Brown Paper Packages…

********If you are new to my paper floors, please read this first**********

tied up with string…

Brown craft paper is quickly climbing up the ladder as one of my favorite things- and you know how I love my drop cloth. But I just can’t believe the versatility of this also-banned-to-the-painting-aisle material. Seriously, is there a club for people like me?

It all started with my desire to get rid of the carpet in our house. The main floor has hardwood, but the whole upstairs plus the staircase is all carpet. If it was nice carpet, maybe I wouldn’t be complaining. But it’s fairly cheap and having 4 animals has certainly taken its toll. I started seeing more and more staircase makeovers in blog land where dingy carpet was ripped up to reveal lovely hardwood treads just waiting for some TLC. No such luck here, as a quick peek under our carpet revealed mdf. UGH. It would be impossible to remove the carpet upstairs without addressing the stairs, so I was losing hope.

Ridding the house of carpet was becoming more and more of a pipe dream until I picked up an issue of Cottages and Bungalows and saw this:

Image courtesy of An Oregon Cottage

Jami from An Oregon Cottage had been featured in the magazine for her unique floor treatment using brown craft paper. I was immediately intrigued and began doing more research. The more I thought about it, the more I was in love with this alternative look-the paper can even be stained for a custom finish! I saw many examples of people using this technique on their floors, but I couldn’t find a single picture of a staircase with brown paper treads. I wanted to give the look a test drive, so I decided to give our (previously painted) basement stairs a makeover. They were looking pretty bad anyway- and I’d get to see the finished product before I well all Jack The Ripper upstairs.


It’s pretty bad, I know. It’s like a cranberry dungeon/laundry chute-not very inviting, especially with the crazy eyed cat hanging out at the bottom. I painted the stairs when we first moved, and they’re definitely showing wear. Plus, I had a little…uhm…accident (Blackberry + paint = Sticky phone that doesn’t work) with some white paint which dripped all the way up the stairs. I have no excuse for the cranberry walls except that I thought it’d be a good idea to use leftover paint we had from the front door. Let’s just chalk it up to a bad pre-home-design-blog-obsession days, mmm k?

I think it’s safe to say that it couldn’t really get any worse.

I started by painting the risers white, then gathered my supplies for the paper bagging:

  • Roll of brown paper (near the painters drop cloth)
  • Gallon Elmer’s glue (bought at AC Moore with a 40% off coupon and barely made a dent in it)
  • Gallon Water Based Floor Grade Polyurethane (about $40)
  • Paintbrush
  • A few cheapo sponge brushes for the poly

Begin by tearing pieces of brown paper. Rip the straight edges off the roll and tear them into random pieces (I used about 4-6″ pieces for stairs…for a floor you’ll probably wan’t 8-10″ pieces). Tear the middle portion of the roll into similar pieces. I used two grocery bags to keep my pieces separates, crumpling each piece into a ball before it went in.

Mix up a bowl of glue using a 3:1 ratio (3C water to 1C glue). Working on the perimeter first (straight edges), drop the paper balls into the glue and squeeze them gently like a sponge.

Keep dipping and squeezing until the paper is saturated, then flatten it out and squeegee it with your hands. Brush your surface with the glue mixture in the area you’re working in. Lay your pieces down as if you were decoupaging, overlapping in areas. Be sure to smooth out wrinkles (although some will crop up during the drying process, they will likely disappear later) and air bubbles.

I did every other stair so we could still use them. Once everything is done, allow 24-48 hours for it to dry completely. Apply at least 10 (I ended up doing 12) coats of water based polyurethane, lightly sanding between each coat if you want. Follow the guidelines on your poly for re-coating/drying time.

After the stairs were done, I repainted the stairwell with my fav color: Burnished Clay by Behr. It would have been easier to paint before I did the stairs (note to self), but I was able to get it done without too many issues.  If this result isn’t a testimony to Behr’s Ultra paint/primer in one, I don’t know what is.

Another angle…

Since these are basement stairs, I didn’t spend time adding stain. I did already start upstairs with stain though, and it looks amazing. A complete tutorial can be found in my Ultimate Brown Paper Flooring Guide.

So, what’s the verdict? Would you ever try this technique on your floors? Your walls? A piece of furniture?

