The Ultimate Brown Paper Flooring Guide

Check out my floors in the May/June 2012 issue of Natural Home and Garden!

Also featured in the November 2012 issue of WNC Womanwnc woman logo

My brown paper floors are by far my most viewed content, at the top of the list for FAQs, and seen more on Pinterest than anything else I’ve done. I think that’s kinda cool for such an easy and cheap floor solution! But I cannot take credit for this method alone, I originally saw this idea in a magazine that featured Jami from An Oregon Cottage. I changed a few things about the process to suit my tastes, but her site is also a great resource.

I wanted to put all the details in one place (instead of scattered over several posts) to make it easier for you to start your project. Keep in mind this is the method I have done in my house over plywood subfloors. There are other methods out there, but I can only tell you what has worked for me. If you have cement/concrete subfloor, or are applying it over an existing floor, these instructions as written may not work. Please click here for advice from others.

I also HIGHLY recommend getting a piece of scrap wood and testing the technique with your stain and poly of choice. I get a lot of people asking for help after they’ve done the whole room because the paper isn’t sticking, the stain isn’t even, or the poly is cloudy. At this point, it is very difficult for me to help. The way I developed my method was by getting a piece of plywood and trying it out. Yes it is extra work, but it is worth it to know exactly how the floor will look. Please understand that I get a lot of questions about this technique, and may not be able to get back to everyone in a timely manner, but I do try. A lot of help can be found in the comments section. I see mostly positive results and comments from people trying this in their home…but there are a few of you who report fails on several different levels. I cannot pinpoint the exact reason why it works for some and not for others, all things being equal. I am sort of gutsy when it comes to making major changes, but I suggest that you really think about this before ripping up whatever flooring you already have. It is a big job, not difficult, just time consuming. If you are not sure you could deal with a few imperfections or worst case, a total fail- you may want to think about it a little longer. I am sharing my own experience here, and I am not a flooring professional.

Before you rip up your flooring, get a piece of scrap plywood (or something similar to your subfloor), and practice the technique from start to finish, including several coats of poly.

But remember you will be working in a larger area than your sample. I do not recommend applying stain by hand in any way unless you can reach wall to wall (a hallway or staircase). It’s next to impossible to maintain a wet edge in larger rooms, and you will likely end up with lines. Once the stain has dried though, you have a few choices when applying poly. Personally I prefer the spongepad mop, but if you are more comfortable applying poly with a brush by hand…that may work best for you. If you have never applied poly before, a brush is the easiest way to control the amount. It is important (from what I’m reading from people who have tried it), that the poly be applied not to thin, not too thick. More often I think cloudiness occurs from a too-thick coat, but it can also happen if you apply it too thinly. The only way to find the right amount and application method is to test it in advance. You can also start in a closet, if available.

With that said, if you’re ready to make a change, let’s get started! Want to rid your house of bad carpet/linoleum/vinyl/etc?! Here’s what you’ll need for a large room:

  • Brown craft paper on a roll-$11 (Home Depot is where I got mine)
  • Elmer’s Glue (by the gallon, check A.C. Moore/Michaels/other craft stores)- use a 40% off coupon, it will run about $12
  • Small bucket
  • Paint brush
  • Roller tray
  • Stain (optional, I used Minwax Dark Walnut)- $8
  • Floor Grade Polyurethane (I used this in semi-gloss)- $40
  • Sponge pad on wood block mop head to apply poly- $5
  • Lambskin stain pad refill (if you’re using stain- this fits on the same wood block as above)- $6
  • Extension pole (universal screw in connection for the mop blocks or paint rollers)-$9
  • 3″ chip brush- $1.50
  • Gloves

The start up materials cost about $100, but will likely last for a few rooms (or into other projects, it’s always handy to have an extension pole). I did about 650 sq ft in my home for around $200.

First things first, prepare your floor. In my case, that involved removing the carpet, pad, and staples. I also sanded down any high spots (our subfloor had areas with plaster/glue or something on them), filled any deep nail holes, hammered in any loose nails, and filled any gaps between boards. Keep in mind when using filler that you usually want to overfill a bit because even though the package says it won’t shrink-it does. When it’s set, sand the filler down flush with the floor.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I absolutely hate prep work-especially sanding. But trust me, don’t skip this. Go ahead and tape off your baseboards if you really don’t want to do any touch up work. Once your floor is filled, sanded, and vacuumed (or swept), you’re ready for the paper.

It is probably faster to tear a bunch of paper, wad it up into garbage bags, then start. But I pretty much tear as I go, somehow seeing the progress helps and also allows me to take a break from sitting on the floor with glue hands. Get out your roll of paper and start tearing-keeping the pieces with straight edges separate from the ones torn from the middle of the roll. I like my pieces to be anywhere from 6″-12″ in diameter, but it really depends on the look you want. The smaller the pieces, the more wrinkly/leathery/vein-y the final result will be. As you tear, crumple the pieces into balls and toss into a bag or pile.

Next, mix up your glue. I don’t like to mix a lot at a time because you may need to stop or take a break, and you won’t want the glue to dry up and go to waste. I typically mix up 2-3 “batches” using a 3:1 ratio of water:glue- so 6-9 cups of water to 2-3 cups of glue at a time. This will fit it a 2 gallon bucket easily. Stir it up with a paint stick or a gloved hand.

Now you’re ready to start! Using a paint brush, brush the area you’re working in with the glue mixture then dunk 5-6 balls of paper in your glue mix. I have found this is the perfect amount of paper and working time for one person. As soon as you dunk the paper, you want to start submerging it and squeezing it out. I pull each ball out and set it on the floor until it’s time to use it. This is important: do NOT leave the paper in the glue too long. You will only have to leave it in too long once to realize how long that is. It will tear and break down and generally be a pain to use. So just dunk, squeeze, and set aside. Repeat if necessary.

The straight edge pieces are perfect for the back of a stair tread (shown above) and underneath baseboard. I like to overlap the pieces by a few inches, obviously it will help with durability but it also looks more natural in my opinion. Don’t be afraid to brush glue mix on top of the pieces to help them lay flat and remove wrinkles.

You’ll want to paper yourself out of the room, or in the case of the hallway, leave hopping spots to be filled in later. For a staircase, work every other stair. Heat helps the glue dry, so if you feel like getting out a space heater you can (pictured in the bathroom above). I have found that no matter how large the room-with or without heat- it usually takes no longer than 12 hours (or, overnight) to dry. Once the paper dries, inspect it for areas where the paper might have come up around an edge or wrinkled. Glue down/repair these areas as necessary.

Then, it’s time to stain (if you want). I prefer the look of the stain, but if you like the natural color feel free to skip down below to the polyurethane section. My whole upstairs is done with Minwax Dark Walnut. This is an oil based stain, so beware. I have never used a water based stain, but I have had someone comment that they tried it and didn’t get good results. If you want to use water based stain, test it on some scrap paper first before proceeding.

If you’re doing a room I highly recommend the extension pole/stain pad route. Here’s a neat tip to keep your roller trays in good shape: slide them into a small garbage bag and tape to secure. This is great for any oil based product, but helpful for latex paint too!

Depending on how long your stain has been sitting on the shelf, you might want to store it upside down overnight to help get the colorant off the bottom of the can. Then you will need to stir it VERY well. 

Grab your extension pole and attach the lambswool pad to the wood block  (if you’ve bought them separately, or bought one that came with the foam pad attached) by removing the wing nuts . The lambswool pad is meant for oil based products, so if you’re using water based stain this will not work (you’ll likely need two of the foam pads).  Vacuum the lambswool pad for a minute to remove any loose fur or use a lint brush if your vacuum doesn’t have a hose. I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. 

The extension pole screws into a threaded hole on the wood block. It may take a few tries to get it to go, as the block and pad end up being more angled then you might think. It’s not a 90 degree joint, so just look closely at the threads and try to line up the pole. Maybe that’s too much information, but I seriously almost threw the whole thing out the window the first time I tried this. I was convinced that “universal” was false advertising on the pole’s part.

Once you’ve got your stain pad-on-a-stick assembled, set your mop aside. Pour some stain into your roller tray. Using the chip brush, cut in around baseboards and trim. The stain pad makes staining a pretty quick process, so you can really cut in a fairly large area (like a whole wall or closet). When using the brush, dip it in the stain and then dab it in the top of the roller tray to remove excess. You really do not want to apply stain with a heavy hand. It is much better to need to dip your brush more often than to have a puddle of stain you need to disperse. It is for this reason that I absolutely DO NOT suggest the use of a foam brush (the black craft kind). I have tried them and trust me-the chip brush is much easier to control and about the same price. When cutting in, be sure to “pull” the stain out a good bit from the wall, about 6″ or so. This will make it easier to blend the edges with the bulky mop pad without jamming your baseboard or wall.

Make sure you open any windows in the room before you start in with the mop because you won’t be able to access them later. Dip the stain pad-on-a-stick into the stain then blot it on the upper half of the tray by pushing gently downward to remove excess. Using long mop like movements, brush the stain on the floor in large sections. Blend it into the areas where you’ve cut in. I have found that staining the paper is a lot different than staining wood. Once you’ve laid down most of the stain from the pad (a few long straight mop strokes), you’ll have enough stain on the pad left to swirl around the edges and blend. While the stain is wet, you can move it pretty easily. I like to move it around until most of the stain looks like it’s absorbed into the paper and not just sitting on top, feathering out the edges as necessary. Just don’t try to go back over it a few minutes later. Remember to mop yourself out. This is sometimes easier said than done, so just plan carefully.

This next part is probably the hardest. After doing several rooms/areas in all weather conditions, I have never found that the stain dries completely….but you really, really need to let it dry as long as possible. I do not suggest doing this in humid weather unless you have at least 2 days to let the stain dry.  It may still be a little tacky, even after 24 hours.  It took me a few tries to come up with the best method of applying the polyurethane given this annoying situation. You’ll be mopping first, then cutting in.

I used a water based poly because it is a quick dry and less smelly. Considering the amount of time spent applying it, I highly recommend going this route. It is more expensive, but please do not make your decision based on price (this is already such a cheap flooring solution). If you choose oil based poly, test it in an inconspicuous area first! I have had MANY reports of oil based poly leaving splotches…so use at your own risk.

Using the extension pole again, attach the foam mop head to the wood block. Cover your roller tray with a garbage bag and pour in your poly of choice. Dip the mop head in the poly, blot out the excess, then apply it in long strokes on the floor. Stay away from the walls, you can cut this area in with a brush later. Be quick and wear socks. Just get that first coat down with minimal walking. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be THIN. People have been reporting cloudy results, and this is generally caused by 1) thick coats applied consecutively and 2) not allowing the coats to dry sufficiently in between.  Once the first coat dries, any tackiness from the stain will be gone and you can take your time cutting in around the baseboards and applying subsequent coats. Follow the directions for re-coating that your brand of poly suggests. I recommend no less than 12 coats.

I get asked a lot about sanding in between coats. The truth of the matter is that it does make a difference in how the floor feels under foot. It likely extends the life of the floor as well. However, who wants to sand an entire room? I didn’t. I sanded my stair treads and landing, and these areas are really smooth and lovely. But of course- these areas are also not covered with rugs and furniture. So to me it’s a trade off. If you want perfectly polished looking smooth floors, definitely sand with 220 grit-maybe not between each coat but definitely after the first and before the last.

To really finish the look, install quarter round or shoe molding. I’m in the process of starting this in my master bedroom, and it looks amazing.


1. How does the floor wear? Is it durable?

Well, it’s paper. So, considering that…it is remarkably durable. Once the poly is fully cured (sometimes up to a week), I find it is pretty resistant to scratches from normal traffic. I have a large dog and she can scratch the floor if she gets really crazy. It is similar to hardwoods in that way. I can’t guarantee it will last for 10 years, but I have heard that it can. It’s all in the application and general care of the floors. We have area rugs and felt feet on our furniture. I do not have this installed in a bathroom or kitchen.

2. How long does it take?

I would say no matter how small the area, you’ll need at least 3 days without stain and 4 with stain.

3. What if my subfloor is not plywood?

Some of my readers have suggested other methods which may work for your application. Read about my experience with vinyl floor here and my concrete method here. Please test in a small area to be sure.

4. How do I care for my floor?

I use the hard floor attachment on my vaccuum often, but sweeping will work too. Remember that dirt particles wear away the finish on any hard surface floor. I swiffer style mop (not a wet mop) mine about once a week. Here are some products I’ve found to be safe:

  • Mrs. Meyers All Purpose Cleaner (either in the ready to use spray, or buy the concentrate and mix per directions)
  • Vinegar/Water mix (a couple tbs to a quart of water)
  • Holloway House Quick Shine Floor Finish (a liquid you mop on) <—-this stuff is THE JAM. It makes the floor look like it did day one and hides minor scratches very well

And now here are some final shots from my house to get you motivated! Keep in mind all of these photos were taken on different days in different light, and you can see variation in how the floor photographs. But in person, it is very seamless and uniform. There are obviously a lot of choices when it comes to home flooring, so whether you choose to try the brown paper floor or not, I hope this tutorial was helpful in deciding!

{Basement Stairs-Natural, No Stain}

{Main Stairwell, March 2011}

{Main Stairwell, September 2011}

{Hallway And Ryan’s Room}

{Ryan’s Room}

{Hallway and Guest Room}

{Sneak Peak- Master Bedroom with Quarter Round Molding}

Concrete/Cement Tips

For concrete/cement subfloors, here are a list of things I have read or been told by others that do or do not work.

  • The 3:1 glue mix does not work for most.
  • A 50/50 glue mix has worked for some.
  • Using polyurethane only, brush it on the floor then lay the paper and brush more on top- do not saturate/dunk the paper.
  • If you have to use the poly only method, you cannot apply stain over the poly-it must be mixed in for the initial paper application. Look for “stain + polyurethane” products. I do not know anyone who has done this, so I have no idea how the stain+poly will affect the color of the paper.
  • I am curious to see if wallpaper glue would work.
  • Some people have tried adding color to the poly in the form of paint or stain. Be sure you’re using like with like though, as in water based with water based or oil based with oil based.



  1. I don’t know how I missed these before on your blog. Such a neat idea and they look great. This would have been a good solution in our old house.

    • I want to know what sort of prep work needs to be done if my concrete slab has previously had self adhesive tiles on it? Does the entire slab need to be ground down prior to application? Or will the left over adhesive help to make the paper stick? When we purchased our house the previous owners had applied these “lovely” little tiles. We wanted to stain and poly the concrete floors but would have had to grind the slab to remove all of the adhesive. Will the paper bags cover this so that we will not have to do this? I love this technique but I am not sure if I can get my husband on board if it will require us to remove the leftover adhesive.

    • Do you use regular Elmers glue or Elmers Wood Glue?

      • I have used Carpenters Glue. Wood Glue, it works great. I also tried a different lower brand (grade) glue and I have had no problems. Just make sure it is a wood glue.I am trying this on a concrete floor next. I have done two bathroom counter tops, 1 main wall in my room and all the walls in my sons room and we love it.. My son loves now I am going to do our basement cement floor, I hope it turns out fingers crossed.. I hope you try this as well, you will not be sorry.. :)

    • will this work on a concrete floor

  2. I freaking LOVE it! My husband even wants to try it haha. But we live in a 100+ year old house with original tile floors. The tiles are hideous and broken etc so i’m not worried about keeping this original feature in our house. But since its a tile floor through out, not sure how we could manage doing something like this. I’m thinking maybe trying it in our bedroom. See how that goes. I’ll send you a message :) Great post!

  3. WOWOWOWOWOW!!!! I just absolutely love this!!! I need to do this one. I am pinning it now. It is just beautiful thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Hooray! Great idea putting it all in one spot! I love the new updated pictures too! One question, how come the stairs look so different in the photos? Is it just the flash or did you do an additional treatment? I was the one that had contacted you about the water based stain, and it was a NIGHTMARE, I highly recommend doing the oil based stain instead. I did the powder room, and am going to venture forth with the rest of the house, starting with my son’s room next. I did end up doing my first “repairs” to the powder room floor after a full 4 months of hard use (including 4 toilet overflows thanks to my son). They were tiny areas that were easy to touch up with a Q-tip, stain and repoly’d. Have you had any of these areas occur in any of your floors yet? I noticed them because they were the color of the original contractor’s paper. They weren’t from scratches or anything like that either, and a few were almost perfectly round. My guess is that it was maybe my dog’s nails popping off a dot of the poly and the stain stuck to it? I’m not sure, but was wondering how your floor has been holding up. I did the shoe moulding too and it looks FANTASTIC!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Kim- Yes I think it’s just the flash and also the correcting features on my photo software. I mainly put up the two shots so people could see how they are holding up over 6 months of use. I have done a couple of touch ups, nothing like what you described though-I wonder if it’s water spots? I don’t have this flooring in a bathroom, so I’m thinking that must be the difference. I touched up a part on the landing where my dog scratched it doing a nose dive off the stairs, using the same method basically-just dabbing some stain and brushing a bit of poly. But in general I have spent almost no time maintaining these floors other than using my sweeper attachment for my kirby and a vinegar/water spray mop.

      • Perhaps you’re right and it is water spots, my son has overflowed that bathroom a ton of times and it sometimes sits a while before I discover it! Grrrrr. Even though it did need a few “repairs”, it took less than 10 minutes and after 4 months of hard use, TOTALLY worth it. I did a little writeup and short video on my repairs in case any of your readers want to see what they looked like.

      • I truly love this flooring fix, I have old wood floors that looked great when I moved in 6 months ago and now they are dry looking and not shining I think I was fooled into thinking they have sanded and restained all of them. So this is a cheap ( hate to use that word) way to fix it I am going to try it Thank You

        • They could just need to be waxed and buffed if they’re old wood floors. My grandparents have to do that to their floors.

  5. I am thinking about doing this in my kitchen. My mom thinks it will not hold up to traffic and my dogs! My daughter thinks it will be rough and hard to keep clean! What do you think?!?! Thanks

    • Also, my floor is bare concrete!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Shira- It is holding up very well in our house, and I have a large dog and 3 cats. It’s super easy to clean, but if you choose a dark color it will show dirt more (like any dark hardwoods). I have no trouble keeping it clean though, just sweeper vac and mop.

    • I did this technique on my kitchen walls about 10 years ago. I saw it on the hgtv or diy channel, I cant remember which, it is still in tact! There is one place above the kitchen window that needs pasted down again…but its not torn or ripped, just detached a little bit. So I can vouch that this is a fabulous technique!! You can decorate the room any way you want, it goes with everything!! I never thought to do it on my floors tho!! That is fantastic!! I am going to be doing this with the darker stain on my floor!! I have horrible carpet and its old and ugly!! This is a much cheaper and beautiful alternative to hardwood, which can be very expensive!! I LOVE IT!! Very creative!!!

