Ashley @ Domestic Imperfection
Ashley @ Domestic Imperfection
  • Hometalker
  • San Antonio, TX

Paper Bag Floors

If you are in need of new flooring but don't have much money to spend (or even if you do) then this fits the bill! I created this floor out of brown paper, Elmers glue, stain and polyurethane. It was easy to do (albeit time consuming) and is very durable. This room is 10 X 12 and cost about $80, but future rooms will cost about $30 since I have plenty of leftover supplies. Click through to read the tutorial:
A close up of the finished floor, it almost looks like old leather.
A close up of the finished floor, it almost looks like old leather.
I did the whole 10 X 12 room for about $80, but any future room will cost about $30. That's cheap flooring!
I did the whole 10 X 12 room for about $80, but any future room will cost about $30. That's cheap flooring!
Gluing the paper down using a 50% Elmers glue %50 water mixture. This part took forever.
Gluing the paper down using a 50% Elmers glue %50 water mixture. This part took forever.
Here is the paper going on, this is about 10 hours in (spread over multiple days).
Here is the paper going on, this is about 10 hours in (spread over multiple days).
Mopping on the stain.
Mopping on the stain.
After 12 coats of poly! I know people say this all the time, but it honestly look much better in real life. It just looks shiny in the pictures.
After 12 coats of poly! I know people say this all the time, but it honestly look much better in real life. It just looks shiny in the pictures.
Ashley @ Domestic Imperfection

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

38 questions
  • Jeffrey Chernach
    on Dec 1, 2015

    will this work on concrete floors that do not get wet?

  • Jeffrey Chernach
    on Dec 2, 2015

    will this work on concrete floors that do not get damp or wet?

  • Cma3216573
    on Dec 6, 2015

    Would the same technique work using used newspapers? ...And on concrete floors?!? If so, I'm all over it!!!

    • Gloria Gatch
      on Oct 1, 2016

      I don'tknow about newspapers but I have seen it done on TV with paper grocery bags. Hope that helps.

  • Wild Rose
    on Dec 19, 2015


  • Kate
    on Jan 1, 2016

    can this work on a cement patio floor?

  • Kimberly
    on Jan 18, 2016


    • Bill Earle
      on Feb 14, 2016

      You could probably fill the lines with a thin-set grout or caulk but then you'd have to figure out what adhesive to use. White glue wont stick to porcelain.

  • Lorr
    on Jan 19, 2016

    can this be done over top linoleum kitchen floor? or would I need a different kind of glue?

    • Bill Earle
      on Feb 14, 2016

      You'd need a glue that would adhere to the plastic and the paper. Water based would be best (easier clean-up, less fumes) but you'll probably have to experiment.

  • Lud4169804
    on Jan 24, 2016

    Чем производится затирка?

  • Mol4202567
    on Feb 4, 2016

    would like to know how you clean the looks fantastic by the way

  • Angie
    on Feb 13, 2016

    We r doing this now. As we apply it and roll over it it remains nice and smooth/flat but as it sits there it is wrinkling/bubbling up. Please help me i am freaking out.

    • Bill Earle
      on Feb 14, 2016

      Try experimenting with different amounts of water.

    • Patti Britt
      on Feb 15, 2016

      Rather than pull up what you have done...take a pin and poke a hole in the bubbled area. Release the air and add more glue. You may want to run over the newly glued area with a rolling pin. Don't have a rolling pin....use a wine bottle to ensure there are no bubbles.

  • Angie
    on Feb 19, 2016

    I have spots that kind of like do almost bleed through type thing. We have patched over and others have come up in differnt spots as we apply our coats of poly. I put killz primer on the sub floor and let it completely dry before we even started. Any ideas?

    • Sheryll S
      on Mar 12, 2016

      Wow, Kiltz did not stop the bleed through. Did you use the Original, it is oil based and never failed me.