Comments

  1. AMAZING! I’ve seen this done on walls, but never on floors- it turned out awesome! I might just have the right piece of furniture to give this a try on- love your blog!

    • I’m in process of doing this treatment now in my house. Beats the cheap & ugly vinyl flooring. IT LOOKS GREAT!! It’s cost effective and looks high end. Seems like a win -win to me.

      • I was just wondering.. did you tear up your vinyl floor or lay it over it? If you layed it over how does it look? Can you see the vinyl design under it?

        • Lovely Crafty Home says:

          We didn’t have vinyl…just plywood subfloor after I ripped up the carpet.

        • Francine Johnson McGee says:

          I also did this treatment all over my house. I did it right over the vinyl in my kitchen. I used the same paper she used in most rooms, but in the kitchen I used vintage cookbook pages with some light stain over them. Since my vinyl floor has a little bit of texture to it, that comes through, but you can’t notice unless you’re looking for it. People are always reading the recipes on my floor. It’s kinda funny. Test your paper with the glue 1st if using printed pages. I used a book of victorian trade cards in one of my bathroom floors, and the image from the other side bled through. It’s not too bad, I am going to try and save it with some stained urethane, but if that doesn’t work I’ll just put something else over the top of it. That’s the beauty of this project. Get a hole, just put down another piece of paper and some more poly. We put our poly on in thick coats, but we weren’t doing stairs. It has held up well for over a year. I use a shark steamer to clean them, which I don’t do often enough, but both the cookbook pages and the brown paper hide the dirt much better than my crappy vinyl or uber cheap carpets ever did. I LOVE it.

  2. AMAZING! I’ve seen this done on walls, but never on floors- it turned out awesome! I might just have the right piece of furniture to give this a try on- love your blog!

  3. Suz in the Tules says:

    Lovely!
    And a lot less costy. Plus, I would hate to cut flooring for the stairs!

  4. Very well done. I did this on the top of some desks and end tables. I love this finish on furniture. I will have to try the floors.

  5. I just love this. My cousin did this on an entire focal wall in her living room a few years ago. Your stairs turned out great =)

  6. Great job, this is totally amazing, it looks so PRO!! Great job!!

  7. Great job, this is totally amazing, it looks so PRO!! Great job!!

  8. HUGE improvement!! Funny how your style and tastes change the longer your familiar with blogging, huh! haha! I’m the same way!

    We don’t have stairs… anywhere, but it’s a cool idea to try!

  9. That is awesome. I would do it in a heartbeat if I knew that the paper would hold up. Did you put a varnish or other kind of clear sealant on the steps?

    I have seen crinkled up,torn pieces of brown paper bag on walls and that is really beautiful. Great texture and hues.

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Julie- I have it on good authority that it does, from several people who have used it in their homes. The only sealer is the floor grade polyurethane, the same way hardwood floors are finished. You can always lightly sand and re-coat if spots are getting worn (but there are 6 original coats, so it would take a long time to get to bare paper). Also, patching is easy…just sand lightly and glue down more paper.

  10. That is awesome. I would do it in a heartbeat if I knew that the paper would hold up. Did you put a varnish or other kind of clear sealant on the steps?

    I have seen crinkled up,torn pieces of brown paper bag on walls and that is really beautiful. Great texture and hues.

  11. omg – you are a genius!! That looks SO good! I will def. be trying this little bit of wonderfulness! lol – LOVE IT!

  12. LOVE this idea! I think it looks great!! Brown paper flooring… who would have thought??

    Kendra

  13. Wow, I am so impressed with how this has turned out…looks great and I can’t wait to see the stained stairs on your other stairs!

    I have been seeing a number of great, original ideas here lately and that’s why I love Blogland!
    Great job!
    ~Pam
    pamspaintparlor.typepad.com

  14. Wow, I am so impressed with how this has turned out…looks great and I can’t wait to see the stained stairs on your other stairs!

    I have been seeing a number of great, original ideas here lately and that’s why I love Blogland!
    Great job!
    ~Pam
    pamspaintparlor.typepad.com

  15. What a great idea as I’m sitting here looking at my ugly stairs….think I’ll try it. How well does it hold up? Great tutorial. Thanks.