      • Hi, I have a quick ( I hope! ) question about what you used on the kitchen walls. I am currently doing my kitchen black splash I added food coloring to the glue mix and I love the color, but before I put everything back where it goes, I was wondering if you used just poly to cover it or something else. The poly I used on my bathroom floor looks great but it is flammable. Is there something else I should use? Also do you happen to know where I can find a Dark Forest Green stain? My kitchen and dining room floors are next and that is the color my hubby and I agreed on. Please and thank you… :)

  6. Im wondering what your thoughts of doing this technique on a gass fireplace wall. Do you think the poky would hold? It’s not a fireplace we use on a regular basis and when in use it’s not on for a long period of time. I’d love your input. Thanks.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Nicole- I’d be very hesitant to use this technique in that application, you would definitely need to use a different product than poly- something made for high heat. If you try it let me know how it works out!

  7. Julie Forst says:

    What about trying this on a wall? Can you apply the stain on a sheet rock wall covered in the brown paper?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Julie- Yup, you can absolutely do this on a wall…I think that was actually one of the first uses I came across for this technique.

      • Julie Forst says:

        Just wondering have you ever tried a water based stain? I have heard the using oil based and water based don’t mix well together….I was wanting to try this on my bathroom walls…..I just love the look on your floors!!!

        • rachaelevans says:

          Julie- I have not tried water based stain, but people have told me it doesn’t work well. Waterbased floor poly can go over oil based stain. If you’re doing it on a wall though, you may want to check out this method:

        • Julie Forst says:

          Forget what I asked about the water based stain, I just got thru reading that you don’t suggest using that…Would you suggest using just a chip brush on a wall, I was just planning on doing the bottom half around the bathroom…the walls are painted right now, I have a wall paper border thru the middle and I just wanted the bottom half done with the craft paper… and the bathroom isn’t all that big….

          • rachaelevans says:

            Yeah if it’s a smallish area (I did my whole hallway by hand), I would use the chip brush. It will be much cheaper than getting into the mop situation and probably won’t take too long. Good luck!

    • Kimberly Waggett says:

      I did the wall in my guest bathroom (no shower) over 10 years ago and it still looks great. I took brown craft paper on a roll from Home Depot and put all kinds of paint on it. I tore it into pieces and used walpaper glue to adhere it to the wall. Everyone loves it

  8. Hey! love this. found on pinterest (of course). I posted it in the comments to a post on regarding Eric Carle’s painted tissue method…. anyway, we got off in left field…. I went back to link someone to the instructions which you have now FULLY added so HUGE thank you to you.

    What I really wanted to say was, what if you used a Marine Varnish – yes, it would probably be super smelly to apply but wouldn’t it hold up to the years and cleaning, etc?

    How do you clean the floors, are you able to mop or spot scrub if needed? That is why I was thinking the Marine Varnish would be a hefty solution.

    Great job and awesome that you are sharing it!

    btw. I am the community curator / blog editor over at ;) keep up the good work!

  9. apologies. never-mind on the cleaning Q as you answered that above. :)

    • rachaelevans says:

      Molly- I would think marine varnish would work great, it didn’t come to mind when I was starting the project though.

      • I know this post was awhile back, but I thought I would share what I have learned about Marine Varnish. Varnish is made by cooking a resin and then adding Mineral Spirits to ease application. When it is exposed to the air, the oil evaporates, leaving you with a finish film. Marine varnish is simply made with extra oil so that it will be softer and more flexible. That is great for things like yardarms, but not so good for floors as the added oil makes a film that is significantly less resistant to abrasion, heat, solvents, and moisture. I hope this helps. We are moving into our new house in a month and I am already planning on doing this in at least one room to replace the old carpet. Thank you so much for doing such a complete tutorial on the process. Cat

        • I am curious. I want to do this flooring in my bedroom that I intend to turn into a studio (with a bed lol) since I am trying to start a costume business in the near future. I live in a mobile home and I have been told by my family that a floor like this would never work because it’s a mobile home and we live in a humid area (Texas coast). My family says that the floor will bend and move too much so that the poly would break not to mention the humidity would prevent the flooring from ever curing. Do you think Marine Varnish might be a better choice for my situation? If it’s made to be flexible and all. Would a roll-y chair and usual foot traffic be too much for Marine Varnish?

          • GeezLouise says:

            We have a manufactured home with particle board subfloor that flexes and have painted floors then polyurethaned without any cracking. We did not attempt to fill the gaps between sheets of particle board with anything other than extra paint and poly. The technique recommended by our local hardware store:
            1) oil-based primer, to seal and prevent the flooring from swelling and becoming rougher as it would if the first coat was water-based or latex. Especially in the bathroom.
            2) latex paint.
            3) water-based polyurethane. Remember, poly isn’t for standing water situations such as shower pans or pools.
            On one floor, we’ve had 3 years and 200+ lb wheelchair and Hoyer lift and hospital bed without problems. It does look like it needs another coat of poly. We live in a dry climate and discovered that 7-10 days was not enough dry time* and that several thin coats is a far better idea than thick.

            * The bed, chair, and lift weight is on very small area of the wheel that touches the floor so there is a LOT of of weight on that one spot, and the wheels swivel in place. Fresh coatings tend to smudge out away from the weight. The wheels smeared-tore the top layers of finish off the floor the first time, after about a week. Other rooms that were painted later, we used thinner coats and they dried much more quickly, but we still waited 2 weeks to begin adding furniture to the rooms and one particularly ponty-legged piece still smudged the coating in an area where the coating was applied too thickly. After a month, they were plenty cured and the dog toenails don’t gouge the paint.

            Gouging would probably be more of an issue on the softer vinyl kitchen flooring. We have painted some of the vinyl in an inconspicuous place to see how it looks, before moving onto the kitchen and bathroom, but not in a place where the dogs are likely to skid across it. I would guess the paper flooring would wear similarly to paint. Hope that helps.

  10. We have done this treatment on our concrete subfloor but did not think it would work upstairs on the wood subfloor. We are getting ready to buy laminate. How is the noise level? also, how does it feel on the wood sub floor? Thanks

    • Teri I am thinking of doing this on a concrete subfloor, what alterations to the above directions did you have to make since it was concrete or did you not? Also, did you do any kind of a concrete sealer on the floor before doing this?

      • No alterations on concrete and no concrete sealer. Just make sure you use concrete filler/ patch where here are holes and where the tack strip comes up. It will sink some as it dries so wait and make sure it is even with the other floor. Also. as the paper dries, it shrinks so overlap so you don’t get small triangles of concrete showing. I have had mine over 2 years and love it. i am doing my master bedroom next week. It has held up really well with 4 kids and 3 dogs. Lots of compliments. Let me know if you have any more questions for concrete.

        • Terri , Am I correct ? Did you use the same formula for wood floors with sucess? I would love to do this in my basement , I dont want to put much in it as were not down there much. It is concrete. Thanks for any reply

          • Shana Frye says:

            Terri or Karen if you have attempted it, Did you use the glue then stain then poly method or just the poly method? Thanks.

          • I did the treatment on my concrete floors. I did not stain mine but I had not seen this website at the time. I saw it in a friends home. We have had it almost 3 years and it has held up well. I am going to do it on my stairs here soon.

        • I would like to know what method was used with concrete as well. I’m looking to do this to my basement within the next week or two. I just want to make sure it will stick and stay on for a long time. Just making sure you used the formula for the wood floors. (what Karen had asked)

        • I am in the process of doing this project on my concrete subfloor. Did you have a hard time with it sticking to the concrete? Any extra advice would be greatly appreciated. I am about ready to cry!!

    • My husband and I have just discovered that our first floor is concrete and we were planning to brown-paper the entire house, major set back until I saw your comment. How did you apply it to concrete? Did you use the poly-paper-poly method or exactly as she does it to the wood sub-floor? We want to stain the paper if at all possible. Any suggestions/feedback are welcome.

      • I used 50/50 glue and water and then poly over the top. I did not stain but I had not seen that idea when I did mine.

    • Terri thanks for all the updates. No problems on the concrete with moisture issues since you didn’t use a sealer. I truly love this look!

  11. I am going to try this next week on my kitchen table. It is laminate or verneer or something to that nature – not REAL wood anyway – and the finish is coming off from using cleaning chemicals when kiddos & hubs make messes. I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for all the tips!

    • AWESOME idea!!! My table top IS wood, but has a huge water stain, and a subsequent iron burn from trying to remove the water stain!!! It’s also a reddish stain that is outdated…I’m gonna do mine with the ebony stain, and LARGE pieces of paper!!! I’m also thinking this will negate our need for a table pad and always worrying about hot dishes….I presume it won’t mark with heat after the poly is dry….but not 100% sure….

      Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Covering the table is a great idea ~ I’m gonna try it too! There must be plenty of things this treatment would be good for. Like cabinets!

  12. Hey Rachael ~ I just laid my paper onto a concrete floor last night & am very pleased with the overall look/color. But, even though I worked every piece by hand to try to remove any air, I have quite a few dried ridges/lumps. I’m not sure if I should leave them or just “Varathane” over them? Thanks!!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Rhonda- You can slice them open with a razor blade and try to re-adhere them if it bothers you. I had a few also but just poly-ed over them.

      • Thanks! Well, I did 2 coats of the poly, but have decided that the ridges that open to the end of a paper, will need to be repaired or they could really be a problem. I’ll do as you suggest, cut and re-adhere using a small artist’s brush. I’ll let you know how it works.

        • Well – I’m finally getting around to my concrete floor update…

          I started the cut/adhere process, but it was soooo time consuming that I just cheated a bit & focused on just securing the edges not removing all the pockets. Luckily for us, we like a bit of an imperfect / rustic feel!! Then I finished poly-ing (I have 12 coats)!!

          I have decided that the reason that my finished product is less than smooth is the fact that my sub-floor is concrete. All the examples I’ve seen on the internet were on a wooden sub-floor, so maybe the wood absorbed the glue/water mixture better. Anyway, the next space I try I’ll adjust the amount of glue I use AND use a squeegee.

          Nontheless…even with its imperfections it is still a bazillion times better than the carpet we took up and we LOVE it!!

          Thanks for the inspiration!

          • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention a discovery I made about my “Kraft” paper. I bought it at Home Depot & it was called EASY MASK BUILDER’S PAPER. It is a heavier paper (kind of like a grocery bag) and as I was tearing it into pieces, I thought I’d definitely buy a thinner paper next time because it would be easier to crumple. I also noticed that it had two distict different sides…one was a bit darker than the other. I made special effort to place the darker side to the concrete throughout the room since I wanted the lighter tan on top so I could stain it like everyone else did. That is NOT how it worked!! Even though the dark side was face down, that is the color that shows through. I did accidentally put the lighter side down on one piece and had to step away for a few minutes. When I came back it was noticably a tan color; far lighter than the rest of the floor! Ultimately, I did NOT have to stain my paper because it’s a pretty reddish brown color already, which blends perfectly with the red ceramic tile in the entryway!!! Needless to say, I’ll be sticking with this same paper on future floor projects!!!

            I had seen some color discrepancies on other webpages, but they didn’t know why those occurred. It’s very possible that they too used a paper with two distinctly different sides. :)

          • Hi, Did you do a basement floor? I am worried it will get moisture under the paper. my basment is very dry on the floor but I run a dehumidifier in the summer. thanks. I pulled out carpet it there was so much dirt under it!! I like the look and the price. Good day.

    • 2many580 says:

      Could you use a turkey baster to fix bubbles?

    • I have the floor down over old hospital type flooring and it looks great. i’m having an issue with the stain. when I apply the stain it will turn white and cloudy in places. did I must use to much glue I used 50-50. did I not let it dry long enough? (24 hours Louisiana humidity) or is it because I used new formula of Elmer’s glue? any ideas would be greatly appreciated. thank you!

      • Rachael Evans says:

        Hi Karen, I’m late on this I think…how is it looking today? I used 3:1 glue ratio, so I’m afraid I’m not sure what went wrong. What stain are you using?

  13. I’d like to do this in my kitchen which has older asphalt (I think) tile; looking for any pretreat info, plus how do I know whether the glue method or using the poly and paper only is right for my situation. Which Elmer’s glue are you using–white glue or glue all?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Leslie- I don’t know much about tile, I’d try the poly only method in a small area to test adhesion. I use white glue, but I doubt it will stick too well to tile.

  14. Tammy Preston says:

    Any thoughts on colored craft paper? Say “ocean” blue?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Tammy- My dad used red rosin paper (with the poly-only method since he had concrete subfloor) and he loves it!

  15. This is so awesome! I have applied the brown paper directly over my linoleum in a half bathroom using the same method (except for the stain) and it looks GREAT! It wasn’t hard at all….and very inexpensive. Thank you!!!

  16. I am waiting for the glue to dry on the stairs now. So far it looks awesome!!
    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome idea!

    • How was the prep work on the stairs? I did this treatment about 3 years ago on my concrete sub floor. It still liiks great and I love it. I am curious as to how well it works on wood subfloor.


  17. Hi! I LOVE this and going to do my great room ASAP! I have a question though, what filler did you use on your subfloor? Thanks for the Super idea!

  18. Has anyone done this over tile? If so did you have a problem with grout lines showing?

  19. What did you do to fill the gap between the bottom of your baseboards and the floor? If I remove the flooring I have now, the bottom of the baseboards will not be flush with the floor any longer. Advice?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Taylor- You can attach quarter round to the bottom of the baseboard and that should cover the gap. I’ve started doing this in my master and the hallway.

  20. I have some walls that are in bad shape. They are not horrible, but not smooth like walls should be and regular paint on them looks awkward. Could this be a solution?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Oh definitely! I would smooth out what you can, and just go right over top. Any roughness will probably add some nice texture to the overall look! :)

    • I have done a wall with tissue paper and glued it to be wrinkled – to give the wall texture. this would solve your imperfect wall problem, and it looks amazing. i use Mod Podge – not elmers… glue, paper, and glue on top… then add wall paint – i did mine in a “champagne” metallic. it is the most talked about accent in my home – even over my glass mosaic stairs!

  21. This is so awesome….i have to try this!

  22. My sister did the poly only method on a bathroom wall. It looks great. I never thought about doing it on a floor. Gorgeous!

  23. I saw this on Pinterest. I absolutely love it! I am in desperate need on a new kitchen floor and I want to do this, but the hubs doesn’t want to take the time. Hoping he will keep putting it off and I will do this while he is gone to basic training next year.

  24. had random white spots after drying overnight. Any ideas what caused it – glue puddles, air bubbles, etc?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Starla- I’m not sure what happened, I’ve never seen that before. Did you use Elmer’s white glue?

      • I had that issue, and discovered it was from the spackle I had used to fill the imperfections in the floor with. As I was applying the paper with my hands, plus the wet glue/water mixture, it just smeared some of it before it dried. I also had an issue near my walls a couple of times. The “crumbs” from the wallboard liquified in the glue/water mix and made white spots or smears. I ended up papering over them for fear of them picking up the stain differently. That fixed the problem.

  25. I originally saw this technique done in a magazine too. It was back in the 90′s. I am thinking it was in a Southern Living Magazine for a cabin. I am considering doing this in a room that the wood floors are bad grade of wood and separating. I will caulk them first where needed. Thanks for the tutorial. There are a number of us discussing this on my FB wall right now.
    Kelly on FB

  26. I love this idea!! We are adding on a mud room/laundry room to our home this spring and this will save tons of money on flooring!! Thanks for the great idea!!

  27. Sheila Lunski says:

    Love this idea. I have seen this done on boxes, vases, etc. Never dreamed you could do this to a floor. I have a beautiful little potting shed that is MY SPACE! Think I will do this to the floor and shelves. Thank you for jarring my imagination.

  28. Angie Williams says:

    Hi all, I really want to do this in my basement over the concrete subfloor. I have two questions. Can I do this with in floor heat (Wirsbo)? And how would I remove it if I need to?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Angie- I would not recommend this for use with in floor heating. Removal would involve a lot of sanding and scraping…I would just lay replacement flooring right over top (we are planning to upgrade to hardwood to match the downstairs eventually and I will not be removing the paper floor).

      • I was working on putting the brown paper on my basement floor using the poly-paper-poly method, but it is not sticking. What could I be doing wrong?

        • rachaelevans says:

          Donna, what kind of poly are you using?

          • Pro Finishers Oil based Poly for floors-professional grade

          • rachaelevans says:

            I have only used water based poly, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work….you have cement floors? Are you brushing the poly on the floor and dunking the paper?

          • I brushed the poly on the concrete then I tried it both ways(dipping the paper and dry) Neither one wanted to adhere. I brushed the poly on top, but the edges kept coming up and the centers kept coming up even after I smooth it out. Not sure if the concrete is too cool or If I should try the glue method instead.

          • Use 50/50 glue and water. We did that on our concrete floor almost 3 years ago. It still looks great. After it dries, poly.

  29. I’m just wondering about the removal process on plywood and also on concrete. I need to know simply because my landlord gave me permission but I need to inform him if there would be any difficulty in doing such later on. His floors are terrible and this would be an awesome fix. Also can you do this on cabinets, cause that would be tremendous?

    • Also I see a picture of the main stairwell and in the light it looks like you may have used a different stain. If so what was the color because that is just gorgeous!

    • rachaelevans says:

      I wouldn’t attempt to remove it, it would involve a lot of sanding and scraping. Generally speaking one of the advantages of this flooring is that you could put pretty much anything right over top (with proper prep of course). I’ve seen it on walls, so you could probably do it on cabinets as well, just add a sealer like you would on the floors because of the heavy use.

  30. This looks great! With all the steps involved, I can hardly believe you did nearly a whole house!

  31. This looks great! With the number of steps involved, I can hardly believe you did nearly your entire house!

  32. With so many steps to the process, I can hardly believe you did almost an entire house! It looks great!

  33. Thank you!! I love this flooring option. Thanks for working so hard to get us all of this information. I hopped over to the Oregon Cottage and saw she had a lot of issues with it wrinkling after glueing. Did you have this happen too? I feel like dunking the paper in the glue would really help. Also maybe using a plastic putty scraper on it? THANKS!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Jackie- I didn’t have too much problem with wrinkling, but from what I’ve heard typically the wrinkles disappear after drying. I do dunk my paper in glue.

  34. Hannah Wemitt says:

    Well, we just completed our basement! Concrete floors in January made for a cold and difficult task, but it worked out great! We did have to use a 50/50 glue mix for a better grip on the floor, and we had a lot of problems with wrinkling, a lot are still there but we gave it a week to set and a lot of them did go away. We will just have to live with the wrinkles that are there. We used oil based stain and oil based poly and while Oregon Cottage mentioned oil spots, we had no problems. It’s so hard to know what will happen with your floors until you are doing it! My husband was REALLY skeptical about it in the beginning, but he lovingly gave in to my crazy and we did 650 square feet, and he’s in love with it!!

  35. Channinge says:

    My house has old, real hardwood floors..will this work over the top of them? It would be way to much to pull up these floors

  36. My daughter and I did this at her house years ago, only we did it on the wall. It looks like a leather patched wall. We stained the paper first, before applying it.

  37. Has anyone tried this with white paper, like butcher paper or something?

    • Sue Flaming says:

      Be careful, true butcher paper is waxed on one side and it may not stick! You may be able to find rolls of craft paper, make sure they are not wax coated.

    • Dorothye58 says:

      I did mine with White paper from Amazon. It worked great.

