DIY Paper Bag Flooring

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paper bag flooring

So excited to feature the Domestic Imperfection blog today and their paper bag flooring project! They have done an excellent job laying out the steps and providing a really great tutorial for you guys who may want to attempt this one. I also found a good youtube video you can see here. Now, this is not actually made from paper bags but that is the look you are going for. It’s actually made from a giant roll of craft paper that you can find at the home improvement stores in the painting section.

Here’s the link to the tutorial… DomesticImperfection – Paper Bag Floors Tutorial

Most people probably haven’t thought of putting paper on a floor before, but paper bag flooring can actually be a very inexpensive way to cover a floor. The finish is also very beautiful and unique, read this guide on paper bag flooring so you too can get the look at home.

You will Need:

– One Gallon of Elmers Glue
– Stain – oil based
– Floor Polyurethane – water based
– Deck Pads for applying stain and polyurethane
– One roll of brown paper (or other paper)
– concrete
– Sander

Step 1 – Empty the Room

The first thing that you need to do is clear the room. Rip up the carpets and remove all of the trim around the outside of the room. You will find it easier to lay the floor without the trim in place.

Step 2 – Patching Holes

For the paper flooring to look great, the floor must be even and level. If there are any holes in the concrete left from tacks, then these should be filled with either filler, or concrete. Next, sand the floor to make sure it is smooth.

If you are planning on papering over floor that has not been sealed, then you will need to seal it using floor paint, or polyurethane.

Step 3 – Ripping Paper

The next step is to start ripping the roll of paper up. Do this randomly as it adds to the beauty of the floor. If you have kids then they will love helping with this stage. Rip disks which are around 12 inches wide, but they don’t have to be particularly accurate, and don’t use scissors. Ripping makes the floor look great.

Roll each of the disks of paper up and screw them into a ball. Then flatten them out. This creates a lovely textured finish to the floor.

Step 4 – Mixing Glue

Then you need to mix the glue. Mix a part water to 1 part elmers glue. Make sure you mix small batches of glue at a time, instead of mixing it all together. It will take a long time to glue the paper to the floor, and you don’t want the glue drying too soon.

Step 5 – Gluing

Once the glue is mixed it’s time to apply the paper. Spread glue on both sides of the paper. Then put the paper down onto the floor and flatten it out with your hands. Try to remove all the bubbles using your fingers. Then repeat this overlapping the pieces of paper as they will shrink slightly when they dry.

Step 6 – Staining

If you want to leave the floor this natural color, then you can skip this entire step. Staining adds an extra dimension to the flooring. The stain can be applied easily with a mop and really doesn’t take long. Then it can be left to dry.

Step 7 – Sealing

Then all that’s left to do is wait for the floor to dry for a few days, and then seal it using water based polyurethane. Try to make the coats as thin as possible. You will need to repeat this for around 10 coats, waiting around an hour between each coat. When you have applied the last coat, wait a few days before putting any furniture onto the floor.


  1. Hi I was just wondering if anyone had tried this with a coloured paper ? obviously I wouldn’t use a stain and use a clear version. my daughter would like me to try red and I was hoping there might be someone out there with photos or advise on using other colours. thank you

  2. I watched a contractor do this to a wall, turned out great… I don’t know why you couldn’t use any type of a red bag instead of the brown paper bag they use in this picture…Hope this helps

  3. I don’t see why you couldn’t. I work at home depot and we sell a roll of rednpaper (just like craft paper) i believe it’s called red rosin paper…..

  4. Hey Girl, all I have to say is this is freaking awesome! I can see doing this in the near future. Like Tamsin, I would also like to know if you can do this with colored paper? Great job!

  5. This is just amazing! I want to try this in the kitchen whenever I buy my own house. And thank you Tamsin for the idea of using different colors with a clear stain/polyurethane(?). Awesome, awesome, super awesome!

  6. Hi im just wondering how durable this flooring will b because my girlfriend is very interested but i wanna nake sure its durable before attempting this thanks

  7. My girlfriend did two bedrooms and her hallway. Turned out amazing. Her floor looks like leather. She also has two dogs with nails on it all day not one scratch. She said the moat expensive part was the polyurathane

  8. I think this is so cool. I’m a big scrapbooker and if I ever get a houseof my own I’m so going to try this with scrapbooking paper on a wall…

  9. I used to “leatherize” bottles with this process. I also stained the paper with shoe polish to darken it. Don’t know why you couldn’t use any stain to darken. I wouldn’t think there would be a conflict with the polyurethane varnish. Really like it on the floors.

  10. Back in the mid 1970 My friend did this to her steps to the upstairs. It was a big hit with her kids. She varnished over it.

  11. I did a paper-bag floor in a bedroom and it turned out AMAZING! It was definitely a trial and error event for me and I learned a lot. I blogged about it so others can learn from my mistakes. :)

    I’m going to do an old coffee table next before I tackle the much bigger space in my basement.

    Good luck to everyone that tries this. It’s a wonderful inexpensive flooring solution (especially for low traffic areas.)


  12. I used your tutorial this weekend to do my dining room floor this weekend. It turned out absolutely amazing! It looks amazing in my 100 yr old house!

  13. I have done this to an accent wall behind our TV and did not stain or poly it to give it a lighter look. I absolutely love the it! I plan to do this on a bathroom floor over the next summer!

  14. This is really great. To the people who were asking about color, maybe you could use paper bags and then over top of the bags put colored tissue paper. The coloring in tissue paper tends to bleed with glue but I think it would have a really neat end result, even better with using more than one color. Tissue paper is easy enough to acquire at the dollar store. You could also just use an RIT dye on the paper bags, it might be more subtle but it would be similar to using a stain. Just food for thought.

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