  16. That’s amazing! It seriously doesn’t look like the same staircase! Stopping by from FJ’s SNS. :)

  17. Wow! who’d of thought to do that on the stairs or the floor even, I’ve done a piece of furniture this way, but didn’t think of doing it on the floor.
    I like how this turned out.
    I could do this~
    Pat

  18. kendra Caudill says:

    I loved this idea! I used it on my bathroom counter after reading this post. It came out wonderful.
    http://kendrazblog-kendra.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-bathroom-revamp.html

  19. kendra Caudill says:

    I loved this idea! I used it on my bathroom counter after reading this post. It came out wonderful.
    http://kendrazblog-kendra.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-bathroom-revamp.html

  20. Love it! I have awful basement stairs that I want to fix up, but haven’t made up my mind yet. I think you may have made up my mind for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    How’s it holding up? Do you allow shoes on it? Just curious. It’s so affordable I’m willing to take the chance, but I am a little worried even with the poly what the wear and tear is like.

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Jen- We are a “shoes on” house. So far it’s been fine, I just sweep/mop them like I do on my hardwood. I know of a few people who have done this to their stairs and said it held up great. Right now I have 6 coats of poly on the stairs, but I will eventually sand them again and do 2 more.

  21. hi Rachael,
    I saw your guest post on Tater Tots and Jello. What a great idea and outcome. My sister did this to her basement stairs and I featured it on my blog with a big shout out to your tutorial and website. Thanks for sharing your good ideas!

  22. hi Rachael,
    I saw your guest post on Tater Tots and Jello. What a great idea and outcome. My sister did this to her basement stairs and I featured it on my blog with a big shout out to your tutorial and website. Thanks for sharing your good ideas!

  23. This is CRAZY! I am blown away. Brown paper. Keep us updated a year from now how it is holding together. In any of your research did it say? Anyway, I just love it and what a difference it made from the before shots! Good job!!!!!

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Thank you Selina! I will definitely post back about it, but I have read it lasts 7+ years. I’m sure it’s like any floor-if you take care of it, it will last longer. I try to sweep and mop it regularly so that dirt doesn’t dull the finish.

  24. That looks great! I just yelled up to my daughter, “I have a solution to my stairs!!” She wondered what needed to be solved. We already tore the carpet off our stairs and painted them white. I was planning to stain the treads but there were spots where knots had been filled in with putty so that wouldn’t work. I considered painting them but couldn’t come up with a paint that looked good so I just left them white. They look fine, but I was hoping for something different on the treads to break it up and I think this might be just the solution! I love all the ideas I’m finding lately. I’m in the process of painting my bathroom counters to look like granite and they look great!! Thanks for the idea and your tutorial!

  25. I have this treatment on the walls in my hallway and my friend saw it and borrowed the idea and did the floors in her kid’s rooms. She used marine grade poly due to the amount of stuff her kids spill everywhere. She loves it! Holds up really well and goes with every change of decor that growing kids will go through. Great tut, by the way. I used wallpaper paste instead of glue, but it is all the same…

  26. My problem is solved!!!! i absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the stairs!!! My hubby will think I’m nuts, but is used to these kind of ideas!!! Only question….how slippery? we are a shoes on family too, but lots of just socks too…what do ya think?
    thanks so much for this post!!!

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Sally- I usually am barefoot or shoe clad, but I have been down in socks a few times. No one in our house has fallen, but we don’t have children. I guess it’s a judgment call, but unless you’re running or not holding the railing I would say it’s pretty low risk. Or you could get some of those skid socks (like at the hospital) lol!

    • crazy4years says:

      Learned from a contractor that it works to toss sand onto the final layer of wet finish. Use a shaker if you aren’t handy at even distribution. This too will wear away eventually, but not real soon. Use a fine grit to avoid aggravation, like silica or craft sand, or sift your sand through a colander if using play or local sand. It doesn’t interfere with appearance unless you sprinkle waaaaay too much. Lowers the slick factor considerably and can be redone in a couple years if needed.

  27. This is WONDERFUL!!!!
    Do you think, to make it darker, you could add some dark stain to the glue mixture??? Did the paper darken up pretty much from the original dry paper?
    I’m gonna do this!!

    Thanks so much for posting! Saw your link on Tatertots&Jello!!
    Suz

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Susan- I wouldn’t mix the stain and glue for fear it would mess with the adhesion, but you could just do more than one coat to make it darker. The color I got was from one fairly heavy coat, but after it dries you could see if the paper will accept more.