  38. I love this idea, for over a year i was trying to decide on a floor to cover the old 50′s linoleum tiles in my kitchen. after bugging the hubby for only one day. i started doing my floor! However, i am very concerned about putting my kitchen table back on the floor. I have this horrible fear that i am going to put my table back in place and next time i go to move it, it is just going to rip up an entire part of my floor! How long did you wait until you put furniture back in the rooms? I also have 2 dogs and 2 small kids that have been locked out of the kitchen for days! Thanks for the awesome idea!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Beth- I waited 24 hours, but really if there is enough poly on it, it shouldn’t rip up. You can scratch it- like hardwood-so I put felt feet on all my furniture. Honestly you have to try pretty hard to scratch it, I’ve found it to be really durable (we have a large dog and 3 cats).

    • Beth,
      You said you did it on linoleum tiles? Did you have to change any of the steps in the original process? And how has your floor held up?

  39. Thank you!!! I followed your wonderful instructions and I’m so happy with my new floor!

  40. I absolutely LOVE this!! I would love to do it everywhere in my home but my husband will not go for that.. BUT I do have a craft room and I was looking to replace the flooring in there.. I think its going to be a GREAT way to show my creativity! Thank you for posting :)

  41. Linda Downard says:

    currently doing my batroom floors in this treatment, i have some brands that i cut out of roll of wallpaper i have going to place cow brands in the last coats to give it more of western look, will take pictures to post on how this looks, also going to do my counter tops in this treatment, thanks for posting this great moneysaveing idea thinking of all kinds of projects to do. thank you cowgirl in oklahoma

  42. Linda Downard says:

    also useing feed sacks cut picture out of cows to go in front of commode. cowgirl in oklahoma

  43. I love this idea, though, my question is, did you manage to cover the whole floor and poly it all at once, or do you think it would be possible to do this in sections? I have huge living room furniture that doesn’t have anywhere to go for storage.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Kate- I did whole rooms at a time, but it is possible to do smaller areas. It’s a little bit more difficult when you’re using stain, but if you leave a jagged edge and try to place the seam under a rug/furniture/other large item you should be fine. I have 3 seams where the hallway meets all of the rooms upstairs, and it’s not that noticeable IMO.

  44. Has anyone tried this process on outdoor concrete? If so, how did it hold up?

    • rachaelevans says:

      I haven’t heard from anyone who has, but I’d only try it if it was a covered patio…and even then it’d have to really not get wet at all. But that’s just my opinion!

  45. I just saw this wonderful idea and have purchased everything I need to get started. I live in a log home that we built ourselves and have a bonus room floor and a basement ceiling I need to do something with. I am so excited to get started. I was wondering if anyone had ever colored the glue mixture before dipping the paper? I wanted to do the basement ceiling red, but don’t like the idea of painting over my head especially with carpet on the floor. My thought was to tint the glue mixture with a little red paint before putting it up. Any thoughts on this?

  46. I love this and have purchased everything I need to get started. I live in a log home that we built ourselves, and we are out of money to finish up some of the little things that need done. This is the perfect solution. I have a bonus room floor and a basement ceiling and support beams to do. Since our home is pretty much all wood, I was going to do the basement ceiling with faux tin tiles and paint them a brick red. However, I think this will look much better and I know the cost is far less!!! My question is this…Has anyone ever tinted the glue before dipping the paper? I was thinking of adding a little paint color to the glue so I could have the red tint that I want. Painting a ceiling does not excite me in the least since I have carpet on the floor. Any advice??

    • Sorry, I posted my comment twice. I made several attempts at posting and it wasn’t taking. Please disregard the second post.

  47. I love this treatment! It’s brilliant, cheap, and looks awesome -especially since there are so many options to really make it your own. Thank you for posting this guide. :) I’ve done it on my wall with printed photos ( , and I just did it on my basement stairs (

    We are finishing our basement, and I am going to do this with wrapping paper in my new craft room. I’m so excited to see how it turns out. If it works well on that concrete subfloor, I’m going to try it on my concrete front porch!

  48. I have hardwood flooring. WOuld i just put this right over my hardwood?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Star- I don’t typically recommend doing this over hardwood 1) because I’d trade my paper for hardwood any day and 2) the paper will not hide the spaces between planks.

      • Thanks for such a great tutorial! We just followed your instructions to paper over a terribly bashed up hardwood floor in our house. It’s not possible to refinish the floor at this time (possibly at all), and we thought this would be a great alternative. The way we kept the planks from showing was to do 2 layers of paper. The first layer definitely still showed the planks, but the second layer is totally smooth. It’s more work, but in this case we feel it made a stronger and better flooring.

  49. Really gorgeous! Looks like a LOT of work but what a beautiful result.

  50. This is terrific. So glad I discovered your site. I’d like to try a light, antique white maybe, finish for my shabby chic bedroom. Would I need to use oil based paint?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Jan-I’d experiment with a regular acrylic paint “white wash” on some samples. If possible, avoid oil-it’s really stinky and hard to clean!

  51. I am wanting to use this technique to cover my ugly formica backsplash in my kitchen. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • rachaelevans says:

      I haven’t done a counter surface before, but I would suggest sanding the formica very well. Make sure the glue/water mixture sticks first- you may need to use poly instead. Good luck!

  52. Thanks for the inspiration and the instructions. I am making the final run today to finish purchasing all of the needed items. Now that the time is here, I’m getting a little nervous :) I hope mine turns out as well as yours did!!

    Thanks again!!
    (Found you through Pinterest ;)
    -Shannon Norman

  53. I used this technique 14 years ago on the walls in my laundry room. Holds up extremely well, easy to wipe down. I still receive compliments on how great it looks.

  54. Hey :) thanks for this! We were about to do the floor in the livingroom, but I just found out I’m preggo. So now money is tight. So I had a thought of cutting the paper into rectangles like hardwood. Have any thoughts?

  55. I pinned this months ago and I think it’s finally time to start! I am only doing the stairs to my basement. Sorry if this has been asked already (I didn’t see it though), did you apply the paper to the face of the stairs/risers or just wrap it around the bullnose of the stairs? Hope that makes sense! Thanks!

  56. If you’re having trouble with the stain remaining tacky, you might want try wood dye instead. It should dry completely, as it is water or alcohol based instead of oil based. You could also use a pigmented poly instead of clear poly. Best of luck!

  57. Hi Rachael!
    Thank you for your response to my comment on one of your other posts about the gap between the stairs and the skirt board. I’ll be working on that later.
    My wife and I did half of our hallway and every other stair two weeks ago. Last week we did the other half and every other stair and it went perfectly well until it was time for the stain. Apparently we did not stir the stain well enough because the color came out very differently. Here is a link to my blog post about it and you can see what we’ve done:
    We decided to repaper the entire half of the hallway that the color did not come out and we used poly to adhere the paper because it was on top of poly’d floor. This time when we applied the stain, it came out streaky and much darker than the other half. We don’t know what we’re doing wrong.
    How have you matched different floors coming together?
    At this point we’re thinking we will need to tear up what we’ve put down on the second half and sand it down and start over with paper/glue combo instead. Do you have any thoughts?
    Have you ever stained OVER stained and poly’d paper? Would the stain even take do you think?
    As always, thank you. I hope my mistake will help others! We’re all learning as we go I guess!!!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Hi there! I’m so sorry it’s not going smoothly…it is difficult to try and split up areas. I think probably at this point it might be best to take some 120-150 grit and sand the area, then use the glue mixture to lay new paper…if it’s easier to tear it up though I might go that route and start fresh. I do not think the stain will penetrate the poly. Repairs can be tricky, fortunately I have never had to do any (I think it’s more straightforward without stain). Where my hallway meets all three rooms there is a subtle difference because they were all done at different times. I basically applied the stain by hand in these areas, using a rag to match the color as best as I could. I wish I could be of more help! Let me know what you decide to do.

      • Thanks so much. We tried the sanding route and in the end decided to rip it all up which was NOT easy. At all. I would recommend to always try an alternative route rather than rip it up, but it’s done now and we will start again next weekend on that half. I think that applying the stain VERY carefully will be the trick. I will certainly let you know how it turns out when it’s finished.

        I think our problem was applying the stain to the pieces that were poly’d down. If we had wiped it off as we went, I don’t think we would have had this problem. All I can say is that we are learning what not to do for the next project!

  58. Cheryl Bruette says:

    So, I am thinking of doing a headboard in this. It should last awhile don’t you think? I would get the plywood and then do this same technique on the plywood. I think it would be different but yet cool!

  59. I love you floors! I’ve been coveting them for months now, and I think I am finally ready to tackle this in my own home. Just have one question though. When working one room at a time how did you stop in doorways, etc so that once you had them all done it looks seamless? For example, the picture of your hallway going into a bedroom? I’m planning to do most of my main level. I have an open floor plan and included will be; kitchen, breakfast nook, hallway, entryway, bathroom and laundry room. The space is just to big to do all at once and still live in our house :) Any tips for breaking this into smaller projects would be great! Thanks!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Jen- Anytime you want to stop, I suggest leaving a jagged paper edge, and after you stain everything, only poly till about 3″ from your edge. It probably won’t be perfect (mine isn’t…) but if you use rugs or try to plan it around furniture you won’t notice the breaks! Good luck!

      • Thanks Rachel! I’m planning to do this over my existing white vinyl flooring, and I think I will use the 50/50 mix to make sure it adheres well to the vinyl. Any suggestions there? I’m also not sure if I should remove all the floor trim before starting and what to do around doors where the vertical trim reaches the floor. I’m afraid that if I try to remove the door trim it will break. It already has in a couple of places we’ve had to remove it for other reasons….Not trying to replace all the trim in my house! LOL! One last question…I’m assuming that you can walk on the paper after the glue has dried but before the stain and poly without causing any damage?

        • rachaelevans says:

          I think the 50/50 should do it- you might want to rough up the vinyl with some sandpaper too. I wouldn’t both removing the trim…you can use the straight edged pieces of paper from the roll to go right up to it. Just tape it off so it doesn’t get all gluey, then you can stain and poly without worry as well. You can walk on the dried paper, but I try to avoid it. I would wear socks only and tiptoe if you need to get across. Good luck!

  60. Jodi Secret says:

    We just bought a house and we are carpeting the house which is going to take up a lot of money. I was trying to think of a low cost way to do something with the kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms but couldn’t come up with anything so I said I’ll just leave it till next year when we remodel those rooms…not anymore! Now I have a way to make it look nice until we pull up the floor to remodel next year. Thank you so much for the great idea! And if I like it too much I might just have to keep it!

  61. If you get a chance would you please answer my previous question…
    Did you apply the paper to the face of the stairs (the risers) or just wrap it around the bullnose of the stairs? Thanks!

  62. I did this on my kitchen floors a few years ago and I’m still smitten with it! It is still so durable and beautiful. The best part is that they are warmer underfoot than any other hard material I’ve ever seen, even warmer than cork! I just wanted to chirp in and say that I did mine with all poly and no glue, but only because we were doing a smallish area. When I colored mine I did it with acrylic paint mixed into the second topcoat of poly. I did this because I wanted to darken it up and give it a slight metallic sheen.
    Your floors are truly beautiful! Great job!

    • Liliedale: I would love to see a photo of your floor! Is that possible? I have a huge kitchen (open-floor plan on this level) and it would be so much easier if I didn’t have to stain and glue too! Staying out of the kitchen is going to be one of my biggest challenges here, not sure how that’s going to happen.

    • Do you have pictures posted of your floors? I would love to see them!

  63. HELP!!!

    I have started this on cement floor and it is getting super wrinkled. Will this go away or should I change something up? I am using the glue mixture suggested in the instructions. I have been painting the floor, putting down paper, then painting the floor again (by painting I mean glue).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Andrea- If you smoothed the paper out well during the application process, most of the wrinkles will disappear after the floor is dry. You may still have a few stubborn ones though. How does it look now?

      • They smoothed out a lot! New problem tho… I just put stain on it and all the edges of the papers look darker than the rest of the floor. It hasn’t dried yet but it looks funny. Thanks for the quick reply!!!

        • rachaelevans says:

          Andrea- The edges around each piece or the edge of the room? The paper absorbs stain based on how much glue was used, the amount of layers in any given area, and other random properties of the paper makeup I’m sure. It’s kind of like wood grain- how some of the knots looks darker and such. My floor has variations as well (the edges of the pieces are very pronounced, but I think it adds to the overall character of the floor. What type/color stain did you use?

  64. The floors are stunning! You have probably answered this, but I have original (beat up) oak floors in the living and dining room. Can I apply this to those floors? Also, what tips do you have for the stiars? Thanks!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Thanks Trisha! If I had wood floors upstairs in my house, I would refinish them instead of doing the brown paper treatment…but that’s just me. I’d be cautious about proceeding because 1) it is not pleasant to remove, so if you think you may ever want to refinish the oak I would just hold off 2) I’m not sure how the paper will look over planks…you may be able to see all the cracks or imperfections. New or engineered wood floors might be fine (ours downstairs are very smooth and tight together), but if you have deep knots or large gaps you would have to fill all those first before laying paper. For the stairs, I only used the paper on the tread (the part you step on) and painted the risers. I did every other stair so that we could still use them while I was working. Hope that helps!

  65. Good Job! That was quite an undertaking! Beautiful!

  66. I did this on my bathroom floor in my last house, lived there for 10 years and the floor was still going strong when I sold the house! I threw a fresh coat of poly on it after about the 7th year but that is the only extra I ever did. LOVE IT!!!

  67. I would like to try this over linoleium flooring in dogs room. Think it would be stong enough to hold up to doggie paws? Throw carpet would be covering most of the room. Hoping that it would work. Any thoughts?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Diana- I think if you prep the linoleium right (clean it well, light sanding, filling any gaps or repairing any peeling areas) it would definitely work. I have a dog myself and our floor has held up well. There are a few scratches from crazy play, but nothing abnormal (it’s similar to the wear on our hardwoods downstairs). Especially with a carpet, you’ll be fine!

  68. The floor looks wonderful, and seems to be improving with age. I have done the same thing with my stairwell walls, my paper came from paper grocery bags, which I used a mocha glaze to finish. We love the leather look.

  69. Cathy Farrington says:

    Hi, just a quick question: when you did the stairs, did you do the risers also, or did you paint them? Love the look, def want to try.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Cathy, the risers are just painted (now they are covered in embossed wallpaper actually). Hope that helps!

  70. I just did my floor in my spare bedroom. I love how it turned out but I have a lot of “wrinkles”. Any idea why I have so many wrinkles and how to prevent it next time?

  71. Has anyone ever tried this on paneling? I was wondering if it would work!!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Cristen- If the paneling has deep grooves, they would show underneath the paper unless you fill them. Generally this is best for flat/smooth surfaces.

      • I agree, I did this over my lenoleum (spelling) and I can see the design of the squares through the paper bag flooring.

  72. Has anyone tried this on paneling?

  73. OK, I have been working on this over the past for days. I made some mistakes. First mistake( which was the biggest) was changing my glue mixture. I started with 2:1 and it gave me this dark crackly lovely finish that would not need to be stained. Then goofed up and mixed up the 3:1 mixture I thought was using. This gave me the more peanutbutter smooth look, great for staining. Two very different looks. I would have been happy with either look, not both. I chose to patch the smooth side with the 2:1 glued paper. The Stained ( because we wanted to see how the stain behaved on this) and now I have a cobble stone look because the stain really stuck to the 2:1 pieces more. I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but it frustrated me greatly. I will poly today and make my piece with it. I’ll have the process perfect for when I do another room. :-)

    • Okay, I have made my ‘peace with it! Floor actually turned out very nice after 5 coats of poly. So glad I did this! Thank you for taking the time to share all your wisdom! Next floor I do will probably be the 2:1 mixture with no stain. Really like the crackles in it and variation of color. I can see where i used ‘glue hands’ to tear paper. The hand print dried before applied to the floor. When i stained they popped out! Could be done purposefully with a stencil to create a design? Just a thought! Thanks again!

  74. Charlotte Allen says:

    This tutorial is so detailed and well-written that I want you to come to my house and rewrite the instructions and directions on everything I’m ever fixin’ to do!! I remember tearing jagged pieces of masking tape and sticking them on a wine bottle and staining it to look like leather in camp one summer back in the late 70′s. My parents probably still have that crazy old bottle and are going to get a good laugh when I suggest doing this treatment to my teenage son’s bedroom floor! :D

  75. I was wondering if you could use tissue paper with this? My sub-floor is painted white, and I wanted to put scraps of colored paper over it. Do you think this will work? Pam

    • rachaelevans says:

      Pamiam…I’m not sure, it’s worth a shot to try it on a piece of scrap wood to see! Let me know if you try it!

  76. I did this is my kitchen, dining room and bathroom. I LOVE the overall look but after having this in my home for 3-4 months I can clearly see that I will need to replace it very quicky. Reason being is that there are scratches everywhere that are very obvious. The scratches look white, like its the glue lifting off the paper. We are not rough on our house but I do have a 3 year old and a 8 month old so we do have everyday wear and tear. I have the fabric floor protectors under all objects that are of the floor (chairs and table) I also have cloudy spots on the floor as well. I used stain and in most places the color really took and in a few either the stain didn’t take well or the glue and polyurethane did take well. I want to say it was the polyurethan because it had plenty of stain on it and looked like the rest of the floor before the polyurethane went on. It almost looks like there is a layer of spilt milk on the floor. We used brown carptenters paper from Home Deopt, elmers glue/water mixture, Minwax stain, oil based (special walnut) and waterbased polyurethane made by PRO finisher (12 layers)Any help would be much appreciated.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Meg- sounds like the same method and materials I used, the milkiness can be cause by applying the layers of poly too thick or not letting it dry enough in between coats. That could also be the reason it’s scratching so easily.

  77. my question is this, has anyone had to redo this, and what was necessary for it, and how did it turn out? i love, love, love this! but my thought is for future, what if it gets to a point of needing to be redone? i have 4 kids, i know nothing lasts forever!

  78. Forgive me if you’ve already answered this question, but I was wondering how long you have to wait between coats of poly? Twelve coats sounds like it would require a lot of drying time!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Cheryll- It depends on the type of poly you use (it will say on the can), but it can be pretty long :( I used a fast dry water based poly which helped! But yes, it’s a time consuming project, although CHEAP as far as flooring options go!

  79. I found your site through Pinterest. I have to say your floors look AMAZING!! I just recently put wood floors throughout my house, but I still need to do something in the bathroom, so I might give it a go in there. I hope to completely re-do it in a couple years, so if the paper doesn’t last in there as long it won’t matter. THANK YOU for the wonderful information!!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Angela- Thank you so much for stopping by! Good luck with your bathroom, you should be able to knock that out pretty quickly!

  80. Lori Lamb says:

    Hey there! We’ve chatted before, via email. I have another question. I decided not to stain once we got the paper down..we loved the color. I put the first layer of poly on and it dried kind of with a shimmery powdery look? Anyway, I sanded lightly and it really looks powdery now…is it supposed to look like that? I’m going to put my second poly on now…hoping the high gloss will start to develop…what are your thoughts…did I miss something and doing it wrong? thanks!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Hi Lori! Refresh my memory, what poly are you using? Are you applying it with a brush or a mop pad?

