DIY Scrapbook Paper Stairs Makeover

3 Materials
12 Hours

Scrapbook paper can be used in so many ways, and this stairs makeover was a fun and inexpensive project.

This project has been in the thinking stage ever since I found a lot of scrapbook paper about a year ago at my local thrift store for 25 cents a sheet.

There were hundreds of them.

I took mostly blues, greens, pinks, and yellows.

The other thing needed for this project was white contact paper, which is the perfect base for the scrapbook paper.

And then it was onto getting this project done, one step at a time.

Here are my rather sad living room stairs before.

They were really in need of a happy and cheerful makeover, and that time has finally come.

The back of contact paper is marked with measurements, which made it pretty easy to cut the pieces I needed for my stair risers.

The contact paper is just the vehicle to hold my scrapbook paper design.

I couldn’t imagine sitting on my stairs for hours on end decoupaging pieces of scrapbook paper right onto the risers. Especially considering the design I was planning.

So this was the best way I could think of to give my stairs the makeover I wanted, and to make it as easy on me as possible.

After measuring the stair risers, I cut my pieces of contact paper to size and labelled the ones that were slightly different than the rest.

Our stairs are original to the house, built in 1890, and are a little wonky. The top three risers are a slightly different measurement but similar to each other, and the bottom riser is a measurement all unto itself.

So I had to figure out what pattern I would use to fit all the risers the best.

After a lot of measuring and figuring, I came up with a four inch template made from cardboard.

I used this template to cut out all the pieces of scrapbook paper in many different patterns.

The four inch square fits my stair risers perfectly when placed on the diagonal. And it also fits the length of my stair risers pretty well too.

Sometimes I cut out squares just as squares, like above.

And depending on the pattern of the scrapbook paper, I sometimes cut the squares out on the diagonal.

Until I had a whole bunch of squares in a variety of blues, greens, pinks, and yellows.

I wanted to have a lot of different patterns available to me so I had a lot of choices as I was creating the design for each stair riser.

I cut a bunch of squares into triangles, set up my desk, and then started decoupaging the scrapbook paper pieces onto the contact paper.

This part was so much fun because I was able to do it at my craft studio desk, rather than sitting on the stairs.

I think that would have pretty much been a nightmare.

This way I was able to play with the colors and patterns until I was happy with each piece.

The easiest way to do the decoupaging when you’re working with many small pieces is to use paper store flyers.

You just flip the page to a fresh one as you need to, and move on to a new flyer when all the pages are used up.

And here are all my scrapbook paper stair riser designs.

I did a dry fit for all the stair risers, and when I was happy with my choices, I numbered them with sticky notes. I did this so that I could see the stairs complete, to make sure that I still wanted the treads to be white.

Which I did.

So I gave the stair treads a fresh coat of white paint, but because I was covering up the risers I didn't have to paint them.

Before I go any further there's just a couple of things I want to mention.

1) While each design piece was drying they did curl at the edges, ends, and corners. Once each one was completely dry, I placed it under piles of books to flatten it out. And I just piled each one on as I went. That worked beautifully to flatten them all out, as you can see in the photo above.

2) For me, the contact paper was just a vehicle for the scrapbook paper because for whatever reason this contact paper wouldn't consistently stick to the stair risers by itself. I did a test before I even started this project. It could have been the paint on the stairs, or the cold temperatures, or maybe it was just cheap contact paper. It also could be the wonkiness of the stairs. Whatever the reason, it wouldn't stick completely. But the contact paper was nice and thin, so I decided that I would use it anyway by decoupaging it onto the risers.

I did a dry fit of each stair as I went.

As I mentioned earlier these stairs are old and a little wonky, and every piece needed a little trimming to match each riser.

So I trimmed a little here and a little there.

Then I removed the contact paper backing because it added thickness that I didn’t need or want.

And I applied the decoupage medium onto the back of the contact paper.

As well as on the stair riser.

And then I slid the design into place, smoothing with my fingers as needed. You could also use a brayer if necessary, but I didn’t feel the need to use one.

And here are my finished stairs after three top coats of decoupage medium.

I just love all the colors and patterns.

And here’s what I see when I walk out of my upstairs craft studio.

The new look of the stairs ties the downstairs and the upstairs together.

It’s super important to me that my home decor is fun, happy, and cheerful, and this stairs makeover does all of that for me.

So here’s that rather sad before again.

And the very happy and colorful after. It just makes me smile.

It really wasn't that difficult, but it did take some time... about twelve hours, which I spread out over four afternoons.

For me it was time very well spent.

Now, walking up the stairs is not just walking up the stairs. It feels like I’m walking up my own stairs art installation, and that makes me smile.

This is definitely a project that could be customized for any decor style or color scheme, depending on the colors and patterns used.

You can find more details and pics on my DIY Scrapbook Paper Stairs Makeover post on my blog here.

If you enjoyed this project you can find more projects from my living room makeover here.

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


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4 of 42 comments
  • Linda Abate
    Linda Abate
    on Feb 19, 2021

    All I can say is spectacular. This really adds so much life to your home. Just by looking at these stairs, I can only imagine how cheerful the rest of your home must be. A great job done and one to be soooooooooo proud of doing. I am sure you get plenty of wonderful compliments on your stair case. GORGEOUS.

  • Valerie Cairns
    Valerie Cairns
    on Feb 19, 2021

    Really loved the idea of this. I was planning on using wallpaper for my stair risers but this looks such fun

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