Paper Bag Flooring Instructions





Introduction: Paper Bag Flooring Instructions

This is an amazing DIY project is sure to enhance the appearance of your home. It's a crazy cheap flooring project that only cost me $60 in materials to achieve a beautiful, durable floor. I laid it in my high traffic, 10x10 entrance and 12 (four foot wide) stairs! This flooring has been installed for 2.5 years now and is still beautiful and durable... despite my 4 children & their wet snowy boots, all kinds of friend traffic, and daily abuse.

Step 1: Clean and Prep

Clean & prep the floors. You can’t expect a nice finished product without prepping the area. It doesn’t take long… but DO IT.

•if you are planning to apply paper bag flooring over plywood, seal the cracks between the sheets of wood(see photo... seems are filled). If not, the seems WILL show through so fill the cracks. •we also applied paper bag flooring over hard vinyl tile with success. In this case scrub the floor with TSP to remove any dirt and grime that will hinder the paper from adhering. •vacuum thoroughly

Step 2: Method of Application

Decide on your method of application. Do you prefer a plank style, wood floor look? A tile look? A slate look…the sky is the limit… But for this instructable we'll just be looking at traditional slate style paper bag flooring(see photo). To see wood plank style paper bag flooring go to my website

Step 3: Tear the Paper

Tear the paper...Notice the randomly torn pieces of paper in the picture above ;they are less than 12" x 12". I was diligent not to have a bunch of straight pieces. The torn edge, all the way around blends better. I tore the paper in advance. Once torn, I bunched it all into a ball and flattened it out again. This gives the floor more texture as well as it helps the glue to soak into the paper and adhere better. NOTE: it is good to have some straight edges for against the wall.

Step 4: Lay the Floor

Now it's time to mix your Elmer's Glue All and water. 1 part glue/2 parts water. Stir. Submerge a few pieces of the paper in the glue mixture and squeeze the paper to get the most of the glue out...It will still be saturated. Lay it on the surface and smooth it with a brush and even run your gloved hand over it to make sure it's adhered to the floor. Lay the next piece, overlapping over the previous. See photo. Also, notice the variation in color... no need to panic... that's just the difference in drying. It completely evened out when dry!

See for the rest of the instructions, videos, supply lists and more!



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Hi there. I love the idea. What kind of glue other than Elmers glue will work? I am from South Africa and Elmers is not available around here. I am looking at doing it on a concrete floor. Thanks for sharing all your hard work and tips

It seems you have seams and seems mixed up. Seems to me that seams might show up between the sheets of plywood. ;-) Got it?

This looks great. I have a couple questions 1. How long does the polyurethane smell last? I am thinking about doing it in my kitchen where the tile is worn after 22 years. But. My fam tends to get nauseas from that smell.

2. Where do you get all the paper bags?

3. Would this be suitable for a kitchen floor?

This product is water based and I did not find it strong at all!

I bought a roll of the brown paper... I have a supply list on my website

I have even seen this applied to kitchen counters! I have it in my high traffic entrance and it is exposed to my family of six, Canadian winters and tons of friend traffic! It had been on my floor in this area for 2.5 years and it still looks fantastic!

thank you for your replies. I am definitely tempted to try this. Maybe I'll start with a small bathroom and move on from there

Water based polyurethane, at least Varathane brand (the one I use) does not have a strong smell, at all!

As JoelB32 mentioned(thank you), there is no need to try to round up paper bags... you can buy the paper in a roll.

As far as using this on a kitchen floor... I would, for sure. I have seen it applied in bathrooms too. We have it in our high traffic entrance where wet, snowy boots walk in on it.

Hope this helps! You can visit my paper bag flooring website. I have tons of info on the subject.

I can put in my $0.02 in on some of these.

1. I don't remember the smell lasting all that long, of course we were still in construction when we applied.

2. My wife bought rolls of brown paper ( She ripped sections off, wrinkled them up and applied them.

3. We didn't, but I don't see why not.

Great idea! I think this should work on walls as well. Maybe I'll do my den in comic strips. Hmmmmm?