      • Lori Lamb says:

        I’m using the Varathane no odor Floor Finish High Traffic Formula Fast Drying Water Based Crystal Clear Semi Gloss. I couldn’t find the kind you used, but saw where others had used this and had good results. I just got home and opened my front door to see how this mornings run went. It looks like someone spread powder over it in many places….a rug won’t cut it. My husband think we need to sand it down more over those areas (i sanded lightly after the first round) I’m only on the 2nd coat…really hoping it will shine pretty soon. It is right in my front entry way with sunshine. Help! I want to do my kitchen next, and it has a 10 foot bay window…lots of light! How do I fix the powder look?

        • rachaelevans says:

          Hmmm… did you do this on subfloor? The only thing I can think of is that maybe the glue/plaster on the subfloor seeped through the paper and is showing up as a white powdery substance. I’m not sure how to fix it unfortunately…if you sand really well you may be able to improve it, but make sure you vacuum up all the dust. Sorry I can’t be of more help, it may be that I have the same problem but because I used stain it covered it. I’ve never done a large area with the plain paper.

  81. I did this on about 800 square feet. Instead of Elmer’s, I used a waterproof glue (Tightbond II), and added Minwax to the glue water mix. So my mix was 1/2 glue, 1/4 Minwax, and 1/4 water. This dried in a few hours. When it dried, the color was color-fast, which I did not find to be the case in my test runs using non-waterproof glue, and it could be polyed with oil-based poly as a result. So five layers of oil-based poly later, and it is holding up strong in a light-use commercial application. Swiffer wet floor cleaners seem to work best for me. Oh, I also used red rosin paper instead of brown paper. It added a slight hint of red undertones, like a cherry wood.

    • Janet Wood says:

      Anne, what type of light commercial are you referring to? Do you have any pictures available? I love the “color” idea but would like to see an example.


  82. I would like to do this to over my kitchen counter in the brown, any advice other than scratching it up first? I’m thinking smaller sections of paper would look better? Do you know of any poly’s that are extra water resistant? My bathroom is charcoal/lavender… any suggestions for a gray version?

    • rachaelevans says:

      For superior water protection you could venture into oil based or marine sealer. It would be stinky, but may hold up better on a counter. For gray you could try mixing craft paint with water and sort of glazing it. I’d give it a try on a scrap piece of plywood to see if you can mix up a color you like. After the paper/glue dries, apply the paint glaze and let it dry, then apply poly. Hope that helps!

  83. Is there other paper you can use other than brown? Like if you wanted it to have a blue flooring? I would like to do this in my bathroom but i don’t really want a “hardwood” look about it

    • rachaelevans says:

      I know of only red rosin paper that comes on a roll like the brown, but if you found an art supply store they might have other color paper.

  84. Teresa Janecki says:

    Did I read correctly? TWELVE coats of poly???

    • rachaelevans says:

      Teresa- Yes, 12 :) If you want long term durability that is what I recommend, but I know people who have had satisfactory results with less.

  85. Agelessnvegas says:

    I’d like to report for those who are working with a concrete floor, that after much research on the Brown paper floor. I finally broke down and did mine. I took it very slow in ripping out my carpet, and tack strips, patching the holes with Dap concrete patch ( super easy ) cleaning the floor with Tsp. I used 10 cups water with 6 cups glue, and it worked beautifully. I now need to stain, then water base poly, when I’m finished I will link my pics, but here is what I’ve done so far..

    • Agelessnvegas, I LOVE your floor! I would like to try this on my concrete basement floors, and was wondering what type of glue, paper, stain/color you used…also how many coats of poly, and did you sand between coats?

  86. We want to do this in our bathroom.. but i am worried about a few things.
    Being its a bathroom.. it would need to be pretty water proof.. which poly should i use? Its also our only bathroom.. so the faster drying would be better.. would the water based poly be waterproof enough to use in a bathroom?
    We would be putting it over vinyl flooring… what glue mixture whould you recommend? The 50/50? But what will the floor texture/staining be with the 50/50 glue mixture?
    Thanks so much for any help.
    Also just wanted to add that your floors are beautiful!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Wendy- I’ve never done it in a bathroom, but what you could do is use the fast dry water based for most of your coats, then put some oil based on top. As for adhesion, unfortunately you’ll probably have to do some testing on your own in a small corner. I would think 50/50 would work, but I can’t speak to how the stain will behave. Generally the glue is what darkens the paper, so more glue might mean your stain would turn out darker in the creases than in my version. I would get a piece of scrap linoleum and try out some different glue/water ratios + stain (that’s how I determined my method). Hope that helps!

  87. OK, the only part that really confuses me is why do you wad up the paper, dunk it in the glue mixture and then flatten it out on the floor? I am thinking about doing this on an old kitchen linoleum and this sounds like the dream answer for us! We just redid our counters and cabinets all on our own. The color of the paper would look great too with the room.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Shawna- The wadding creates the wrinkles, whether you dunk and wad or wad then dunk doesn’t really matter. Hope that helps!

  88. I completely love this concept. However, I had issues with the paper where I had to start and stop glueing to take a break. It took 22 hours to do the entire area and so I had no choice but to start and stop in a couple spots. We decided to test an area with just poly to see how it looked and one with stain since it a spot that will be covered by a cabinet. Well, the paper part with just poly on it has absolutely none of the crinkling showing. When the floor was drying you could see all the definition of crinkling, but without stain it is just a flat color it seems. Is there a reason that happened? Will the spots where I start and stopped blend better with a single coat of stain over the whole area at once? We’re suppose to move to the next step tomorrow and just want to be sure before I stain. But it is an extremely great floor over what has been there, just want it to look great. Thanks

    • It has crinkle texture show but nothing like your sample on the stairs. It might be a thicker paper we used. Not sure. But still worried about spots where I started and stopped. Wish I had used the 2:1 glue ratio. More texture in that spot. Have to patch it though. Pretty obvious. But definitely wondering if you had spots that you could tell where you started and stopped and if it blended with the stain for a more even coloration look. Thanks Again.

      • rachaelevans says:

        Mary- from what I can tell based on some things others have said, more glue= more defined wrinkle lines. But, I also think that sometimes when people use more glue that it effects the way the stain goes on (blotchy, uneven, etc). So I would be aware of that when you are staining. Starting and stopping the stain is not a perfect process, I blend the areas with a small brush like where all my rooms meet my hallway (which was done first), but it’s not seamless. I wouldn’t say it’s very noticeable though.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Mary- It could be that there wasn’t enough wrinkling/dunking/squeezing during the application. I squeezed my pieces into pretty tight pieces before applying. But generally, the stain will bring out the lines more than poly alone. If you decide to stain, yes it is better if you do the whole area at once if possible.

      • I had definitely planned on doing the stain all at once, but the papering was such a big job, I had to stop and start back a couple of times. There is tons of crinkle and so with the Early American stain it should be a great bold texture . She loved the sample of the crinkling with the stain area she did under the cabinet. So I’m hoping once she puts the stain on the whole floor tomorrow those areas where I started and stoped with the glue will stand out less with all the other crinkle being bold. I also mentioned that with the room stripped bare all of that would be more obvious to us because we know it’s there. So onward. Thanks for answering so quickly.

        • Serious issues with ashy polyurethane. Some came out absolultely beautiful, and others just horrible problems with ashy poly. I’ve only done one coat, but ended up resanding a ton when I was sanding the whole floor. The poly goes on great and then dries horrible in those places. They seem to be improving, but I just don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I’ve been working on this floor for 3 weeks. Is the first coat just horrible looking in some spots? Or do I need to get them sanded down to a much more clear coat first finish.

          • rachaelevans says:

            Mary- What poly are you using? I find I get the best results with VERY thin coats of poly. How are you applying it?

          • I did a thin coat. But I am concerned that some paper patches I had done before staining for my friends comfort level with the crinkling look, may not have been dry underneath when I stained it. The other paper had sat 2 weeks. So now I’m needing to sand off those spots and letting them dry and hope for the best. I’m working on 5×5 foot square sections at a time this weekend to get the best restults. When I put the stain on those patches the first time they stained extremely dark and that should have been a sign their was something wrong. The patching was a mistake, and she realizes that now, but it is improving a little. I sanded the whole floor down and now she’s concerned it won’t shine again and says it is a little ashy looking. I told her that takes coats to replace that shine we had in those spots now that we’ve messed with it. So I’ll work on it tomorrow. It’s been so dry here that it actually is drying too fast. Within minutes. I used your recommended products for everything but the applicator. It is horrible and I may switch to hand applying all of it with a natural bristle brush. Can’t be any worse than this horrible applicator. I’ve learned, complete papering all at once, maintain glue mixture ratio, let it dry a long time, and don’t patch without letting it dry for the same amount of time. The first layer underneath gets wet and doesn’t get dried as quickly as the top does. :D I read that mineral spirits and some kind of alcohol will help the poly come off to allow those spots to breathe and rmove the moisture trapped underneath and so I’ll let you know what happens.

          • rachaelevans says:

            Yeah I think the problems probably started from the bottom. The paper does need to be dry before applying the stain, you will see a big difference in how it goes on otherwise. I think you will get the shine with subsequent coats. I actually prefer to apply stain with a rag and poly with a brush, but in larger areas it just makes more sense to use the mop unfortunately. But you have so much more control with rag/brush I think. I actually just did my mom’s bathroom last night and loved going back to my small area method. Keep pressing on, you live and learn, right?

          • Well, I think with all the problems we may decide to repaper over the whole thing in larger pieces. Is our best bet to paper over a good coat of dried poly? It is so beautiful in so many areas that we love it. However, the white issue just is becoming overwhelming. We have 3 days but not weeks any more. This time it will be two of us doing it and getting it papered in one day. And stay on schedule with staining and poly with a brush this time. It will take us a while, but it will get the first coat on the way we want. Right now we just keep back peddling.

          • Wow, what a ride. We ended up having to scrub the entire room over twice with denatured alcohol. The poly was applied too thin and the air too dry. We ended up with a flash dry problem. We finally ended up putting a coat of poly on with brushes on all 520 square feet and made sure it was thick enough to look like a light layer of milk on the floor and it is GORGEOUS! So, too little poly is as dangerous as too much. What a long month it has been since we started. But, we now see the end in sight.

            So in the end,
            if you have to prime your subfloor with exterior primer paint, and then paper all at once so fillers and things don’t bleed through..
            Make sure your glue mixture ratio is always the same.
            Make sure to let it dry at least 24 hours and don’t patch and repatch after glued paper dries, it changes the look completely and can stain differently even if you stain it all at once.
            Stain and let it dry 72 hours as directed on the can.
            Poly thick enough so it takes the 2 hours to dry. If not it will dry too fast and scrape right off.
            We have learned so much. But we absolutely love it.

  89. I actually did this method, BUT, on walls!
    I just love it..our mud room and my craft room look wonderful :-)

  90. Thosecrazypounders says:

    I started putting my stain down today and Im STRESSED!!!!!! I also got the minwax dark walnut. When you put it down was it almost completely black looking? Im hoping that it dries lighter. Its been a few hours I hope it does or I will have a black floor. sigh.

    • rachaelevans says:

      The dark walnut is pretty dark, but did you stir the stain or have it shaken at the desk? That is really critical to even pigment. You can also wipe off the excess after you apply, and that might help.

      • thosecrazypounders says:

        I let it sit overnight hoping it would lighten up because by that point it was too late to wipe because it was starting to get tacky. I want it to be dark (like yours) just not almost black with no veining. Its still tacky this morning. Do you think using mineral spirits on it would help?

        • rachaelevans says:

          I wouldn’t use mineral spirits, I’d be afraid it would degrade the paper. I’m not sure why you’re getting such a dark result though. What did you use to apply it?

          • Thosecrazypounders says:

            So I figured I would try the mineral spirits because it was still almost black. I figured if it messed up we would just repaper it. It actually looks really good. Almost like a medium shaded cork. Im pretty sore from all the scrubbing but thought I would post a follow up in case someone else ran into the same issue as me. Im guessing the problem came from my floor being concrete and Im down south so its super humid. But come monday almost 1100 sqft will be done!!!

          • rachaelevans says:

            Great to hear!! Man that is twice the size of the area I did. Take pics when you’re done!

  91. Can you do this outside on a covered patio??

    • rachaelevans says:

      Staci- is the patio concrete? Is it exposed at all (like could rain blow in sideways?) I’d be hesitant to do it outside at all, but it’s cheap enough to try if you feel like gambling. It could look great for several years and then need to be redone. I’m not sure unfortunately :( But let me know if you do try it!!

  92. What a cool project! Anyone know how easy/difficult this is to remove?? I’m mainly interested in trying it on a wall, just wondering how you’d remove it, if you ever wanted to.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Donna- I don’t imagine it would be easy to remove. On the wall, you might try applying it with wallpaper paste rather than glue. Hope that helps!

  93. Hi Rachael!

    So, question about transitions from the paper floors to the raised vinyl rooms or rooms with tile floors? From your pics it looks like you used a casing type transition from the bathroom to hallway? I want to have a gradual transition that I don’t feel immediately since we’re going to be doing the paper floors in the kitchen too next. I found these things called “carpet shim” online, which would fit the bill awesomely, but I added up how much it’d cost to do just the downstairs with them and it came to almost $200. Was considering using thinset and creat a ramp. Are you just dealing with a bump type transition for the rooms that have elevated flooring?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Kim…I just used plain transitions from HD that I stained to match. I’d recommend those even if you’re planning on doing the floor on both sides of the transition because I worry that anything underneath the paper would either 1) not adhere correctly 2) give the paper in that area a different appearance and 3) weaken the floor in general. I know it may not be the most appealing solution though. But if you try something else and are happy with it, please let me know!!

      • Well, after much research, I went ahead with the thin set ramp idea. It was SUPER easy (and fun) to do, kind of like frosting a cake. LOL! Anyhoo, I did the transitions for: family rm to kitchen, hall to powder room and hall to laundry room, PLUS the transition from fireplace file surround to the subfloor. I’ll let you know how it goes as it dries! It may have some shrinkage as it dries, but I’ll just refill those areas if so. I have to wait to do the transitions from the hallway and living room to the entryway because I’m going to tear out the blonde wood laminate and put in a natural river rock hand laid and grouted entryway. Plans are to get the cement backer board tomorrow and locate the stones. There are unlimited awesome ones at the river near my house, so we’re going to start there. I’d rather have polished ones, but don’t want to spend the $$$$$ that they’d cost. I’ll probably put a nice glossy sealant over it to give them a wet look anyway and improve the color that way. Anyway….long story short…I’ll let you know how the ramps work after I paper over them!

  94. Rainier says:

    Hi, So I hope I can still get an answer and hopefully soon. I am sorry if you have answered this before I just really don’t have time to read all the comments looking for it. Anyway I did my stairs and all of them except 3 look great. I must have layered my Poly too thick for each coat and they have a crackle effect which would look cool on a wall but not on the stairs (ouch). I need advice on redoing those ones. Should I start over (how?) or can I sand off the poly. If so will they then look different then all the other stairs? Also what grit of sand paper should I use. I hope to hear from you soon. I just want to be done and enjoy them. Other then that they are turning out beautiful. Instead of ripping the paper I cut “slats” so it looks like hardwood. LOVE it! Thank you so much for being a pro at this!


    • rachaelevans says:

      I would sand down the poly a bit with 120 grit and reapply. If that doesn’t work, sand down the poly again and re-paper. Did you use stain?

      • Rainier says:

        Thanks Rachael! Yes I did use a stain. I think it was the same color you used or even a little darker.

  95. I tried reading a lot of the comments but didn’t see any that referenced the question of what happens when/if you want to change the flooring? Has anyone tried to remove this after some years? What would be the process, do you think? Sorry if this is a repeat question. I would love to do this but my husband’s first question was “how do you remove it if you want to?”

    • rachaelevans says:

      Monica- To my knowledge the only way to remove it would be to get out the mineral spirits and sandpaper. But most flooring options will go right over top.

  96. Jackie Rybeck says:

    I LOVE this idea…wish I had seen this a few weeks ago, my dad just passed and I spent 4000 on carpet etc to sell his home..
    Anyway, got a question…I have a garage wall against the house that needs to be covered. Do you think this would be ok to use? #1 concern is moisture, #2 concern is it would be going on fire-safe sheetrock (which I would prime first)..thanks for sharing this awesome idea.

  97. We just finished our bedroom, and absolutely love it! Everyone is blown away by it. Thank you so much for your guide! It was our bible!

  98. OberSar says:

    I am considering this solution for a kitchen floor. Has anyone ever attempted finishing with epoxy rather than poly to protect a bit more from water/frequent cleaning?

  99. Thank you for such a wonderful idea. Your instructions where great. Just finished my Basement and I LOVE it! We taped off the middle portion and only stained it in a mahogany red stain, left the outer portion light and it looks amazing. Almost like tile around hard wood. So happy I found your sight!

  100. Proverbs 31 says:

    Hey,., I have a couple questions:
    We’re doing this in our kitchen/dining room. It seems like the stain is making the flooring looke splotchy? HOw do we get those spots out? They look like big ugly wet sports that don’t look like they will go away. I think it’s from the stain. Is there a trick to fixing this? Or will it resolve over time? Also, it has wrinkles, but hoping they go down over time? We wanted a oak colored ligher stain. I think I choose something that blends in too much with the paperbags b/c you can’t even tell I used stain. Any suggestions would be GREAT!! Thanks so much..

    • rachaelevans says:

      Did you stir the stain well before applying? Splotchiness can come from uneven pigment. Are you using oil based stain? Did you use glue to adhere the paper, if so, what ratio?

  101. I have undertaken this task on my living room floor. I have had to sand off the paint first, which has been an exhausting task. My question is, If I don’t get all the pain off, will it still work? I have the paint probably 90% off, but there are some spots that are just being stubborn.

  102. mrskraft says:

    What do you think of using bulletin board paper? Some fo the better quality paper is almost as thick as butcher paper, and it comes in a million colors.

  103. Heather Best says:

    I was so excited to do this to my spare bedroom floor that I took a week off of work to get it done. I finished it and it looked great minus a few imperfections. However, my 3 dogs stay in this room during the day while we are at work and after the first day I have very deep scratches and the puppy scratched almost down to the bare floor! What did I do wrong??? Jeepers, I am disappointed. I was thinking about trying epoxy for a harder finish maybe? Anyone have any thoughts??? I love the look of the floor and absolutely do NOT want to put laminate floor or carpet in over it =-(((

    • rachaelevans says:

      Heather- It takes at least a week for the poly to cure, I don’t recommend heavy use until then usually. Did you use the same products I did? I had one gouge down to the sub foor and basically just dabbed some stain in there and polyed over it. If your dogs are in there all the time, you may want to consider an area rug.

      • I used everything exactly as you have it listed in the supplies. The water-based poly I used said 36-48 hours to cure, however, so we only waited 2 days and 2 nights before putting the dogs in there, I bet that is the problem… I want to put an area rug in there anyway, so I’ll fix my few spots, re-polyurethane and add the rug. I think I may try the epoxy coating anyway for added durability. Thanks so much for your help…I still love my floor :-)

        • rachaelevans says:

          Heather- if you try the epoxy, let me know!

