Paper Bag Floor

When we bought our home, there were way more home improvement projects than we had money in the budget for. So, we lived with things until, little by little we could fix them. I hated our dining room. Gross carpet. Searching the internet one day I came across a post about paper bag floors. Thinking it couldn't be any worse than what we had, we went for it. It turned out amazing. Over 2 years later it still looks great.
The finished product. Rich and beautiful.
Looking at the photo, you would never know it was just paper, glue and stain. It has a rich leather look and is super durable.
Paper, glue and a coat of poly.
We used two rolls of plain brown wrapping paper, and elmer's glue. Our biggest expense was the poly since we wanted to make sure that it stayed durable.
Torn wads of paper soaked in glue/water mix.
After prepping our floor, we tore brown paper into chunks, wadded it up to break the paper fibers and the soaked it in our glue mixture. A little messy, but so worth it in the end.
Smoothing on the wet paper.
Then came the creative part. We squeezed out the excess glue and smoothed the paper onto the prepared floor like a big patchwork quilt. The wrinkles in the paper and the slight finish difference between the sides of paper added to the interest.
Applying a rich stain.
We let the floor dry for a few days and then used old rags to add a rich stain and bring out more of the detail. Several coats of poly to seal it and we have an inexpensive floor solution that looks like a million bucks and holds up to our family!

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

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  11 questions
  • Kate Kate on Jul 13, 2016
    How do you clean this type of floor? (Beyond sweeping) Can you mop it?
    • Wren Smart Wren Smart on Jul 15, 2016
      Hi Kate! Since we put so many coats of poly on it, it's sealed very well. I just sweep and damp mop it. To keep it polished I use mop and glow now and then. Very sturdy floor!
  • Lynn Starnes Bishop Lynn Starnes Bishop on Aug 12, 2016
    Do you think this could be done for counter tops as well?
    • Marie Marie on Dec 01, 2016
      It can be done for counter tops as well, however I wouldn't put hot pot's or pan's on the counter without using a hot plate.
  • Kate Kate on Aug 20, 2016
    What preparation was required before laying this type of flooring? I.e. underlay etc.
    • Marie Marie on Dec 01, 2016
      When we did ours we sanded the plywood floor, swept vacuumed and then damp mopped. Whatever is under the paper is going to show through after the seal.
  • Laura Cheadle Laura Cheadle on Dec 01, 2016
    would this work on a cement floor?
  • Mjo22351803 Mjo22351803 on Jul 11, 2017
    Love your floors! What ratio glue to water did you use?
    • Diane Diane on Aug 05, 2017
      I found another demonstration that used a 1 to 1 ratio of glue and water. They mixed together two cups of each.
  • Jpa31620597 Jpa31620597 on Nov 05, 2017
    how do u prepare the floor?
  • Sha32435792 Sha32435792 on Jan 26, 2018
    what do you need to do to prep the floor ? I removed the carpet from my floor , and found sheets of ply wood , and alot of stains , we bought the house as is , I really think the paper floor would look nice.
    • Wren Smart Wren Smart on Jan 26, 2018
      We just gave it a good scrub and made sure that the surface was smooth. Super easy and it's worn well over the years.

  • Sandy Sandy on Jun 24, 2018

    Such an Amazing floor ! Great Job 🙂 I have a large roll of Meat Wrapping paper from a Butcher because it is shiny or waxy on one side would I still be able to use it for a similar idea ? Also would I need to put the shiny or dull side up ? Thank you in advance for your Inspiration and Guidance 🙂

    • Wren Smart Wren Smart on Jun 24, 2018

      Hi Sandy! I don't think that will work. Thanks paper needs to soak up the glue mixture and I think the wax surface wouldn't allow that.

    • Sandy Sandy on Jun 24, 2018

      Thank you very much for your reply You are right I never thought about that . Makes perfect sense . Have a nice day 🙂

  • Jean brooks Jean brooks on Aug 20, 2018
    can you use gift wrapping paper instead of brown paper
  • Carlene Williams Johnson Carlene Williams Johnson on Feb 24, 2019

    Could this be done on walls?

  • Marsha Marsha on Feb 19, 2020

    What was used for padding or prepping underneath the paper?


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