  • Lockep88
    on Feb 21, 2016

    This floor looks amazing! I truly looks like worn leather.,what room did you do this in? I can also visualize it in my husbands home office on one of his walls! I saw a wall in Robb& Stycky that was created by a designer. I worked so hard to find her to see how she made a wall look like it was made of leather. She wasn't willing to share. Hers was a deep red and if I remember correctly even had some brass brads ... Just a few and I couldn't get over how amazing her showcased room turned out! Now I know a little about how she may have done hers. Though still don't know what material she used... Hers was more refined as your is more rustic... I love it!!! How do you think it would look on an office wall? My husband is more the rustic leather type than the refined . What room? And how do you clean it? Kudos for an amazing job and for recycling brown paper bags... Go green!!! ~patricia

  • Monica
    on Apr 11, 2016

    Can this be done on top of concrete? Xo

  • Vicki Saunier
    on Apr 13, 2016

    Could I do this in Old Formica countertops?

    • Mary Sica
      on May 28, 2016

      You can do this to any surface that you can add bonding primer to and then go through the steps of adding the Elmers glue and paper bags. Let the bonding primer cure for 48 hours and then get to it! Make sure you seal it with poly or varathane; several coats! You will be without a kitchen for a while. If you can set up a makeshift counter elsewhere while you wait for the poly to cure.

  • Amy Chase
    on Apr 15, 2016

    I have two boys and four dogs we live on a farm, will this hold up to that kind of traffic? I have hardwood now and the dirt the kids and dogs have on their feet act like mini sanders! I have to refinish the floors yearly to keep them looking good.

    • Kathie Elia
      on Apr 16, 2016

      @Amy Chase I papered my kitchen floors almost 3 years ago and used only 4 coats of poly on it. I have 3 dogs and it is holding up well no scratches etc.

  • Lucille Berry
    on May 29, 2016

    can you dye paper for a counter top like orange and can you do cabinet what kind of paper brown wrapping do you have a book on this or videos I love this item but I'm in my senior year

    • Annie Doherty
      on Jun 6, 2016

      I have never done this on a floor before but why not try it, it's very similar to decoupage and i've tried this method of lots of furniture, picture frames etc and provided you apply lots of coats of varnish why not? I really admire the insight and patience this poster has.

    • Kathryn Kuhn
      on Jul 21, 2016

      I was wondering how the countertop project went. Wondering if you went through with it and died the paper bag or colored the paper bag and did a countertop with it

  • Anna Ibarra
    on May 31, 2016

    Can you do this on any floor surface, concrete, etc?

    • Jart37
      on Jul 30, 2016

      Yes on concrete. Do mark the side of paper you will use the paper will stretch and it seems to make a difference in how much and direction from side to side.

    • Anne
      on Aug 7, 2016

      Do you mean the paper is different from front to back and you want it to all be same-side-up? And in the same direction? The pic looks like it's all haphazard. No?

  • Sue
    on Jun 28, 2016

    how smooth is it

  • Belinda
    on Aug 16, 2016

    Can you apply this over tile? Also, do you overlap the paper?

    • Yvette Spicer
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I'm not sure of application over tile, but, yes you do overlap the edges of the paper bags. This is paper mache at it's finest ...

    • Sue
      on Sep 2, 2016

      is that a sponge mop how many bag layers

  • Bonnie482
    on Sep 3, 2016

    My laminate flooring has not held up. The edges are curling. Do you have any additional ideas for camoflaging this floor. Bedroom approx 12 X 18. Do you have any ideas that I could do in stages?

  • Msb11607774
    on Sep 12, 2016

    How durable is this process? How hard is it to keep it clean and shiny day in heavy traffic areas? Is it safe for pets and their accidents?

    • Kathie Elia
      on Sep 30, 2016

      See my answer to the question above. Even though I had the problem I'd do it again just with more poly layers. I use mop n glow or similar product or just plain water. Even though there are chemicals in the poly I don't believe they are harmful to my 3 dogs and 1 cat.

  • She12408000
    on Sep 28, 2016

    Such a great project! Can I put this over linoleum? Also, I want to use it in a kitchen...will it take the wear and can it be walked on if it's dry and I'm not finished with the project?