          • Heather says:

            Hey Rachel!
            Just wanted to let you know we bought Rustoleum Easy Clear Garage floor coating (it is an epoxy) and put it over the polyurethane coat and it looks fantastic! I love how thick the coat looks and it is durable as all get out! We even put down a few photos like you see on epoxy covered tables at restaurants. We let it cure for the maximum time the directions said to and I don’t think i could scratch it if I tried! The only thing I’d say if anyone else tries this method is I wouldn’t use a roller brush like the instructions say. Pour the epoxy on the floor and use a floor squeegee to “drag” it around until it is level and smooth. You can find videos on youtube that show exactly how to do it this way. Thanks for your help and idea, we love how our floor looks.


          • rachaelevans says:

            Heather- Thanks for letting me know, that sounds awesome!

  104. Cassandra says:

    So does this work well on concrete? What is all the materials I need to do it? Also can you mop and vacuum the floor like normal?

  105. Quick question. My floors have been done for a few weeks and I’m noticing light scratches in areas. Mostly where my dogs play. Is there any way to get rid of them and prevent it in the future?

    • rachaelevans says:

      The light scratches may be able to be sanded out with a high grit sandpaper (like 220+) and re-brushed with some poly. I have recently tried a product called Holloway House floor wax (it’s a liquid you wipe on) which does a great job of sort of bring back the shine and hiding light imperfections.

  106. Nice job! I do like the dark color, too. My daughter and I did this in my family room earlier this year and I absolutely love it!!! I did not stain it, tho … just went with the naural brown craft paper color. I, also, did a small wall and it turned out just great. People seem to love it and want to try doing it in their homes. Thanx for all the photos. Great job!!!

  107. Stephanie says:

    I love these floors! I papered my bathroom. I am not staining and started to apply minwax fast drying polyurethane…oil based. I grabbed that not realizing it. I did a small section and noticed dark blotches where the poly must have soaked into paper more. Will these dark spots dry and look like the rest of the paper again? I am letting it sit to see what happens. If I continue can I go back and “patch” in a glued paper to cover blotches before the next coat of poly? Not sure what to do here and would love my toilet back….its pulled up. Help!! Lol

    • rachaelevans says:

      Stephanie- I’m sorry I don’t have experience with the oil poly…I know someone who used it and had to repaper the floor (you could maybe just do the areas that are dark) and switched to water based.

  108. I love this! How will it hold up to rolling chairs?? And to heavy traffic – should I put down a rug for the traffic areas?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Robyn- I would suggest letting it cure at least a week and also using rugs/utility mats for high traffic areas.

  109. Hi! I just wanted to thank you for the great instructions. Because of you I could tear out my gross cheap carpet and re-do 2 flights of stairs and my entire upstairs! It was a lot of work but so worth it. I love all the unique imperfections you get from doing the floor this way. Nobody believes me when I tell them it’s paper!
    Thanks again.

  110. Melissa says:

    We are looking into doing this method on a couple of rooms in our church’s new childrens area and a few people on the committee are concerned with all the children that will be using those rooms, how the floor will hold up. We have plywood floors. We will be using the rooms at least once a week and we are thinking 30+ kids may be in the rooms at any given time. Also, one of the rooms we are looking at doing is a craft room, so that would require being able to hold up to a lot of cleaning and messes. I just wanted to get some input before putting the time and the money into it. I personally LOVE the look and with our new children’s area being a treehouse theme, I think it’s perfect!!!

  111. i’m wanting to do this on the floors of 2 bathrooms, they aRe both tile…12″ squares. will this work on tile? any input from anyone whose tried it over tile? also
    do you think i should fill in the grooves where the grout is to make a flAt surface? if so what should i use? thanks for ANY input.VERY excited about this idea!!

  112. cheryl bryant says:

    Sorry if I missed it, but what product/substance do you use to clean the paper bag flooring. I just installed paper bag flooring in my family room and am wondering what to mop it with. I typically use vinegar and water on my tile. Here is a picture of a portion of my floor before the polyurethane. Thanks!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Vinegar and water will work great! I use Mrs. Meyer’s/Vinegar mix, but really anything made for hard surfaces will probably work.

  113. Wow! This looks fantastic!!! I wish we had a sub standard floor to do this on!

  114. It’s gorgeous. Truly!

  115. Hi, love the idea! My husband will be Out of town for a week so PROJECT!!!! Can you post the color stains you used like, the one for Ryans room or did I miss the color? Love this post, THANKS!!! I am on a mission! (He dosnt believe this works ).lol

  116. My neighbor os currently doing her floors. She is using Rit dye to color the paper instead of a stain. Any suggestions on getting the right shade? My daughter wants pink but with the brown paper I’m not sure. Is therea white paper that could be used as a substitute?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Amanda- I’m sorry I don’t have experience with Rit dye at all…the best way is just to test it on a piece of plywood untill you get the look you want. You could try thick white craft paper from an art supply store.

  117. I love the leathery look of the floors- with or without the stain! I also love the shelf (I think that is what it is at least) on your wall in your bedroom. Did you make that yourself or did someone make it for you? Do you know what kind of supplies were used? I would really like to try to build something like that for my house! This is my first time visiting your page and I think you are amazingly talented!

  118. unleashedsky says:

    I really want to do this on my stairs but i am nervous it would be slippery…is it. thanks it looks gorgeous!

  119. I have been putting this floor down in my master bedroom. I got the stain done last night but this morning I notice spots of the stain that was super dark and didnt blend well around the edges. Any advice on how to fix that without making things worse?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Tina- Hmmm that’s a tough one. I guess my question is, when all the furniture is back in the room, will it be noticeable? You’d be surprised how many flaws disappear once the room is put together. I suppose you could get a chip brush (short bristle haired brush, about $1-$2) and lightly dip into stain to try and feather out the edges. But I’d be hesitant to do any more fixing than that. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

      • Well I tried some things. I tried putting more paper on top of the areas that were bad. That does not work. It stains a totally different color. So now I am ripping that up. Which is proving to be quite the task. I did find it blends well enough when I went over it with a rag dipped in stain so hopefully that will fix tin issues. I absolutely love it though. My friend is going to do it in her house now and we will probably just hand stain the whole thing. It will take more time but its better than running into the issues I had.

        • rachaelevans says:

          Tina- I prefer the rag method myself, it’s hard to get the same control with a mop head. Good luck!!

  120. i posted this concern once before but got no reply, i’m ready to start my project so i’ll try again. wanting to do my 2 bathroom floors which are 12″ ceramic tile. was wondering if anyone has tried this over tile, and if it is even an option for me, how should i do it? also do i need to fill in the grooves where the grout is,,,,they are not very deep, but there is a difference. if so what should i fill them with? would appreciate any feedback, love this idea!!!!

    • rachaelevans says:

      Karen- I don’t have any experience with ceramic tile, so I don’t know that I’ll be much help. I always advise people to try the method they choose in a small area (or you could get some cheapo tiles to experiment). Poly only (the cement/concrete method) might be a good fit, but you’ll limit your staining possibilities. My first thought for the grout lines is to add more grout on top until everything is flush. However in my experience with filling almost anything, you never get a perfect result. It is likely that you will see the grid, or the attempt at hiding the grid. But, the overall effect may not be that bad. Here is the flooring on my mom’s faux tile linoleum:

      • thanks for the info and the pictures of your moms bathroom! you did a great job….end results were grea!!!. think i’m going to get some tiles and practice on them first. think i’ll be more confident if i experiment first. as far as the grout lines go….who knows?? i’m thinking they would be less obvious if i try to fill them in and even them out. know i won’t get them perfect but maybe they won’t show as bad as grout lines. i’ve had something come up so doesnt look like i’m going to get to do it as soon as i wanted, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer. i’ll let you know and send some pics of finished floor…THANKS AGAIN!!

  121. Melissa Gallegos says:

    These floors are absolutely amazing! I have talked my husband into doing them in my downstairs. We are curious what type/color stain you used on the stairwell in the picture labeled “Main Stairwell, Sept 2011″ I know the lighting is different in each picture. But that picture is the result we were looking for…

    • rachaelevans says:

      Melissa- The stain throughout the entire upstairs is Minwax Dark Walnut. It can be found at most home improvement stores so you can see how the color looks in real life. I think the paper absorbs quite a bit of stain, so the color you end up with is very true to the stain itself.

  122. Your floors are AWESOME! I’m in the process of renovating my kitchen. I plan on using paper to do the floors…over the existing linoleum. I want to do the paper in “planks” though to look almost like wood floors. Do you have any experience with cutting the paper into planks?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Hi Trisha- Thanks very much for the compliment! I don’t have any experience doing the planks, but I’m pretty sure someone who did commented on here somewhere. My only concern for you would be if your linoleum has faux grout lines, you’ll likely be able to see a hint of them under the paper. But if that doesn’t bother you, or if you don’t have tile linoleum, then rock on with it! Would love to see pics when you’re done!

  123. Great instructions! Wondering if the stain “bleeds” when applying? Reason for asking is that I would like to incorporate an inlay design by taping off a section that would remain natural color and staining the rest prior to sealer.

    • rachaelevans says:

      V- Yes it does bleed! I would use painter’s tape, but even then it might not be perfect unfortunately :( If you try it, I’d love to see pics!

  124. Toni shafer says:

    Was wondering if you think this would work on wood floors. My house is 110 years old and has original wood floors that have been painted. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Toni- I generally don’t recommend it on wood floors because 1) I love them :) and 2) I think it would be a nightmare with all the plank seams. If the boards are very tight together, you could definitely try it. Make sure the paint doesn’t have any poly or finish on it before starting. I just don’t know that you’re not going to see every seam underneath when it’s all done. If you do decide to try it, let me know how it goes!

  125. Marty Trout says:

    GREAT post and thank you for such detail!!! i just tore up the old carpet and vinyl in our new/ (very old) camper!! and discovered plywood underneath…. looking for a cheaper flooring alternative and what do i want to do??? you guessed it… paper bag floors!! i think my husband thinks i’m crazy, but i think it will look awesome, with the darker stain of course!! thanks again!!!

  126. I have concrete floors with radiant floor heating throughout my house. Have you heard of anyone doing the brown paper bag method over radiant heat?

    • rachaelevans says:

      I have never heard of anyone trying it, but the idea of it scares me a little bit…I think that the poly may not respond well to the temperature changes. Sorry :(

  127. We’re on a conventional slab and followed all the steps all the way to laying the paper down! Everything looked great! Until we applied polyurethane, now the whole entire floor has milky white streaks throughout it, what do I do? I’ve tried sanding, blowdryer, everything! I need help

  128. PattyWolford says:

    I am wondering if this would work on a countertop? Yes, it is the laminate countertop which surrounds the sink. The top is about 6 feet long. I’m curious about this because I have considered replacing the top, but it is costly, and, also, I have been looking for the retro looking red cracked ice formica, which is special-order, costing $460 per 4×10 sheet, not counting shipping. That’s just the the laminate, not having it built into a small countertop! I HAVE used contact paper on countertops in the past, and it held up surprisingly well, probably because I never set anything hot on the surface. Anyway, I have a roll of the red rosin paper already, and thinking I could use the technique you described and stain red, which would look very similar to the retro cracked ice! BTW, I’m an art teacher, and I love doing collages/mosaics from torn and cut paper using the decoupage technique!

  129. I love your floors, I want to this on my reading room, but instead I’m going to use dust jackets or the sleeve from books, my question is, Will this technique will work on that too?. I don’t want to use stain, because I want the clear look, What would you recommend?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Mimi- Honestly I have no idea. If they are paper, I think it would work just like decoupage. But I’ve never tried it, so I always recommend testing in a small area. If you can get the paper to adhere, just finish with poly when it’s dry.

  130. We did this in our bedroom over plywood subfloor – so far have only gotten the glue and paper down, but lots of wrinkles have appeared. Some went away, but some are still there after drying. Should we go around putting more paper over the wrinkly parts? Or will the wrinkles continue to disappear with stain and poly?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Teagan- The stain and poly won’t change the wrinkles at all, so it’s better to have it look the way you want before proceeding. Are they wrinkles or is the paper bubbling up because it’s not completely adhered? You can make small cuts in the paper and dab glue underneath to smooth wrinkles, or apply more paper. Hope that helps!

      • Hmmmm, will try patching them over, the only one’s I’m concerned about are where the wrinkles are at the edge of the paper, so there’s a little cave that dust could get in. I’m not super concerned about the texture, it’s a bedroom so not high traffic, don’t expect a lot of wear. We will try to cover those up and I’ll let you know how it progresses. Thanks for the reply and the advice!

  131. Miguel Valdez says:

    Can this be done over tile flooring? Does it need any special preparation before starting the project? This is such a great idea that my wife and I are planning to do in our living-dinning room area.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Miguel- I’ve never done it over tile, but I think it could be done. My concern would be that you’ll definitely see the grout lines similar to my experience with vinyl tile ( I would get a few spare tiles from the store and test adhesion with glue/water or poly. I would definitely recommend adding quarter round on top of the paper against the baseboards, because I think the edges will peel eventually no matter what the surface. In my case, we removed carpet so I had a gap under the baseboards. I pushed the paper all the way under, so I never had a problem with peeling even though it took me so long to add the quarter round. But when I did my parents bathroom over the existing vinyl, I saw right away it would be an issue around the edges. So that’s something to keep in mind. Hope that helps!

  132. South Fulton says:

    My wife put the paper and glue mixture down last night over top of 1/4″ luan wood underlayment. It looked great last night, but this morning you can see where the 4′x8′ sheets of wood meet. The joint was a tight factory edge to factory edge joint so I coudn’t put any wood filler in it. Now the paper is crowned over top of those joints. What caused this and how can it be fixed?

  133. Hello I love this floor and plan on doing it soon to our house. Question I plan on doing my living room. My only concern is that all of our bedroom doors lead into to the living room. Can I do it in sections at a time so we aren’t living in the kitchen for a week..

    Thanks for the help

  134. So, I can do this on my stair well? Pull up the carpet, clean up the plywood, sand areas, etc. as you did and then follow your directions? I’m a little scared. I have cheap carpet that gets dirty and I would love wood stairs, but do not have the money.

    • rachaelevans says:

      Alicia…yup! I have done the entire upstairs in brown paper, and in my opinion the stairs are the easiest and come out the nicest. Just remember to do every other stair so you can still use them.

  135. Love this!!! I am thinking about doing this in my kitchen… Does the poly finish make the floor slippery?

    • rachaelevans says:

      Stephanie- To me it’s about the same as wood…although it may depend on the poly you use. I can only speak to the finish on my floors with the Pro Finish waterbased in satin.

  136. I loved the idea! I thought I would try it in my daughters room first. We did her room in Feb and I used water base Minwax (said it could be used on wood floors) in semi gloss and was happy with the way it turned out. In June I decided to do our kitchen, kitchen nook, and family room. Because it was going to be so much floor I didn’t want it to be as shiny so I decided on a satin finish. Also because it was going to be in the kitchen I decided to use a finish that said floor grade polyurethane and went with what you used. I loved it! Now the problem – if water on the floor (ice cubes, dog bowl) is not wiped up right away it leaves a lightened stain like mark on the floor. It doesn’t wipe off and I was wondering if you had this problem and if so is there a way to fix it?? Thank you

    • rachaelevans says:

      Diane- How many coats of poly did you put on? How long has it been since you did it? I am always a liiiiiiitle bit hesitant to recommend this in kitchen/bathrooms because of the water issue (not that I wouldn’t, just that I haven’t done it in my house and can’t speak to how it holds up). Not to say that if I had hideous flooring in those areas I wouldn’t do it…I totally would. But anyways, I haven’t had that problem possibly because the flooring is only in bedrooms and hallways- it is unlikely to get wet. But, I would say what is happening is a classic water ring, just like on a piece of wood furniture. If you haven’t done 12 coats of poly already, I’d recommend doing more. Also if it hasn’t been very long, the poly is likely not very cured (I read this can take months). For existing spots, I’m curious if rubbing mayo on the spot would work (it works on wood furniture). I also like to use a product called Holloway House Quick Shine Floor Finish (I have seen it at grocery stores and Walmart in the cleaning aisle) which is a quick, no buff wax you can dry mop on. I do it every couple of weeks after I vacuum and mop the floors. That will definitely help. Let me know!

  137. Can you do this over the pink foam insulation? Wanted to apply this first to concrete floors in basement to help with cold, please let me know. Thanks

  138. Has anyone tried this on tile? I would love to do this in my bathroom, but I have a slick tile and I’m not sure it will stick. If anyone has tried, what method did you use and did you fill in the grout lines? I’m wondering if I leave the grout lines, if it will look like scored, stained concrete?

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Shelli- You will definitely see the grout lines similar to the pictures of the finished floor in my mom’s bathroom (who had tile-like linoleum), but it may not bother you or really detract from the look. I know some people have done it on tile, you probably will need to sand. I’d get a piece of tile similar to what you have installed and try it on there first. There may be some additional help buried in the comments.

  139. This is so awesome!! I did it on my stairs to the basement too…LOVE IT!!
    But I have a question….is this technique ok to do on a floor that has underfloor heating? I would love to continue the look…but I worry that it will have some kind of weird ‘issue’ when the underfloor heating is in use!
    Thanks so much!!
    PS…I will post photos on my blog as soon as I get chance! =)

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Debi- I’d be hesitant to use it in that application…I just think the heat would do something to the poly eventually over time, and I’m not 100% sure it’s safe.

  140. I finally got my paper floors finished as well!! Took me about 10 days to get it all finished. I did my kitchen, breakfast nook, front hallway, laundry room, bathroom, and garage entryway!! It was a lot but so worth it! Thanks for such an awesome tutorial, Rachel. I linked back to you in my own blog post.

  141. Well, shockingly hubby has said we can do this. We’ve been in this house for about 9 months & the dining room floor was only half laid, we can’t seem to find the correct flooring & I don’t like it. Dark wood flooring against 2 rooms with pine flooring.
    That said, Hubby is a contractor & has voiced that we won’t be lying this over the sub-flooring, it’s not thick enough, codes say that the the floors need to be a minimum of a 1.25″ between floor & sub-floor. Otherwise there is too much flexing of the floors. The sub-floors aren’t made to withstand regular traffic. Carpet gets away with it because the pads help transfer the weight. Also it could cause a future issue as there is no barrier between the sub-floor & the paper for moisture issues.

    So while he agrees it’s a cheap floor & should hold up just fine we will be laying new plywood first.

