Paper bag countertop

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I am going to cover a plywood substrate (that will be a bar top) with paper bags.

should I use actual paper bags or Kraft paper?

would prefer to hear from people you have actually done something similar.


thanks in advance.


  9 answers
  • Em Em on Apr 06, 2021

    Biggest difference is the thickness. Kraft paper is much thinner than bags. Hope you seal it well. It will be pretty.

    • John Biermacher John Biermacher on Apr 06, 2021

      Thank you for other advice.

      i have I had really good luck using many coats of satin (pil based) polyurethane on numerous table tops and no complaints from clients.

      this will be an actual bar top so drink exposure mostly, no heat peri se.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Apr 06, 2021

    Hi John, you will get more transparency in the bags because of how much thinner they are so you will have to do more layers but that would provide more depth to the look of your counter. The key would be what you use to seal it to make sure its durable enough. I know many of those floors just use a poly or even mod podge but with a countertop I would really encourage you to consider epoxy.

    • John Biermacher John Biermacher on Apr 06, 2021

      Thank you. Probably will go with a heavier Kraft paper, based on your opinion.

      please see my reply to Em. I have used floor varnishes but have stayed away from epoxies because they are just too plastic looking

  • You could use either but be sure you seal it up very very well with several coats of a food safe sealer.

    • John Biermacher John Biermacher on Apr 06, 2021

      Thank you. I consider oil based poly food safe as long as it is interior. Some of the exterior products have mildewcides,

      hope all isi well.

  • John your idea to use an oil based polyurethane makes more common sense because of all the liquids at a “bar”! Cheryl giving you Bob Villa’s site for the paper bag flooring is the “old method” which is the one I was “familiar” with - I use to watch his show when ever possible, along with This Old House guys! In an interior design magazine I remember seeing & reading about a leather skin covered big city loft floor covering! I remember thinking that would be very expensive! I believe the idea of using the paper bags versus the Kraft paper is to give your project more of a loose leather hides effect, than using the full sheets of brown paper! When you use the brown paper bags it looks much better when you tear it apart to get your “skins” effect and it should be with the heavy duty bags that have a thickness and more cottony feel the cheap, thin, “shiny” slick brown paper bags that just can duplicate the torn leather edges for a more “authentic” appearance! Think of it as a big “decoupage” project! ( If you’ve ever heard or had a lady friend that has done the arts & crafts stuff) As with any large project such as your bar top or a loft floor! You should start small & do an old table top to master your technique! I believe if you do your coats of poly after each separate application of your thick, torn paper bag you will achieve a thick edge over lap if your leather pelts! You will get the hang of it! ( it’s like training your eyes to “see” leather when it is brown paper you are starting with! ( If your desired end look is one huge roll of leather skin & you can locate through Kraft or other manufacture the thick heavy duty, then that would be great! Just going over the edges can be a pain”

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Apr 07, 2021

    Hello. I hear some links I could be helpful. Hope this helps


    https://www.hometalk.com/search/posts?filter=Paper%20bag%20counter



    https://www.hometalk.com/diy/kitchen-dining/countertops/paper-bag-counter-tops-38787251

  • John Biermacher John Biermacher on May 17, 2021

    I am in the middle of the bar top. A little trouble, so will be redoing a section. Will post the final project.