      • Did the stain soak into the glue? My thought was that the glue sealed the paper so it wouldn’t accept the stain…. ?? I saw that you stained your steps to your upstairs and not the ones to your basement. I guess my question is does the dry glued paper accept the stain?? Suz

        • Lovely Crafty Home says:

          Susan- It does, the paper dries back to it’s original color and everything. The paper soaks up the stain REALLY well, so if you don’t want a deep color (like my mocha) I would suggest going really easy on it for a first coat.

  28. Carri Siebenmark says:

    I wonder if it would work on concrete floors? My basement floor is so ugly and want to make it better.

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Carri- I bet it would, but I would be sure to brush the floor itself with glue while you’re laying paper so it doesn’t draw the moisture out from the paper. Couldn’t hurt to try! If you do, let me know how it works out!

  29. This is so very cool! We’re getting the house ready for market, so I won’t be trying this here. We are planning on painting our concrete stairs in a colour that brings out the colour in our vinyl tile that we laid a few days ago. I was a little worried about painting them & not being able to walk on them, but I never thought to do every other step. GENIUS! Thanks!

  30. This is so very cool! We’re getting the house ready for market, so I won’t be trying this here. We are planning on painting our concrete stairs in a colour that brings out the colour in our vinyl tile that we laid a few days ago. I was a little worried about painting them & not being able to walk on them, but I never thought to do every other step. GENIUS! Thanks!

  31. I live in a slab and tried this in my daughters bedroom on the concrete floors in there. It was worth a shot but did not hold up.
    I treated the floors first with a concrete sealer.
    Then I layed the paper floor.
    Then I poly’d 4 coats.
    Looks? Great.
    Did not stick, it has been installed for about a year and you could peal the entire floor up in one sheet – it did not stay adhered.
    At the edge, she dropped a glass of water, it got underneath and soaked the paper.
    And we moved her desk without help once and tore a hole in the floor.
    SO, from my experience, I would never try this on concrete but I have seen that it works when adhered to wood. :(
    Pam

  32. FUN!!! I’m not kidding I had a similar idea the other day to decoupage my front entry! (although I think I like this idea better!) Wow I love it, turned out great!

  33. The stairs look so great! My sister did that type of treatment with brown paper grocery bags to her bedroom walls years ago. It looked like leather and I have always wanted to try the technique myself. This has inspired me again!

  34. Oh. My. Goodness. I hardly know what to say ~ but I LOVE it. You have inspired me! Thank you :)

  35. Oh. My. Goodness. I hardly know what to say ~ but I LOVE it. You have inspired me! Thank you :)

  36. Wow, that looks fantastic. I also was inspired by all of the beautiful stair makeovers but ripped up my carpet and… its particle board! Bumby and lumpy… do you think this could cover that? Probably not, darn, but yours looks amazing.

  37. This is so freaking awesome! I love brown paper. I recently used it to decoupage some maps onto a laminate dining table in my florida house that needed help. I would use this technique for a piece of furniture for sure. I have never seen this, and it looks so great!!

  38. I REALLY like your stairs. I am going to be taking off the carpet on our basement stairs soon, hopefully. I think they are going to be worse than yours. Maybe I will try your idea. I recently redid our main stairway. You could see the post here. http://parentsofadozen.blogspot.com/2011/04/our-steps-redo.html

  39. I thinking of doing this to purge my house of all the ugly stained carpet. However, I live in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. Do you have any idea how these are in colder climates in the winter? I don’t think I’d do this treatment in our main living areas…just thinking stairs, hallway, dining room. and maybe bedrooms.

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Pam- I can’t speak from experience, but I’d imagine as long as your house is mostly climate controlled you’d be ok. Most paint/stain products will have working temperatures on the can in the instructions, so as long as you’re within that range it would perform normally. Hope that helps!

  40. soccermom says:

    LOVE your floors!!! Did you sand between each poly layer? What type of sandpaper did you use? I just finished a test area, and have a fairly rough finish. Any tips/hints for a smooth, cleaner finish?

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Soccermom- Thanks so much! I actually did not sand between each layer, although you certainly can (I’d imagine it would be very time consuming). You raelly want to make sure that the floor is free of debris before you put stain on. The first few layers of poly might have some texture, but by the time you are at coat 10-12, it will be much smoother. How many coats do you have on now?