    • Thank you for your site. This is awesome. Im actually in the middle of the process and thought I would add my $.02 :-) Specifically, I note that alot of people have questions about applying on concrete. I started with my den (soon to be workout room) and moving on to the hall (similar to yours), dining room, living room, kitchen and bedroom. Here are my findings:

      1. Kraft paper and builder’s paper are NOT the same thing. In my attempt to follow the directions to a tee, I literally looked for “Kraft” paper. I found paper at the Dollar store. It’s labeled Kraft/Postal paper by 3M. I purchased 5 rolls to paper my 9 x 13 room. This paper worked WONDERFULLY. It’s thinner than builders paper (what I learned later), crumples easier, doesnt fall apart easily in the glue-water mixture and smoothes dry with minimal wrinkling. Once I ran out of the Kraft paper, I bought the builder’s paper, which is more difficult to work with in my opinion. Just like Rachel says, if you let it sit in the water more than a few seconds is crumbles. It holds air pockets and doesnt dry smooth like the Kraft paper. I will say I like the “look” of the applied builder paper better but found that you only get that weathered look if you apply it perfectly AND use the correct side. I didnt realize that the sides were two different colors!

      2. Glue mix on concrete: I didnt measure perfectly but I made sure that there was more glue than water. In my mind, more glue meant more adhesion. OH, I read someone mentioned concrete glue….yea…didnt work. I ended that QUICKLY. It left a white film and once it dries it really is water proof so you cant try to weather it. I ripped it up immediately. Dont be lazy…use the glue mix method and adjust based on your floor.

      3. Stain. I used the same minwax as Rachel. It went on in the den PERFECTLY…but I also let the den sit for a for a week (I intended to paper the whole house then stain at the same time…for uniformity). I tried to stain a small portion that had only been down for 24 hours and got the deep color and oil splotches mentioned by the author of the Oregon site. I did it under a built in so I can just re-cover but Im glad I tested. Im going to let the floor dry for at least 72 hours before staining.

      4. I think Im going to poly and then use the garage floor epoxy for durability that was mentioned above by another person. I’ll re-post after Im done.

      On concrete, I’d say you have to know what type of concrete subfloor you have. The concrete in my den was virtually perfect. It was smooth, stark white and almost looked finished. The concrete in my living room isnt quite as nice and seems to need more glue to adhere.

      Im just sooooo glad that I ripped out that disgusting carpet (my dog isnt as pleased lol) and I’ll walk on bare concrete until Im finished the papering (which is by far the worse part of this process…ripping and papering sucks!)

      Thanks for letting me share!

  142. I was wondering if anyone has ever done this on kitchen or bathroom cabinets?

  143. Jennifer Hauer says:

    I’m considering trying this in my laundry room of the house we are in the process of buying!!! I may be asking some questions in the near future! Thanks for the awesome idea! :)

  144. Rachael,
    First I have to commend you not only on your work, but on your diligence with responding to so many posts. I read through every little bit of it. Took a while. :)

    I am in love with this idea and feel like it is a much better solution to just painting my floors. I feel pretty confident on the process after reading this and several other sites. I will be applying this to concrete floors, And have decided the 50/50 glue ratio seams the way to go.
    I only have a few questions that I have not seen answered or largely spoken about.

    1. With regards to sanding the poly. This is suggested just to smooth down the surface? I am assuming that perhaps after the 10th coat of poly I could sand it down pretty well and then apply two more coats?

    2. Paper choices. I love the textured look but am not in love with the leather color. I was thinking of ordering some set paper. Something like this….
    Do you have any suggestions on what to ask the company with regards to the paper product before ordering. I am assuming if their paper is acid free is is also gloss or finish free. I was thinking a whitening wash over this followed by a walnut stain might look really modern and beautiful. Of course, I would test it out. But it seams you have expanded your projects to more than your own space so I wanted to get some feedback before I ordered the products.

    Thanks for all your inspiration to all the creative do-ers out there!

    • As a quick side note… What about wallpaper? I can’t see why that wouldn’t work and may provide way more options!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Jessica! The link to the paper isn’t working for me, but I always recommend testing your method in advance. I’ve only ever done the builder’s paper-which is fairly thick- so I’d try to get something paper-bag-ish in thickness. Sanding is great between coats to increase adhesion and get the most smooth surface…but if you’re doing a large area like I was, you probably don’t want to sand it haha. I did sand on my staircase every 3rd coat or so, and it definitely does make a difference. I just chose not to for the upstairs because it just would have taken me forever to get done!

      • Thanks Rachael,
        Maybe this is a better link…
        I love the color choices they have, but not sure exactly if I will work. I am sending them an email asking for details on the paper. I will update you when they reply. Definitely doing a few tests before I begin the whole house.
        What sort of a difference does sanding make. What is the difference from your stairs to your upstairs? …Finished Texture wise.

        • Hi Rachael,
          So I ended buying a larger roll of grey kraft paper online from office depot. It is oddly called “Bogus”. I did a sample board and it is fantastic. A really nice alternative to brown and a great neutral/modern color. Looks good enough that I’m not going to stain it.
          Thought your viewers might like to know. :)
          I am going to start papering tomorrow!
          Quick question: Fading? Have you had any issues with the color fading under windows or in direct sunlight?

          • Rachael Evans says:

            Jessica- That sounds really neat, I’d love to see pictures when you’re done! As far as fading, I’m not sure…my upstairs doesn’t really get that much direct sunlight…there’s really only like 1 window in each bedroom. Plus, I don’t live in the desert or anything (I know fading is a concern in places like Nevada). So I can’t say for sure unfortunately. I would imagine it would happen eventually over time if you had a spot that really got a good bit of sun everyday.

          • I am dying to see how this turned out! Do you have pictures??

  145. So I papered my concrete floor with the 50/50 glue. Worked great. Did your stain with my husband who insisted we used brushes and rags. We brushed on a row about 12ft x 3ft, and then he would wipe it off with rags. Now it is very splotchy and graduates across the floor from darker to almost no stain. I think we were supposed to just brush it on and leave it, right? The stain has set overnight. Can I restain it now? Or do you think it will just be a darker version of the blotchiness?

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Kim- I wouldn’t try to re-stain unless it is completely dry. Otherwise, adding more stain on top can actually remove some of the stain from before and make it worse. I did not wipe my stain off, I just applied only enough to saturate the paper but not puddle or pool. I’m sorry I don’t have any better solutions for you :( I

  146. Do you think this would work over paneling–I’m sure I would need to fill in the lines–not sure what they are called,lol

    • Rachael Evans says:

      It probably would, but I don’t know how seamless it will look even after filling. I’d just paint the paneling :)

  147. Hi Rachael, i came across your site tonight as i was looking for appropriate (but different and innovative) covering for my concrete floor in my downstairs ‘granny flat’ bathroom (and perhaps the rest), but i’ll start with the bathroom hopefully tomorrow…
    what i hope to do may be a totally inappropriate concept, but the space is relatively small (approx 3.2mX4.2m) and includes a shower (in one corner with a glass panel & no door) a loo, a vanity and laundry (front load drier and machine in another corner)… i would like to use the technique you so brilliantly explained above, on the floor and two walls that form the back and one side of the shower!
    I am however unsure about a couple of things…i hope you can clarify..
    1. is it at all possible to run the paper flooring and wall covering right through into the shower? after reading all the above i am hopeful that this might be a possibility if i used marine product for the last 5 or so coats, can you please advise whether this is in the realms of possibility? and
    2. here in tropical far north Queensland there are regulations that such spaces have to be ‘waterproofed’ and after looking at local regulations it appears that the majority of the bathroom (including walls) will require some sort of membrane… which is placed on top of the concrete and under any surface treatment. the membrane or waterproofing can be one or more of the following :- liquid-applied acrylics, PVC sheets, reinforced resin-based systems, pre-formed metal or acrylic trays, CPE, chlorinated polyethylene
    fleece-coated polyethylene mats, gridded polyethylene sheets… the walls are PVC sheets and the floors are concrete… so! can this be done as i wish it be done?
    i envisage a room with deep tones on the two walls that run into the shower and floors (perhaps lighter on the walls)… the area in the shower (as a result of the marine product) having a glossy hue behind the free standing glass panel and the other two walls being painted gloss antique white (which is consistent with the 100yo house and which will highlight the white porcelain of the loo and vanity)… i hope you can provide me with a mechanism/product/advice as to how i might achieve this outcome
    regards chirs

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Chris- I’m afraid I’m not equipped to answer those questions since the regulations are different here in the US. I would NOT advise in-shower use at all, but you could possibly do the floors outside and the walls, after you take care of the waterproofing. I’d get in touch with a local inspector to be sure.

  148. We did this in our family room, high traffic area. 2 little girls, crazy dog and parents… WE LOVE THEM!! When friends come over we get SO many compliments. Thanks for the idea!!

  149. I have a Question i bought a home that had a cat marking the home, we covered it with kilz. I am wonder if that is going to cause a problem with the glue sticking to the floor correctly and if it will cause the floor to be different color were there kilz is on the sub floor?

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Heather-I might go ahead and do the whole floor with the Kilz…that’s just my gut feeling about it, but I’d try it in a small area to see if you can see the white through the paper.

  150. have saved this in favorites for about 6 months now, doing this on my kidtchen walls, had to degrease big time as the grease bleeds through the paper. I first tried the “paper bag wall ” technique, and the paste left no crackle at all, dried very smooth. Bought a lambs skin glove at WMT today to apply stain and poly. Can’t wait for finished product. I am very big into monochrome these days and did ceiling and walls….tooo great!

  151. I have started this today, but instead of doing it on a floor, I am doing it to cover 1970′s outdated tile in a bathroom. I am planning on putting 2 coats of the paper on hoping it will cover the grout. I am using brown paper bags from the grocery store because of the thickness. If this works my next project will be my tiled kitchen countertops. I also plan on doing my basement stairs.

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Jackie- would love to see pics when you’re done. Are you using the parts of the bag with writing or tearing it off? I have always been curious to try it with actual bags.

      • I will be more then happy to post pics when it is complete. 2 layers of bags and it has completely covered the grout lines. I am putting the poly on tomorrow. The only suggestion I have so far is you HAVE to use the same type of bags. My local grocery store had 2 different types, one with red lettering, the other blue. Well, the blue ink showed, and the overall color was lighter. I finished the 1st layer with those bags, and then did the 2nd layer all with the “red” bags. No ink showing, and the color matched. Will post pics soon.

        • Hi Jackie, do you have pictures to share? I am wanting to cover 12 inch ceramic tiles that surround our fireplace (fireplace is non-function so heat isn’t an issue). The tiles weren’t grouted in but there are lines between each. Thanks for sharing!

  152. I’m doing this in my dining room. Two questions:
    1) right now the room is empty and echos and walking on the floors seem “hollow”. Should I add a layer of that padding used for laminate floors & another layer of plywood?
    2) my floor meets up to tile (I noticed your hallway did too). That is a big difference of floor level, if I don’t add the plywood, does the threshold strip make the floors meet okay??

    Thanks for the feedback and for posting this awesome idea with great instructions!!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      KC- I think the hollow sound kind of goes away once it’s all done and the furniture is back in…but ultimately it’s up to you. We have done ours upstairs, and I believe it is louder downstairs than it was before…but not really that noticeable to me. I wouldn’t bother if you’re on a first or only floor honestly, but that’s just me (lazy!). For us the threshold worked perfectly, but make sure to measure your drop and buy the appropriate size.

  153. Can I do this with the same materials to do a wall? Please email me ? thank you for your time.

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Jackie- I know people have done this technique on walls, but since I have never done it I’m not sure how to advise. I would think the poly top coat would be overkill. I think glue/water or wallpaper paste would be fine…but either way I think it’d be difficult to remove down the line. Hope that helps!

  154. Hi, I love your brown paper bag floors and we are going to do our
    rec room in our basement with this method. It is a room that is like having
    a cabin in the woods and this floor will be perfect. The question we have is that our concrete floors have been painted with Kilz to seal them about ten
    years ago before we put carpet in. Can we apply the brown paper bag floors over the paint or would it require a great amount of sanding or preparation to make sure it will stick? I know someone that has done this
    floor in her home but on a main level with wood subflooring to work with, we
    are going to see it and talk to her for some tips soon. If anyone knows how to work with our painted concrete we would really appreciate some information. Thanks! So excited, can’t wait to get started, big project, about 750 square feet:)

    • Hello, I actually just did that. I had laid the original paper flooring and was not satisfied with the results, I was able to see the lines from the old tile that I removed. So I took the Klitz sealer/stainblocker and covered the floor with it. I then relayed the paper floor again. I no longer see ANY lines from the old tile and the paper stuck just fine. I too have cement flooring. I have stained the floor and currently waiting on it to dry. its been almost 24hrs and it is still tacky. I think it will never fully dry… but I am going to give it as much time as possible….

  155. Do you know if brown grocery bags would work?

  156. Hi, we just finished doing this technique in the living room. Used the butcher paper from Home Depot, glue all Elmer’s glue 3 water to one glue bottle. It looks wonderful. We liked it so much we did it to our bathroom walls then painted over it. The latex paint works as a ceal so the moisture can’t get through. I want to do it to the bedroom but its a large room and hubby said takes too much time. To get the glue off the paper after you dip it I used a five gallon bucket and wiped off the excess glue before applying to the wall. We did not seal, stain or paint the living room. It’s holding up great now.

  157. Hello! Thank you for all the information. I have installed the craft paper and have stained it. BUT it has been almost 24hrs and the stain is still tacky. I live in CA. and we do have some humidity so I am not sure if that is why it is still tacky. I read above that the stain may never fully dry, I have a feeling that is what I am experiencing. Was wondering if I should just go a head and lay the poly? just curious if you will be able to see my foot prints in the stain. would you suggest that I give it another day to dry? Any info would be appreciated. Again thank you soooo much for all the information and such a great idea. Have a wonderful day :)

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Amanda- sorry to get back to you so late, I was consumed with Thanksgiving plans. Did you end up going ahead with the poly? I hopped around carefully in socks and I don’t think I ended up with any foot prints.

    • Hi Amanda, thanks for the information you posted. We are just starting our floors and wondered how your project went. Did your stain finally dry? We are in Montana so it is pretty dry here & I am hoping ours will dry well. Getting started tommorow and hope to have completed before Christmas. Would love to know how things went for you. Thanks again for answering my original post:)

  158. Tracy Kendall says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips and instructions. I was about to purchase 1100 sq. ft of flooring until I came upon this blog. I have been researching for a month now. I am a single mother and have a house that needs new flooring. My 8 year daughter and I are going to do our whole house this way. We are doing the bathrooms in red rosen paper in big torn pieces to look like rock, and her bed room we ordered a dark med. blue paper (her favorite color), my bedroom is going to be the torn crumbled pieces to look like leather or cork. For the dining room, breakfast room and family room to cut the paper into differ size lengths to look like wood planks, in hopes to achieve the look of wood floors. I even got a wood block stamp that makes the impression image of wood (hopefully it works). But I wanted to say thanks you for your inspiration. I will let you know how it goes and send pics of the completed work.

  159. I’ve read several of your comments, where you are using Brown paper… Is this the same consistency as a Brown Paper Grocery Bag..? I had to take up the carpet from my sons room a couple of years ago, and his floor is upstairs with the particle wood flooring, I thought maybe I could use your same concept but with the Grocery Bags? That would be A LOT cheaper and A lot nicer than the carpet… Thanks for sharing this!! :0)

    • Rachael Evans says:

      GH- I think they are similar in weight, but the grocery bags could be a little heavier. I would try a few pieces of one on a scrap piece of flooring to see how they handle the glue and wrinkling, but generally I wouldn’t think it’d be a lot different. You may not want to use any parts of the bag with writing on it though, as I’m not sure if it will bleed through or cause problems with the stain. Good luck!

  160. Hi
    great tutorial- I followed it to a T, however when it dried there are several ‘bumps’ or ridges even though I tried my best to keep them as flat as possible when I laid it down- will these flatten out after I poly? Or do I need to rip them up and redo? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Jen- They probably won’t flatten on their own with the poly, can you cut a small slit and apply some glue underneath? You can weigh the area down with a piece of wax paper then a stack of books. Depending on where they are and where your furniture goes, you could just leave them as character :) My floors are not perfectly smooth everywhere.

  161. Sorry I posted twice… My first comment wasn’t showing up ???

  162. Just found this on Pinterest–too late. Learned about this years ago. I made a brown paper bag wall–could send pictures–looks great–like leather–love this technique. I haven’t put anything over it like poly–will see how it works without.

    I have an awesome homemade easy glue I use to put fabric on walls–or in cabinets–from an interior designer (20+ years ago).

  163. I found your technique on Pinterest several/many months ago. I’m just now reading the directions and thinking I’ll do this in my hallway between the livingroom and all the bedrooms & bath. Well, I have determined this is NOT the time to do it. I live in Oregon and this time of year is very rainy – humidity – moisture in the air! Also I can’t figure out how to do this and NOT let the 2 cats walk on it. How did you prevent your new floor from attracting the dog hair? The logistics is becoming an issue. However, I have 6-7 months till dry weather to figure it out and to collect more brown paper!

    Question: if I use grocery sacks, does the ink on the sacks bleed through? I understand that I should put the side with the writing down, but I would think the ink would bleed up to the top with all the dampness of the glue and then the poly.

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Sandra- Basically I closed the door to any room I was doing, and I locked the cats in the basement (they have a lockable cat door, it’s where their food/litter box is) for the open areas. Make sure you turn off fans/HVAC while you’re working too. Regarding the grocery bags, I’ve never used them but I would actually NOT use any parts that are lettered at all. Hope that helps!

  164. Hi Rachael. So glad you are still answering questions about the brown paper floors! I especially liked the post about your dad’s floors (“Red Rosin Remix”) but just had a question. Did your dad use *red* rosin paper or *brown*? I love the idea of just poly and paper (and more poly of course) and no glue or stain. And his floors looked great! But I wanted to double check on the paper color because I discovered what is called “red rosin” paper actually comes in several colors. I don’t see how your dad’s floors came out that nice carmel-y brown using red paper… but maybe the poly does something to it?

    Thank you so much for your blog and all of your thorough info on this particular project! I think there are a lot of gals (and guys) like me who are not handy d-i-y-ers or crafty at all when it comes to home decor, but you make it seem like I actually could finally get rid of our yucky carpets, even on a bare-bones budget! Many thanks – and blessings to you and your family in 2013 :)

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Heidi! He did use the red colored paper, it might be the lighting or your monitor that’s making it look a certain way…you might want to try it on a piece of scrap wood to see if the true color matches what you want. Good luck with your project!! Glad to help out.

  165. Wow, these are thorough instructions for a great idea. I’ve never done floors but did something similar on the hideous tile that surrounded my fireplace when I moved into my house. I used paper bags from the grocery store (the parts without writing), the same glue to water ratio, didn’t crumple the paper and didn’t stain or poly it at all. I thought it looked great and it was there for about 5 years before I could finally afford to get the tile I wanted. I’ve often wondered about doing my cement floored laundry room. With these instructions I might give it a go. Thank you!

  166. Where did u pick up the ideas to publish ““The
    Ultimate Brown Paper Flooring Guide”? Thank you -Michell

  167. Thank you for such detailed instructions. Please explain the “hopping spots” and when did you go back and fill them in?

  168. Ca n brown paper bags from the grocery store be used instead of a role of paper?

    • Rachael Evans says:

      I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not…I’d rip off the parts with ink on them though- it might bleed through.

  169. How do you think this technique would work on laminate table tops (like the commercial kind)? I am purchasing a restaurant and all the tables are bright red. I hate them!