    • Kathie Elia
      on Sep 30, 2016

      Yes you can put it over linoleum. I did this I've did this over my linoleum kitchen floor about 3 years ago. I only put three coats of poly on it but should have put more on as Lisa had done. It had held up well with 3 dogs and a cat. But when my grandson left an ice cube overnight on the floor, it melted through all the layers. I don't think that would have happened with 12 layers of poly. Wet spills won't hurt the floor if wiped up.😀

  • Our9407973
    on Oct 16, 2016

    Would wall paper paste work as well as elders glue? Did you delete glue and if so what ratio? Thanks and a beautiful job. Paper sack walls (minus poly) look great too.

  • Paula Engel Nielsen
    on Oct 16, 2016

    I did this on my bathroom walls and love it. Do you think painting it would work

  • Elizabeth Staeheli
    on Oct 23, 2016

    I'm moving into a mobile home that has carpet in the bathroom (!). I'm thinking I can do this to the floor instead of buying something. What kind of a floor base can you use it on, and does it ruin the floor so that you could never put down tile or linoleum afterwards?

    • Julie
      on Oct 25, 2016

      I don't think so. I painted the floor and then glued down the paper bags on a dry floor, then after that dried put poly on top. None of those products would impede a tile or linoleum over it.

  • Aps8428212
    on Nov 9, 2016

    Where can I buy a cushioned bench with a shoe tray in the bottom?

  • Ter21689325
    on Mar 11, 2017

    Is there something to use in place of polyurethane? The fumes make me sick and I have cats that I can't contain to keep off the polyurethane. But I really need a new kitchen floor and would love to this! Thanks.

  • Colette Thomas
    on Aug 26, 2017

    Can you make the pieces large and crump,e them to glue down?
  • Tammy Pence
    on Nov 24, 2017

    What if your flooring is linoleum on concrete? Tear it all up or go over
  • Sandra Collins
    on Jan 4, 2018

    What kind of paper bags
    • Lisa Timms
      on Jan 11, 2018

      Where did you get the paper bags? Also, the area I want to do is upstairs and of course it has wood under the carpet. Will the out come be the same as if it was concrete?

  • DiH.
    on Jan 27, 2018

    I want to do this in my husbands shed. Where did you find all the paper bags?
  • Bet15361673
    on Feb 9, 2018

    Will this work on linoleum floors?
  • Becky Stokes
    on Feb 27, 2018

    I'm going to try this soon. Do you still like your paper bag floor?

  • Kim Brady
    on Apr 18, 2018

    Can you do this over linoleum?

    • Brenda
      on Nov 1, 2018

      please someone let me know....i have an old acryllic poured floor in my kitchen that i have hate now for 35 years

  • Jake's Mom!
    on May 31, 2018

    I made some cork coasters, decided to try the paper bag use, mostly to see the degree of difficulty! They came out beautifully. Would wetting the paper before gluing it down help or hinder? I love the look of the floor!! Thanks!!

  • Debra
    on Jun 4, 2018

    Can the paper flooring be done on cement. Thank you

  • Sandy McMahan
    on Jan 16, 2019

    Can I do this on top of linoleum?

  • Shona
    on Feb 28, 2019

    Can I put this on cement

Join the conversation

2 of 897 comments
  • Michelle Evans Rodgers
    on Jun 16, 2018

    I tried this in my kitchen.... broke single mom I bought a singlewide for cash and have been slowly remodeling it. Anyway... floor was so slick because of all the poly coats I decided it was not for me... was absolutely beautiful. Looked just like sandstone!!

  • 34124293
    on Sep 30, 2018

    Did this on walls once at an old residence. Didn't need but 2-3 coats of poly. Held up very well and was even washable. One note though - be absolutely sure that you get any air bubbles out when laying down your brown bag bits and make sure every tiny bit of the paper has the white glue/water mix on it. I used a large plastic spatula followed by a wood roller while it was still wet. Once this finish goes on - it's not coming off so be sure it's something you want. I've also done this on small wood box projects where I wanted a weathered leather look. Super easy to do on such small projects.

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