      • soccermom says:

        I think I probably had the debris pieces of brown paper (from smoothing the paper when it was saturated with water/glue). I have 4 coats of poly on now. At what point did you do a light sanding?
        I love the way this looks!

        • Lovely Crafty Home says:

          Are you doing stairs? I only sanded lightly after the first coat on stairs, but when I did my floors I did not sand at all between layers. To be honest, I don’t think it matters too much. I think if you are doing a small area, you could try sanding lightly now- but if it’s a whole room, just keep going with the poly and it will smooth out.

  41. Your stairs look fantastic! I linked this to my hardwood floors post too, well done!

  42. You rock my socks off…this is amazing! How are they holding up?!

  43. August Moulton says:

    Oh wow! I am so amazed, A few questions: How do you make sure it holds up on the rounded corners of the stairs? Do you put the stain on before the Poly? So in a step by step, I would first paint a layer of glue mixture, followed by saturated paper pieces, followed by another layer of glue. Let dry, then follow with Poly? Am I understanding it right? Thanks for the tutorial! I plan to start this early next week and I am so excited!

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Hey August- the paper is wrapped around the underside of the stairs and it hasn’t peeled or anything, I just applied the glue all the way under the tread, then the soaked paper, followed by the stain and then poly.

  44. August Moulton says:

    Oh wow! I am so amazed, A few questions: How do you make sure it holds up on the rounded corners of the stairs? Do you put the stain on before the Poly? So in a step by step, I would first paint a layer of glue mixture, followed by saturated paper pieces, followed by another layer of glue. Let dry, then follow with Poly? Am I understanding it right? Thanks for the tutorial! I plan to start this early next week and I am so excited!

  45. Hi-o!

    Saw this on Pinterest a few weeks ago and am planning to do it in my entry this weekend. It’s a horrible, 50 year old brick floor with a horrible blobby patch of concrete floor where we took out the horrible, huge 50 year old indoor waterfall. (HORRIBLE.) I am so, so excited about this change. (FTR, we’re doing a coat of FixAll first to even out the floor, fill in between bricks and unify the concrete/brick intersections.)

    Anyway: my question: I realize the two stairs projects were in cramped quarters, but would you have used a roller (lint free obviously) to apply the stain or the poly? Or is it strictly a job for a brush?
    Thanks so much! I’ve looked all over the internet and your projects and comment threads are the most informative paper-flooring source!

  46. This is sooo cool! I am thinking of doing this to get rid of our nasty carpet as well! here’s my question…what do you think of doing this in a bathroom? I am wondering if it would hold up well next to a shower. I am so sick of carpet in this room (who puts carpet in the bathroom anyway?? Hel-lo!).

    Thanks for your input and your website ROCKS!

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Joey- I know it’s been done in bathrooms, but I personally haven’t done it. To be honest, I’d be a little nervous about a bathroom BUT since you have carpet in there, I feel like I’d go for it. I mean it can’t be worse than carpet. I would just make sure you put 12+ coats of poly on there and use a rug! Thanks so much for stopping by! If you decide to do it, let me know how it goes!

  47. This is amazing!! I’ve been looking for something beautiful for our basement, but the project has been on hold since I lost my job and thought we couldn’t afford flooring. I think we can afford this! And it’s incredibly pretty! Thank you for the tutorial.

  48. Your stairs look beautiful! I have a bi-level house and when we pulled the stair’s rug up we found it was attached with swirls of black adhesive all over each tread! We can’t sand them due to asthma issues and they have (literally!) stayed like that for years because we had no idea what to do. Finally, this might be the solution we need!
    We also have cats and I was wondering how you kept yours from stepping on the wet stairs until they dried? Our cats’ box & food are downstairs and we & everything else are upstairs so they won’t tolerate being locked up away from us for very long.
    Thank you for such a great & inexpensive idea! ^_^

    • Lovely Crafty Home says:

      Nadine- I did actually lock mine in the basement (where their food and box are) for a few hours after, but for the most part they stayed off of it because I think the wet/stickiness of it was a turn off haha! I would recommend putting them up while you’re working, but in general we didn’t have any big problems. They step so lightly compared to our dog (which we kept off them completely…I had my husband carry her upstairs in socks lol).