  170. I am thinking of doing this on my steps. They are currently painted. Just wondering if anyone tried this over a painted surface? and if so did you change anything in the method of applying it. Also how has it stood up to traffic? Thanks

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Diana- as long as you rough up the painted surface with some sandpaper, it should adhere fine. My steps are actually the most durable area of the house (because of the small area, I sanded between each coat, take my time, etc). I highly recommend it on stairs!

  171. Hi…..i really want to do this in my living room, but i have a question. My main source of heat is my fire place. Using everything to the T in your dorections, will my floor be more flamable than carpet? Right now i have carpet, we ALWAYS keep an eye out for popping wood and i have a fire retardent rig right in front of the fire place for protection, i just wanted to make sure that if a piece pf hot wood pops pn mt floor, its not going to ho up in flames like gas and fire. If this makes sense!!!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Lacy- I’m afraid I can’t really advise on that at all unfortunately. There really isn’t a difference in the poly I use and something that would be on a finished hardwood floor…but I don’t feel comfortable making a recommendation one way or the other. If you do try it, I hope you’ll report back for anyone else that might be in the same situation!

  172. One note about the cleaning of the floor. I haven’t tried this yet but can’t wait to try. You mentioned using a liquid wax to keep it’s shine, my only concern is if you ever want to repoly the floor you can’t do it over any wax. This is always an issue when I have hardwood floors redone for clients if there has been any wax cleaners used you have to sand down the whole floor to the bare wood…and of course this wouldn’t be an option for the paper floor. Thanks for sharing your project.


    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Christine- Thanks for mentioning that! I should have been more clear, the Holloway House is not a true wax…that’s just what I called it for lack of a better term. It’s basically just a protective finish that brings out the shine, but it wears off in a few weeks.

  173. I have actually done something like this on my walls!! can get rolls of brown paper at wall mart use same concept and it looks great with some wall trim at the top of it!!!

  174. Chante LaGon says:

    What a fantastic project! I’ll be linking to it on our Flooring pinboard. Check it out at

  175. I learned the hard way about the importance of sanding the subfloor. The carpet that had been down prior had been glued and there was such a little amount, I didn’t think it would hurt anything. So all gung-ho, I spent hours laying paper only to come back to it the next day and find that most of it peeled and bubbled up and had to be relaid after we got the subfloor sanded. DO NOT SKIP THAT STEP!
    Also, I was working with a very large surface (420 square feet or so) and I had a heck of a time getting the stain even. I ended up having to do a second coat after I let the first coat dry for a couple of days to even it all out by wringing the stain out of the mop pad extremely well and feathering it out as quickly as possible. I did achieve the look I was going for, I just wish I had read the entire tutorial more closely and saved myself the headaches of fixing my mistakes.

  176. Absolutely amazing!!! Sharing this idea and your page with family and friends!! Going to try this in my small entry way :D Thank you so much for your beautiful website and ideas!!!

  177. Hey Rachael, Your floors are wonderful! I did my daughters room over a two day period and I mixed the glue ratio a little differently. I think that is the reason I have two distinctly different colors now. The additional glue in the first batch is much darker and is in the closet and around the perimeter of the room. The next day, the remainder of the room turned out much lighter, the only difference being the amount of glue I added to the water. Any suggestions for fixing this? Do you think if I brushed more glue/water over the lighter paper it would darken? I was hoping to start coating it tomorrow. Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Lynda- Hmmm, I’m not sure. Are you staining? You could add more glue in a small area and wait for it to dry to see if it helps?

  178. I did this to both my concrete as well as plywood floors back in 1998, needed a cheap flooring and after several ideas I actually came across an article in a home decorating book from 1974 that had “faux flagstone floors” described, well we went and got everything needed and made a story board to see what it looked like, thought we have nothing to loose. We used a mixture of 50/50 half Elmer’s white glue & half water, tore the brown Kraft paper into stone shaped pieces, only glued the back and put it on the floors, let it dry, then put 5 coats of poly on top, we lucked out & found poly on clearance at Lowes for $5.00 a gallon. Did the entire 2000 sq. ft, what I loved was the different shades you got after the poly, mind you we didn’t use stain, just paper, glue & poly. I still have this floor and I have had many people go home with paper and directions. After 14years it still looks good, only had to patch a few spots over the years, but I love the look, the feel and the cleanup. No nasty carpet for me. Good luck to anyone who undertakes this. Also in my experience, the 50/50 glue stuck completly.

  179. I did not read all of the comments, but do you think this application would work in a bathroom?

  180. Julia Rummel says:

    I love the look of this flooring and have started doing this on my son’s bedroom floor. We are using the Red Rosin paper and because his room is the size of 21/2 bedrooms we have had to work on laying the paper seperate evenings. At this point you can definitely tell where we started and stopped. Just wondering how long it takes to completely dry and how to fix it if those places do not blend in. We were not planning on staining. Thanks!

    • I used this site primarily when deciding whether or not to do my floors and what techniques to use. I was feeling pretty good about doing my whole house, 1600 sq. ft., until I read the recent comment about the 2000 sq. ft. house ;-) Anyway, I’m just concluding my whole house, having removed white carpet and white vinyl in bathrooms and kitchen, and I like it very much. I’ll do a lengthier post another time (I hope this is not an empty promise) because this site has become the de facto repository for collective wisdom on this subject, but for now I”ll just touch on a couple things.

      I used the lighter colored red rosin paper from Home Depot. It is more of a honey red on the roll, although it does darken with glue and poly. It’s not as warm a red as I’d like, more brick color than wood color, but it still looks great.

      Overlapping glue and stain is a problem. If you glue a section and then come back and glue another section a day or more later, there will be a dark line where the fresh glue overlaps the dried glue of the already applied paper. For this reason, it’s best to lay all the paper in a room at one shot. If you have to join a new section to an old, try not to slop much glue over where the new section joins the old, and use a rag to mop up the extra and it’ll blend ok. If you end up with a fat dark line, as I did in my first room, you can apply enough pieces to break up the line, making sure you don’t slop the glue past the piece you’re laying down, and it’ll obscure the line enough, especially after applying the polyurethane.

      It’s because I was doing the whole house, and because of this overlap problem, that I decided to go with the red rosin paper and NOT stain. So many people have reported problems with stain overlapping creating darker sections that I decided to avoid this whole potential problem. The tradeoff is that I have a floor that is not my dream color, but it’s pretty darned nice anyway.

      • Ok, so here’s part 2 where I go into a few more details about how I did my floors.

        First, I really think, as long as you can get the paper to stick to the subfloor, that this is pretty idiot proof (I’m the proof). Imperfections? Color discontinuity? Ridges? It’s a *handmade* floor, it’s supposed to look handmade, and the imperfections are beautiful. If you don’t want a rustic, natural look, lay down some tile or some vinyl. Otherwise, embrace the flaws. This floor really is a special snowflake, and polyurethane makes everything look great in the end.

        In addition to the lighter red rosin paper, I used Elmer’s Glue in a two parts water to one part glue mixture. I used gallons of the stuff, and there was some variability in the quality of the glue. I stuck to the water mixture hoping for a consistent look throughout the house, and in spite of my efforts, one gallon of glue must have been more diluted than the others and a major room is lighter in color and less veined. Read the preceding paragraph and embrace this artisanal floor. It still looks great.

        I didn’t stain the paper. The 2 to 1 water/glue mixture darkened the paper wrinkles just fine. The floor has the marble/leather texture that you’ve seen in pictures. If I were using the regular brown kraft paper, I would’ve stained because there’s no getting around that it looks like a paper bag unstained.

        Other materials: I used Varathane High Traffic Formula water-based poly in Satin. I tried the stuff that Rachael recommended, the Pro Finisher, and I probably got a bad (old) gallon, but it tended to dry hazy unless “just so”, and never looked as good as the Varathane. The Varathane was very forgiving in application and I really had to leave a pool of the stuff to get any discernible hazing. I live in Nevada, for reference, and it’s pretty dry here.

        Because this is a rough floor, I wasn’t concerned with air bubbles in the finish because they wouldn’t be visible, so I used a roller to apply the poly. Specifically, I used the Wooster Brush R209-9 Candy Stripe Roller Cover 1/4-Inch Nap, 9-Inch, available at Amazon and other fine establishments, but any short nap “mohair” roller would probably work. The Wooster roller has been super, though, and two rollers have gotten me through the entire house.

        I went with 10 coats, which I think is crazy overkill. But it’s a labor-intensive job that I never want to do again, so overkill is ok. It may be that the roller lays a heavier coat than a brush, and the floor is nicely shiny and feels bulletproof.

        BEFORE I STARTED ON THE FLOOR: I bought some scrap sections of 1/4″ particle board and tried different papers and different glue mixtures and even some stain, and I spent many days doing this, before I finally began to do the work in earnest. This saved me a lot of grief, I know, but there was still grief to be had here and there, and I’ve patched a few places already and will patch some more when I can.

      • I just finished the last two rooms. Ten coats rolled on with tears and sweat and a few hairs. Only I will see the hairs, and they’re there forever. So how much poly is ten coats rolled on? There are many ways to apply this stuff, from brush to pad to rag, but with a roller I used about 15 gallons of poly for about 1600 sq. ft. So, to be conservative, if you roll this stuff on and do ten coats, you’ll need about a gallon for every 100 sq. ft. Does that jibe with what everyone else is getting if they do lots and lots of coats or even, as Rachael has done, a dozen coats? I don’t know. But there’s one data point for you.

        • Cheryl Jenkins says:

          Hi M. Lee – can you please post pics? I’d love to see the result.

          • Sorry about the late reply…scrambling to finish the job before family arrives this weekend. I plan to do a write-up with a few pics, and I’ll link back when I do.

  181. Hi Rachael,
    I hope you’re still answering questions on this page!
    I have a quick question about a repair. We just finished our floors. I’ve only put 4 coats, so far, of the poly on. Our floors had a lot of nails and screws that we could not get flush. So when papering over them, I tried to double the paper. I have one screw that’s already torn the paper. How do I patch? Should I try and cut the screw off close to the floor? And then do I use poly to repair or glue and poly? I’ve read where people said for repairs you use on poly. I didn’t stain b/c we loved how the glue darkened the paper. But if I don’t use glue will it be much lighter?
    Ugh! Help!!


    • Rachael Evans says:

      Tiffani- I would cut it or pull it out. If you keep the repair small, just glue some paper down and poly over it, that will probably yield the best result. You can also just use poly, but either way you may see a little difference. In the grand scheme of things, I doubt you’ll notice it though. Sometimes when the room is empty and we’re so focused on trying something new, every little imperfection jumps out. But trust me, my floors are not perfect. Once you put all the furniture back in, you’ll hardly notice. Good luck!

      • Thank you Rachel,
        After putting 2 more coats of poly (only 5 more to go now), the torn area is completely sealed.

        I absolutely LOVE my floors! Thank you soooo much for your detailed tutorial. Everyone who has seen them is amazed! Really couldn’t have done it without your blog.

  182. I am worried about problems with uneven staining. Im not looking for perfection, but I’m trying to minimize the affects of my lack of skill. I have read where some people use rit dye in the poly. Has anyone tried spraying the paper with dye, letting it dry and then gluing to floor and using the clear poly? I thought this MIT improve my chances of the stain going on more evenly. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Paula- How large is your area? I’m not 100% sure, but I think if you dyed the paper and then put it in glue, the glue would pull the dye out. The only way to find out is to test it though I guess. I know some people have had luck with the poly+dye method, but I would definitely test any idea you have in advance.

      • I am going to start in a closet, concrete subfloor In a 12×12′ room. After I see how this goes, the next project is upstairs with particle board subfloors. These are larger rooms, ~19×15′ and ~20 x 20′. I didn’t think about the poly pulling the dye out so thanks for the tip. I could try mixing the dye in the poly like some have suggested.
        Thanks again.

  183. I am getting ready to do my foyer…I am going to try to design a fleur de lis in the center as a focal point…because I am obsessed with Fleur De Lis…lol I am planning on staining the design a lighter color than my main stain (Red Mahogany) or I may stain my design pieces a few times before applying them so that the design is darker…I am going to attempt this over vinly….wish me luch!!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Good luck Mellanie- would love to see pics when you’re done!

      • Kelly Sanfratello says:

        Hi!! My husband and I just finished (still need mode coats of poly) out floors today…after 4 days! It is GORGEOUS!! However, all of our bedroom doors are connected to the area we did. So, the last coat of poly (coat 4) was 6 hours ago. It’s dry to the touch, but seeing that we had to get the kids to bed, walked very lightly, in socks, to their rooms. We’re noticing that we’re getting brown stains on the bottoms of our socks. Is this because we don’t have enough coats of poly on? Will it be better once we get 12+ coats on? Did you have any issues with the stain coming off onto you get fit a period of time?? HELP!! Thanks :)

  184. Jane Martin says:

    As a professional painter/finisher for over 35 years, I would highly recommend letting the oil-based stain sit to dry for 72 hrs. rather than just overnight or 24 hours. Some of these products need to not only ‘dry’ but, they also need time to ‘cure’, and that could be where people are running into issues with cloudiness.

  185. I love the given sample in this post. It is not often that we see such flooring type when we visit our friend’s home and you can tell by the looks of it that the owner maintains the flooring well. Thanks for sharing!

  186. This is amazing! I’m pinning! Little Bit from

  187. My wife discovered this and I’m contemplating it for a basement kids room. Since it’s a kids room, I’m actually contemplating putting down the paper and letting them paint/draw/whatever all over it then doing the poly. A few questions for whoever might know:

    How hard is it to rip up when I need to get rid of the kids’ art in favor of something more traditional at sale time?
    How durable is it? Kids room with a play area for a 3 year old and a dog who walks around there. Also my treadmill is in the corner.
    Can you vacuum it or is the a sweep only floor?

  188. I’m basically paper sacking everything! I’m a man, who lives with my three dogs, and I want a man cave. THe only way to achieve that on a strict budget is through paper sacking the whole house! That’s right…I’ve done my counters, my book shelves, my coffee table, floor and now I’m doing my fridge. Yes, thats correct. I’m paper sacking that old white ugly fridge!!!

  189. I saw in the posts, a while back, that someone suggested maybe using Marine Varnish for a bathroom, for added durability. I’m wondering if anyone has ever tried this. Also I’m wondering if the Marine Varnish takes the place of the stain or the poly or both?

  190. Hi Rachel
    I hope you get a chance to look a this.. I just finished papering my floors…they look pretty good, except we had some nails in the floor, flat head nails, my husband tapped them down (per your instructions) BUT he didnt put any filler over them .. MY FAULT.. I didnt even think about it…so now they are showing through…can I use spackle on the paper and then patch with a new piece of paper?

  191. are you able to do something like this on particle board?

  192. I am in the midst of completing my main stairway and am loving the results! However, I am wondering how to do small repairs as the dog’s nails scratched a few places on my first 7 of 15 treads and I am worried about the wear factor. I have stained mine and used 8 coats of poly. I think the dog walked on them before they cured..?? Any thoughts? Thank you for all of your inspiration! :)

  193. Bridgette says:

    Can this be removed? I live in an apartment and would like to do some improvements. The land Lord said I could but had to be asked to be removed. Awesome idea.

  194. Would this work on a plywood sub floor with in floor heating?

  195. Hi Rachael,
    I am praying you see this because I’m in a bit of a panic. We finished up our concrete floor about 8 hours ago and the glue is dry to the touch, but there are still lots of wrinkles. I locked the door to avoid looking at it, as I’ve read that a lot of the wrinkleswork themselves out. I am praying that’s the case, but if the wrinkles are still there later, can we proceed with the staining and poly? Will they settle down into flat wrinkles or should we cut and reglue? We don’t care about deep wrinkles as long as everything is flat and smooth after our ten coats of poly. Your thoughts?? Thank you!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Laura,

      It does tend to wrinkle more on concrete, hopefully it’s flattened out by now. I’ve never had problems with lingering wrinkles.

      • I just covered my linoleum kitchen floor with cookbook pages this weekend, and I have a *ton* of wrinkles. Some I can cut and reglue, but others are more like ridges where it looks like the paper is glued to itself. I won’t be able to cut and reglue those. Any suggestions for how to smooth out the wrinkles? I have a lot of the glue mixture left over. I wonder if putting down another coat of glue would help?

  196. I love this look and idea! Thanks for all your detailed explanations. I only have one room left in the house that needs updated flooring and the brown leather look just won’t go there – guest bathroom. Have you heard of anyone having luck with other papers? I would love to do the bathrrom in a lighter color or even a pattern. Thanks for any ideas you ir your loyal followers have!

  197. How did you get the cloudy look up? Did you simply just go over it with more poly? I am stuck at a cloudy first layer and scared to go any further.,,

  198. Mandy Knollenberg says:

    Thanks Rachael for the step by step! We have light oak floors in our house and I am wondering if anyone had used white craft paper instead if brown, and then stained it a light color? Thanks! I can’t wait to try it.

    • Dorothye58 says:

      White craft paper is fine, use equal parts water to glue in the glue mix and don’t try to scrimp too much on the glue, the only two places mine lifted much was where I tried to make the glue go for one more piece. . .

  199. Dorothye58 says:

    Rachael, you inspired me and I made mine bright and cheerful. I love it. We’re walking on it now after a week since last coat of poly. I did mine with white paper and Rit Dye in squirt bottles and a mop, blue and green, with a little pink since my counters are peach with wine, blue and green flowers periodically. Thank you for inspiring me. It feels so nice soft and smooth but not slick. Rubber floor $1500 was my online quote, vinyl with a seam around $400, seamless paper floor, Awesome $160 using 3 cans of poly and shipping. Hubby even is impressed with it, he says it took a lot of my time, but he likes it and especially the price tag.

  200. Important note when using the polyurethane only method for concrete floors: The polyurethane MUST be water-based! Oil-based does not work at all.

  201. I’m in the process of doing this flooring in our homeschool room-Prep work right now, but hopefully we want to do our entire downstairs. Unfortunately, there are seams and a lip where our carpet and linoleum meet- I wanted to just rip out carpet, paper, then paper over the linoleum. What do you suggest I do at the lip? I really do not want to take out all of the linoleum- any help is appreciated! Love your site, can’t wait to try my hand at the board and batten next! Thanks so much!

  202. Rachel Cartwright says:

    Can i do this over lenoleum? or should i just tear up the lenoleum? I dont want to tear it up if i dont have to. Any helpful tips would be great!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Rachel- sure can, just rough up the surface with sandpaper and be sure to install quarter round around the edges (it will peel eventually, otherwise).

  203. I’m in the process of doing this for the first time. I found a few spots that after I allowed drying time, I felt I needed to go back and retouch. Upon the touchups drying, they dried a lighter shade than all the rest. Once the polyurethane dry will it all be the same color??

  204. I didn’t read all comment yet, but I will for sure!!!

    We want to try that in a bar… so I’ll be interested about duration of the “product and method” Yes it’s maybe not for 50 years in all condition but could I think to be ok for at least 2-5 years! I’m not looking for warranty, but… good thinking ;o).

