Elmers glue.
  • Oil based stain (used one quart for a 10 X 12 room).
  • Water based floor polyurethane.
  • Something to apply the stain and polyurethane.

Rip out all the trim  and then replace it when the floor is complete, that would be much easier than trying to work around it.
Next start ripping the paper. What you want to do is rip the paper  into natural looking pieces, like stones. Ours were about 12 inches or so in diameter.  Don’t cut them, just rip, they don’t have to be perfect or even close.
After you rip a piece, ball it up and wrinkle the crud out of it,  then flatten it out and move onto the next piece. You want to wrinkle them so that when you add stain the wrinkles will show through and give it that awesome textured “old leather” look, like this.

Mix your glue. For a wood floor a 3 to 1 water and glue ratio is the one you want. Don’t mix all your glue at once, gluing the paper to the floor will take longer than you think and you don’t want it to dry out.

The easiest way to apply that paper is like so:  Take your piece of paper and hold it over the bowl. Use your hands to scoop up some glue and spread it evenly over both sides. Then lay your paper down on the floor and smooth flat, working from the inside out to remove any bubbles. Keep in mind that the paper will shrink as it dries, so give each piece a decent amount of overlap.

You could leave your floor this “natural” color if you want and skip the whole staining process, but the stain looks great and really gives it depth and character. Plus staining is the quickest part of this whole process (if you do it correctly). We applied the stain with a “mop”. It worked great and went on really quickly

Make sure and “feather” the stain so that you don’t end up with any lines, it will dry just like you put it on. Also be aware that you will get a little bleed under the edges of the paper, like this.

After we had finished staining we let it sit for two days before we added the first coat of poly, and even then it was slightly tacky. We added the polyurethane the same way we added the stain, but we were extra careful to make it a thin coat. When it was dried it looked like this. About 50% of it had dried white.

To fix it we stained over the poly. It worked, and you couldn’t see where it used to be white and where it didn’t. So we “mopped” stain over the whole floor again and let it dry for 4 days this time. Even after 4 days it was still tacky and we couldn’t step on it to re-poly. So this time we worked backwards…We started at the doorway and added a thin layer with a small foam brush (by hand), let it dry, and then stepped on that to do the next section.

After that we added about ten more layers of poly with the mop. This didn’t take as long as you would think. It only needed to dry about an hour between coats and took about 20-30 minutes each coat. As an added bonus, the water based poly has almost no smell at all, so you’re not going to need to air out your house or feel lightheaded while doing this. Now, you should let the final coat cure for about a week before you put anything on it.

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