      • Thank you for your reply. ^_^
        A few hours sounds better than 1-2 days and I’m glad to know they mostly avoided the wet stairs on their own. I was worried they’d get it on their paws, lick it off & get sick.
        Your puppy isn’t small & your husband had to take every other stair. Did you take a picture? That would be great to see! I’m sure your puppy was very confused when your husband suddenly started to do that! ^_^

  49. Tammy Kitts says:

    Wow this is awesome on the floors, I done my previous house walls in this and used cedar fencing as the waynes coat, in my living room I stayed with the color of the paper with the new Cedar fencing, same as in hall and made shutters like a country saloon with saloon doors down hall, beautiful, the bedroom was done with a different
    Type of glue that gave it a weathered look and used weathered cedar fencing.
    In the masterbath we used packing paper it’s thinner than the
    Painters paper and it was a cream color to
    Give a vintage look, this technique is beautiful but would
    Have never thought to use on the floors, thanks I think
    I will try this in my new place.

  50. I love, love, love this idea! I just ripped up the carpet on our front stairs and was trying to think of something different to do. This is it. I had already ripped up the carpet on our back stairs and refinished them to look like old repurposed crates. Now I know what I will do on the front stairs. Love your blog!

  51. This is a great idea and I would love to see pics … but for some reason the pics on your page aren’t loading for me. :-(

    • rachaelevans says:

      Nancy- have you tried reloading the page? My site crashed earlier this week so there might be some leftover “funk”.

  52. There is a flash update this week, so maybe you need to update your Adobe.

    Now for your flooring…..I love it! I am redo a small room in my single-wide mobile home and am going to use your tutorial for the floor. I currently have some carpet that looks like that old asphalt that was popular when I was a child (with the white, pink and grey in it) and I hate hate HATE it. I was so thirlled when I found your beautiful site and the great looking floor!

    I will post pictures on my blog when i get it up and running. Thanks for sharing this technique. You saved my sanity!

  53. DIY Newbie says:

    What did you use to apply your polyurethane? Was it a small brush? What if I’m doing a really large room? Any suggestions?

    • rachaelevans says:

      I used a paint brush (I used waterbased poly so I could wash it out) on the small areas and a large sponge mop applicator for large rooms.

  54. DIY Newbie says:

    What did you use to apply your polyurethane? Was it a small brush? What if I’m doing a really large room? Any suggestions?

  55. I just finished this on my kitchen counters. I used a mocha colored stain and it looks fantastic!!!!! I have done several things to my countertops but never loved them, this I love!

  56. I get TONS of brown craft paper in my boxes as packaging material. I’m so excited to have found an awesome use for it. Thanks for the great idea :)

  57. I get TONS of brown craft paper in my boxes as packaging material. I’m so excited to have found an awesome use for it. Thanks for the great idea :)

  58. I really love this idea! We are getting ready to finish our basement and I wonder if it will work on concrete floors or if we would need to put down a subfloor. What do you think?

  59. Just finished “bagging” an end table top. Needs to dry then will add the varnish. So far so good though!! :D Thanks for the brilliant idea. The table was originally headed for the dump!

  60. Lynne Sheley says:

    We recently purchased a church that we will be using as our Youth Facility. The basement had horrible carpet that needed to be ripped up. The carpet did not have any padding so when the carpet came up, the glue stayed on the floor, when we saw your idea we were so excited…it looks amazing! My question; 1.Do we need to remove the old glue first? 2. Someone had said to use “poly” instead of glue on cement…is that polyurethane? 3. When do you apply the stain? After you glued it to the floor, or before? is the stain a wood stain? 4. Was the polyurethane a high gloss..? Can’t wait to get started, thank you for sharing!!!

  61. Oh my gosh I absolutely love Iam going to attempt this in my back antique room I have been wanting to redo the floors and put wood down but that would cost so much so for a year and a half I have been patiently waiting for a idea or a project to pop in my head and wa la you did that is amazing I do have a few questions if you could please help I m doing it on a smooth cement do you think that would work just as well?? If not no problem to place the plywood hubby’s great at that stuff also I’m not much for polyurethane pretty much despise it. You said you put 10 coats or so on your project and sanded it, you waited two days per coat then sanded it then polled coat number two and so on and do forth?? I’m just trying to judge so I store all my furniture in the right places!! Thank you do much for posting this me and my husband are so very excited to try this and to see amazing results!!

  62. Shannon Jones says:

    This is AWESOME!! I live in a trailer I have lanoleum in my small bathrooms and kitchen I don’t like do you think this would work on them since they are like particle board?

  63. We are in the process of turning our small one car garage into another room for our house. There is a set of UGLY stairs leading into the house that I was just tonight (while painting the walls )thinking about what we could do to them that would hold up and look good! enter Pinterest :) gosh I love that place. We have a big roll of the paper in our closet since my daughter uses it for paint paper. Looks like I have my fix now!! I can’t wait!!

  64. We are in the process of turning our small one car garage into another room for our house. There is a set of UGLY stairs leading into the house that I was just tonight (while painting the walls )thinking about what we could do to them that would hold up and look good! enter Pinterest :) gosh I love that place. We have a big roll of the paper in our closet since my daughter uses it for paint paper. Looks like I have my fix now!! I can’t wait!!

  65. Dina Bartlett says:

    My question is what if I used the white artkraft paper? I love this but want to do a lighter color. There are tons of colors to choose from, but so undecided and scared to use it without input.

  66. Jan Walters says:

    Great idea and what a great job you did. Thanks for the inspiration!

  67. If I owned my own home I would totally utelize this…but since I dont…i think my computer desk may need a leather look makeover hmmmm

  68. mmilkls62 says:

    I love this ideal. I am going ot try this in one of my bed rooms.

  69. Hi, I absolutely love this! I have a room I would like to try…there is old carpet in there and I know there is linoleum underneath. After ripping out the carpet, do I also need to take up the linoleum or can it be done over it? Thanks!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Hi Lori- If the linoleum is in good shape and doesn’t have a lot of texture (i.e. faux tile with grout grooves), you can go right over it. Just keep in mind that the paper will not hide imperfections, so I don’t usually recommend it over non-smooth surfaces (especially tile because of the grid effect). Hope that helps!

  70. Hi, I absolutely love this! I have a room I would like to try…there is old carpet in there and I know there is linoleum underneath. After ripping out the carpet, do I also need to take up the linoleum or can it be done over it? Thanks!

  71. this is March 1st 2012, how are the stairs holding up?

  72. Carli St. Michel says:

    I was looking for rolls of Kraft paper at Staples, but it seemed awfully thin.
    Could you tell me more about the paper, what brand, weight etc. or what stores carry it. Our Home Depot does not have it. Thank you so much, I really want to do this, preferably this week when my husband is out of town.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Carli- I’d be really surprised if any HD didn’t have it…did you look by the fabric drop cloths in the painting section? I would check Lowes also. I have even seen it at Walmart with packing supplies. Generally it should feel like a paper grocery bag, maybe slightly “lighter”.

      • Carli St. Michel says:

        Thanks for the info. I will check Home Depot again and Lowes and Walmart. Staples has an 18# Kraft paper on line, but presently sold out.

  73. Latasha says:

    I really want to try this for my kitchen, but not sure if it would last on the vinyl that I have or the concrete that is underneath. Could you give me any suggestions??? Thanks in advance.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Latasha- If the vinyl is in good shape, I’d test out a 50/50 glue/water mix in a small area and see if it sticks. Hope that helps!

  74. I was reading about brown paper floor and was wondering about how slippery the stairs are to walk on and if you added anything to applying

    • rachaelevans says:

      Crissy- they are about as slippery as hardwood, you could put a runner down the center if you like to help!

  75. Your floors look beautiful! Now that it has been awhile how have they held up? Also, I saw the question about putting this on top of vinyl floor but I didn’t see the answer. Can you put it directly on a vinyl floor or do I have to peal up the vinyl squares? Thanks so much for your help!

  76. Can you paint it instead of staining…like a whitewash. Looks awesome! Tracie

  77. It looks like I’m a little bit late to your blog, but I am so glad I finally found you. We, too, have a pet worn carpet on our 25 year old staircase. I have been pondering the situation and lurking at blogs for about 2 years or so to find a solution. Here is my situation: We have 12 steps up from a tiled foyer and hallway. At the top of the 12 steps is a 3′ x 3′ landing, a turn to the right and then 2 more steps to the second floor hallway. I want to paint the steps, but didn’t know what to do about the landing that is just subfloor under the carpet. I didn’t want to have to do some expensive treatment on the landing when I was just painting the steps. The tile in the foyer is a 16″ Congoleum tile that is a mxture of brown, tan, dark gray and a little black….it is a good dirt color. I am thinking of painting the risers white and the treads a dark grey . On the landing I would like to use the paper treatment. After installing the paper, could I paint it gray and then poly it? I
    I am really nervous about starting this project since it is the very first thing you see when you come in the front door. You seem fearless about trying new things. I love your blog!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Carla- I’ve never tried painting the paper, but I don’t see why not! I’d get a piece of scrap plywood and cover it in paper, then paint it (maybe try a few different colors to see what you like best, and how many coats you need). Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by :)

  78. This looks so amazing. Can this be done on a rough concrete floor or would I have to put a subfloor down first? I think this will be my spring project for next year! Thanks for the great information and idea!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Shelly- if the concrete is not in good shape, I’d advise either using a concrete re-surfacing type product (like a self leveling repair type product) or laying sub-floor. I just don’t think you’ll be happy with the results long term if the surface doesn’t start out pretty smooth.

  79. Did you sand between coats of poly on your stairs and how long did you wait between coats?

  80. Hi, first all project is fantastic! Pity I didnt see it before puttine laminate floor.. It would save my money.. huge time. Did anyone tried it on tiles? Or maybe would you know it will work? I have absolutly hideous tiles on the kitchen & hallway floor and no money to change it. would really love to cover them but I cannot buy paint for floor tiles in Ireland and cannot find anything thin enough to cover.

    • Rachael Evans says:

      I have not tried it on tiles, but you should be able to get adhesion with either glue or poly. As long as you don’t care about seeing a faint “grid” from the grout underneath, I say go for it!

  81. SA Springer says:

    The stair treads going to the second floor in our 1916 Foursquare are hideous. Once golden oak, they’ve been painted four times, once with a dirty mustard that both chemicals and heat haven’t been able to get off. I’d been thinking about the paper bag treatment then found your article. Just what the doctor ordered!

    I’m going to try your method of paper bag flooring on the steps as well as add silica or sand to the final polyurethane. With two large dogs, I’m not sure it will last, but anything is better than what we have now!

    Many thanks for posting such a well written set of instructions!

  82. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Jen- We are a “shoes on” house. So far it’s been fine, I just sweep/mop them like I do on my hardwood. I know of a few people who have done this to their stairs and said it held up great. Right now I have 6 coats of poly on the stairs, but I will eventually sand them again and do 2 more.

  83. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Sally- I usually am barefoot or shoe clad, but I have been down in socks a few times. No one in our house has fallen, but we don’t have children. I guess it’s a judgment call, but unless you’re running or not holding the railing I would say it’s pretty low risk. Or you could get some of those skid socks (like at the hospital) lol!

  84. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Carri- I bet it would, but I would be sure to brush the floor itself with glue while you’re laying paper so it doesn’t draw the moisture out from the paper. Couldn’t hurt to try! If you do, let me know how it works out!

  85. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Soccermom- Thanks so much! I actually did not sand between each layer, although you certainly can (I’d imagine it would be very time consuming). You raelly want to make sure that the floor is free of debris before you put stain on. The first few layers of poly might have some texture, but by the time you are at coat 10-12, it will be much smoother. How many coats do you have on now?

  86. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Hi Kallie! Yes I did use a lambswool pad (stain) and sponge pad (poly) for the larger areas!

  87. I was just wondering.. did you tear up your vinyl floor or lay it over it? If you layed it over how does it look? Can you see the vinyl design under it?

  88. Lovely Crafty Home says:

    Nadine- I did actually lock mine in the basement (where their food and box are) for a few hours after, but for the most part they stayed off of it because I think the wet/stickiness of it was a turn off haha! I would recommend putting them up while you’re working, but in general we didn’t have any big problems. They step so lightly compared to our dog (which we kept off them completely…I had my husband carry her upstairs in socks lol).

  89. Thank, I think we will give it a try. Now to convince my hubby.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] first part of this story does go pretty smoothly. I started with my dresser and this floor covering tutorial from Rachel at Lovely Crafty Home. Only 86 stairs/floor… sub street dresser. But this street find needed legs. I refused to [...]

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