    And could you give more information about paper use or suggest, because the link above doesn’t seems to work anymore…

    Thanks and I hope it’s not question already asked!?!

  205. Hi
    I am doing this in the majority of a new house. I don’t live near any big box stores, so I had a friend pick up the paper for me at home depot. It is called builders sheathing paper. Is this the right stuff? It is thicker than I was expecting. Also anyone have any idea how many rolls and glue I will need for around 2000 square feet?

  206. What color stain was used in Ryan’s room and in the hallway/guest room?

  207. Chris Richardson says:

    Hi there, I have used your method quite successfully on bathroom walls and concrete floors. I didnt use stain tho and i’m now wanting to do a feature wall in the loungeroom but i want it to look like slate (i’m going to have a water feature in the middle to provide moisture in the air and this will have slate like tiles behind it) can you please advise whether (in your experience) it’s possible to turn brown paper into a charcoal colour and if not what my choices might be.
    Thanks Chris

    • Chris, I don’t think you will be able to get brown paper to look grey. You can get rolls of heavy white paper from Amazon. I would use that and look for grey stain. If you can’t find grey stain, try diluting grey or black paint to use like a wash instead. Experiment on scraps of the white paper first to make sure you get the look you want. How do you plan to make the “grout” lines?

      I thought about using white paper and staining it a light color for my kitchen. Instead, I used cookbook pages! I just glued the pages down this weekend, so once I figure out what to do about all the wrinkles, I’ll coat it with a sealer.

  208. I did something similar almost 20 years ago to hide my ugly orange glue-down carpet stairs…Instead of paper, I used plain canvas glued directly over the carpet. I painted the canvas, the sponge painted it using cheap latex paint. Then 3 coats of poly urethane. These are high traffic stairs from our kitchen to our basement office/playroom. They have lasted all these years, and are easily cleaned by sweeping and damp mopping. People always ask what our stairs are covered with because they are comfortable to walk on and very quiet. I can’t wait to try the torn paper over the glue down carpet in my basement!

  209. Elizabeth says:

    I steam mop my kitchen floors, Would love to do this in my kitchen/bathrooms. Anybody steam mop it successfully?

  210. valerie says:

    I did this flooring with the pages of a novel. turned out AWESOME!!!

  211. we just finished doing our whole upstairs, and it is awesome. I want to carry on down the stairs, but my husband is afraid it will be to slippery. Does anyone have any input on this. Much appreciated.

  212. Hello,

    Awesome work. We love this idea and will be doing the whole house. The question I can’t seem to find an answer to is, what happens to adjacent rooms when the stain and poly is dry in one room and you stain the next room? Meaning, if we finish the bedroom and it dries completely, then we do the adjacent hallway will the transition between the two have dark lines from the stain or any other issue like that?

    Thanks for your help,


  213. Hi, we have run into a couple of problems with our paper bag floor. We used the brown paper on the rolls, Elmer’s glue & water 3 to 1 mix. Our original floors are concrete. The paper & glue has bonded and stuck to our floor perfectly. We are doing a 600 square foot rec room downstairs. We let the glue and paper dry for several weeks before applying the stain. We used Minwax honey colored stain and applied it with the lambs wool mopping method. After letting that dry for about 3 weeks we started applying Varathane, high gloss, water based, floor finish. We applied 5 coats, waiting about 6 to 8 hours in between to make sure it was dry. After the 4th coat floor was beautiful, it looked like reddish colored rock with clear water standing on it. After the 5th coat was applied and dry we ended up with a cloudy finish. We thought that if we waited it may dry more and become clear again. After two weeks it was very slightly more clear. There were a couple of spots with some small bubble and I attempted to lightly brush/sand the area to apply another coat over it. That was when we realized the poly was not adhered to the floor. It peeled off like a bad sunburn. It would peel up in pieces as tall as me and 3 feet wide. the areas under pieces as we would take the poly up looked dark & after it sat for several hours would lighten almost as if it was not dry underneath. There were areas that would not come up as easy and we found that sticking packing tape down in wide strips and pulling it up would strip the poly and would not hurt the flooring. There are areas of the floor that I have been trying to touch up where the stain looked lighter or scratched, would like to get it so that it looks darker, the way it did in the beginning. We are now at the stage where we have to make a decision on what to do next. We are afraid to use the water based poly because it did not stick for us. We are contemplating using an oil based poly, although I know that some people have reported blotching. I have read that you can mix oil based stain into oil based poly. I am thinking that if we mixed our honey colored stain into the first coat of poly that it would help with our color, and then we could use the clear high gloss oil based poly for the rest of our coats. Wondering if anyone out there has tried mixing the stain & poly? I know there are products premixed, but not in our color and only available in small cans. Our local paint store said that it may be better to use just coat it in epoxy instead of poly. I have researched this a bit, it is poured on, and levels itself, it only takes one coat and is ready to use in a day. The part that worries me is the heat that is generated in the epoxy once it is mixed & how it will react with the Elmer’s glue & paper bond. The other draw back is that is expensive. We would love to hear any ideas or if anyone has used the oil based poly or epoxy. We need to move on and get this project finished, we have been working on our floor for 3 months with all of the set backs. Any help would be appreciated:)

  214. WOW!!! I LOVE MY FLOOR!!! I spent about an hour staring at it last night and it looks AMAZING! I’ve only reached the staining part of the project (it took two days to get the paper down because I used smaller pieces). I am going to let the stain dry all week and poly next weekend.

  215. My husband found this post when we were out of money and stuck with a concrete floor in the room we were doing up. So we decided to give this technique a go and so far so good. All the paper is down, next we need to do the polyurethane. Backbreaking work, but so worth it. What a wonderful idea – thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience!

  216. Craft Paper from Hobby Lobby. Put it on leveled concrete floor using TiteBond III Waterbased glue. 3:1 mixture worked just fine. One month after I did this, I had both knees replaced. Labor intensive but so very worth it. 3 layers of paper and 5 coats of the waterbased Polyurethane. The instructions here are the bomb. Well-done.

  217. I just ripped out carpet and ready to put this over my cement slab. I have a few questions. My concrete has carpet glue and padding remnants stuck to it. What is the best way to remove this? Also, my slab is shiny and smooth not rough. Do I need to roughen it up by sanding it first? I’m so excited I want to start this soon. My kitties have torn up my carpet they are in for a shock with these floors. LOL

  218. Deanna Divino says:

    Ok, I’ve been reading for two hours! Thank you and all the comments for making me feel 104 times better about starting this project. We have about 330 square feet to do.

    I have a question: I read, what I think is, all the comments and couldn’t find much response or feedback on painted concrete floors. We painted them a while back. I was wondering if I should just scuff them up a bit with sand paper first? And I believe we did a single coat of poly over them.. or maybe not. Ha. Do you think this would matter? Any feedback on going over paint?

  219. Hi!
    We are planning on doing this on out plywood floor for the master bedroom. But we also have a living room that has ASBESTOS TILE (a lovely surprise when flooded carpet was removed), will these same steps work for over the tile? Any help would be appreciated!

    Thank you!

  220. karen abramovitz says:

    I have bamboo flooring throughout most of my house and a couple of rooms need the floor replace due to gouges, stuff spilling on them and boys hiding it from site…would I be able to apply the paper bag floor directly on top of the bamboo or would I need to remove it first?

  221. I love the given sample in this post. It is not often that we see such flooring type when we visit our friend’s home and you can tell by the looks of it that the owner maintains the flooring well. Thanks for sharing!

  222. Hi,
    I have the cream colored packing paper… Will that work as well? I guess I should have asked Friday as my bathroom floor has already been striped and sanded, I am now gluing the paper down. It looks good but you can see the wood under it.. Do you think the Cherry stain will cover the wood look?

  223. I have read every bit of this and have learned soooo much from everyone- Thank You! Heather (7/23/12) had used a Rustoleum Garage Floor Coating and was very pleased. Has anyone else tried this method? I sure would like to hear more!
    I am especially curious as to how to stop at a doors edge. In other words rather than room by room with a connecting hallway, would the epoxy have to be done all at once.
    It’s rather pricey, so I don’t want to jump into it without a little more thought.

  224. Audra Mills says:

    I did the paper flooring over the top of wood. I stained it and used Pro Finish water-base polyurethane. I used a pad applicator. I have done three coats and on spots it is cloudy. Should I get another gallon and coat again? Or sand it first?

  225. OK, so I am trying to figure out how much Paper, Glue, Stain & Poly I will need. My area is about 450 square feet. I see that it was mentioned above that you did about 650 square ft in your home. Can you tell me what size stain you bought & how many containers you used on 650 sq ft? How many rolls of paper did you need? How many gallons of Glue and Poly you used? If you could possibly respond, I’d really appreciate it – I can’t wait to get started in this!!

  226. I’m not sure if you’re still checking back here, but I just want to say THANK you for this amazing tutorial, Rachel! My boyfriend and I bought our first house a few months ago, and to say it was a dump would be kind. The only redeeming quality was that the floors were all original beautiful hardwood — but everything else in the place needed a complete overhaul! The kitchen cupboards were in rough shape, and my original plan was to strip the paint and whitewash them to give the space a ‘beachy’ feel since new cupboards were certainly not in our budget. After trying (in vain) to strip one of the doors, realizing they had been painted at least 7 times, I was back to square one. I really didn’t want to paint them AGAIN since they already had that ‘thick’ look from too much paint, and then I stumbled across your tutorial on Pinterest and decided to try the technique on my cupboards. All I can say is — WOW! The result is better than anything I could have hoped for, and it cost me next to nothing since I already had the Poly from another project. I only did two things differently from your tutorial: I didn’t sand the surface (I pasted right over the paint and it adhered just fine) and I didn’t stain my paper (I really liked the color it dried and let’s be honest: I’m lazy) I get so many compliments from people who visit, and no one can believe it is simply brown paper and glue. I did about five coats of poly and they are durable and hard. My mom loved it so much she recently had me help her to a built in bookshelf that really needed a face lift! So thanks again for the excellent tutorial! So now people know — cupboards are definitely doable!

  227. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for putting such a GREAT Brown Paper Flooring Guide on your blog! I have now successfully “Paper” 1,350 SF in my home b/c of YOU! All 1,350 SF is over Concrete! It works great on Concrete subflooring so all your readers who want to know, I use 2 parts water to 1 part glue. Also, I start applying the poly after the stain dries 2 hours. I only wait an hour between poly coats but have found that it is plenty dry after 45 minutes. I am so happy with the floors and they are very durable and look fabulous. The pics are on my FB page here: Thanks again for teaching us how to do this!

  228. Thank you so much for such a great “Ultimate Brown Paper Flooring Guide” I have done 1,350 sf in my house so far and ALL on concrete subfloors! I used 2 parts water, 1 part glue and it works wonderfully.

  229. Wow. I think this is amazing. I saw someone do a faux-wood floor with this paper. (Corn in My Coffee). They started out with strips of various lengths that they glued down, but after the glue dried, they took furniture touch up markers and drew the lines for the faux planks. They did not follow the lines of the original strips of paper, but drew on their own. It looked so cool. Not to fool anyone, but still so cool. Well, I wondered… what if a girl rolled out the paper from the roll, didn’t cut it, but crumpled it width-wise, and then applied it to the floor like wall paper—in one continuous strip…. And then, when it’s dry, covered it again the same way, to add thickness and cover any parts where gaps show….. Then, then drew the lines for a faux wood plank floor, then stained it, then poly, poly, poly, etc.? (My hubby has patience and a steady hand and could do the lines. Me… not so much.) My reasoning is that if we’re going to have to draw the lines anyway, then why make the strips in the first place? And man alive, wouldn’t it be just lightning fast to get the paper on the floor that way? (Offset, yes, by the putziness of drawing the lines.) Please, if you find the time, let me know what you think the possible pros or cons of this would be. Thanks for the awesome tutorial and great pictures.

    :) Helen

  230. I cannot wait to try this in my home. We had cheap yucky carpet in here when we bought the place and concrete underneath. I’m going to start in the closet first and see how it goes! Thanks for all the help!

  231. pattiemelt says:

    The main reason this fails on concrete is because concrete wicks moisture & the paper absorbs it. The glue dissolves in the moisture & turns white again (under the sealer) & the paper will start to mold. You can prevent these problems by using a good latex primer on the concrete after you fill, sand & clean the concrete. Kilz2 works, or Kilz Max if you have stains on the concrete that might seep through the paper. Just paint it on like you would a wall, let dry for 24 hours, then lay your flooring. I sell flooring & teach people how to install it themselves & I always recommend using a latex primer any time you install a glue-down flooring, even for glue-down carpet.

  232. pattiemelt says:

    This technique also works on walls, especially good over damaged wallpaper or paneling or where you want to cover uneven surfaces!

  233. Barbara Box says:

    My question is, do you think this floor treatment is durable enough for the kitchen? We have a very large family and the kitchen really get a workout.

  234. Hi!! Great FABULOUS idea!!! I live in Florida, and wondering if this would work on the concrete lania floor (screened outdoor room with floor to near ceiling screens on 3 sides, with a solid roof).
    Also, a possibility for the front entry stoop (outside concrete). I understand that it will probably need extra poly on the top (due to the elements) and yearly upkeep/coat of poly.
    Any thought?

  235. Hello Rachael,

    now that you’ve had that paper floor for a couple of years, how is it surviving to your dog ? Do his nails dig deep enough to actually expose the glued paper ?

    I think the floor looks great but I have a 50lbs boxer mix myself and I’m afraid that the floor wouldn’t survive even a year … :-O


  236. Hi Rachel! Just wanted to say you inspired me so much that I have now done almost 1400 SF of brown paper flooring in my home ON CONCRETE!! We LOVE it and have gotten so many compliments on it. I posted our progress on my FB page as we went along and I referred all interested to your blog. Thanks again. You can see pics of my floors here:

  237. I was wondering. I have a gap between the lauan and the trim. Could I possibly put newspaper down on the lauan and then do this technique over that, or would that not work at all? I was hoping the newspaper would add some insulation as well. Thoughts?

  238. I bought “natural kraft wax paper.” Will that work? That’s all that lowes had.

  239. I haven’t seen any comments on doing this over the top of painted wood floors. There are numerous coats of paint on this floor already, some potentially lead paint so we don’t want to strip it or sand it. I love the look of this and think it is a great alternative to just painting another coat on the floor. Any thoughts on prepping the floor before gluing down or do you think we could just go for it? Thanks :)

  240. I love this flooring idea, I was thinking of it for my cement basement, however, I have been known to flood on occasion…do you think this floor would hold up? I mean we get about 2-7 inches of water, maybe once a year, but it receeds quickly??? thoughts?

  241. Looks brill! Reminds me of tobacco leaves.

  242. Kell Leggott says:

    Help I have white patches after gluing. How do I fix this before I stain?

  243. Kell Leggott says:

    White spots on my floor after gluing. How do I fix this?

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Hi Kell, what type of glue did you use?

      • Kell Leggott says:

        I used Elmers. I have a couple spots that are white. I painted the floor with a floor paint that you mix the hardener with. and like I said its only a few spots. do you think I could put poly down then more paper? Lost at what to do

        • Rachael Evans says:

          Not sure what happened, I would glue paper over the spots if possible…before the poly, otherwise it won’t stick.

          • I’ve put paper on top of poly before. I had a bad spot and wanted to redo it. Sand first, then apply w/Elmers solution. Dry. Stain, poly, complete. This was a concrete kitchen floor. The stain d/n quite match but with age it has blended.

  244. Lori Piggott says:

    I just finished staining my paper floor. I used a different set of instructions that used a deck pad for application. It created uneven staining with pooled streaks that I didn’t see while applying the stain. Is there a way to fix the streaks?

  245. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is also very good.

  246. Larry Vaughn says:

    Has anyone tried this with non-brown paper. I want to recycle grey packing paper that I get with shipments to my store. Can I mix in children’s construction paper to make a multicolored floor? I’d lay down the base color paper and seal it first so hopefully the colored paper would not bleed onto the base? And as opposed to reading a bizillion posts, does wallpaper adhesive work or not?

  247. what’s the difference in stain colors for march and the one for September.
    I love the look of September.

  248. So my wife did this to the upstairs floor of our split this past spring. It looked great, she worked hard and she was very happy. We live in an area where the winter’s are very cold. As the subfloor contracted recently, all of the seams cracked. Now if she repairs in this contracted state, the same thing will happen as the subfloors expand in warmer weather. Additionally, when doing the initial prep work, we didn’t follow a true carpentry nailing schedule when securing the subfloors, which may have also contributed to the vertical movement we are seeing between subfloor panels. When we filled the gaps with wood filler, we didn’t think about change over temperature.

  249. I am in the middle of cheap re-surface of poorly placed cheap tile to entry, kitchen, dining room, and then the rest of the house where carpet was removed. Painted the entire surface with green version of concrete paint, then used Novacolor acrylic polymer medium, rated for masonry, wood, canvas, #206 Gloss Medium and varnish, with tinting of mix of Burnt Umber and bit of Burnt Sienna. Alternated with adding Hooker green/blue to add dimension. Non toxic.

  250. Jennifer K says:

    I just did our family room and my poly is peeling. I think I have 5 layers. Its a Verathane Polyurathane Floor Finish. Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong and suggestions on what to do.

  251. I was wondering what color stain you used on your main stairwell in the picture that’s dated for September 2011? I really like the marble look and would love to do this to my kitchen. Also do you recommend me removing the lanoleum first. Thank you in advance for your help.

  252. Hi, I would love to try the paper bag technique on my kitchen countertop. I have 50′s style white with gold flecks and would like to try this method. Maybe you have had someone ask this before but there are so many comments I may have missed it. Do you think I would need to do any sanding of the old Formica prior to gluing the paper? I am cautious however of using any bleach or vinegar to clean the countertops…thoughts?

  253. What is the color stain used in the September photo of your stairs

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Minwax Dark Walnut is the only stain I’ve used on my paper floors. The basement stairs are the natural paper. Hope that helps!

  254. Casey Harris (C.H. SCARLETT) says:

    I almost cried when I saw this. Literally. We have been remodeling and we are trying to buy another house that will have to be remodeled. Back when I was younger (I am 40 now) things seemed a lot cheaper if you did it yourself or made it yourself. Now, not so much. When I found these floors– and how wonderful they look–I felt a bit of hope again. Thank you so much and for all of the many pictures!!!!

  255. I didnt see this mentioned, what gauge paper do you use?

  256. Michael Johnson says:

    I am about to start my bathroom with brown paper bag floor. Just wanted to know ,should I just lay it down on wood subfloor??; or would it be ok to put down underlayment first?? I was thinking about just a softer surface. I anyone could let me know if that would be cool or not I would be greatful . Thank you..

    • Rachael Evans says:

      I put mine directly on the wood, I’ve never tried to do it over underlayment…but if you try it let me know how it works out!

  257. I love this flooring!!!!!!
    I am attempting to do this on a concrete sub floor. My question is, after I have removed the carpet and padding, there is over spray of paint all over the floor. Do I have to remove the paint, or can I just put the paper on top of the paint?

  258. Lisa Melvin says:

    Can you stain the paper before you start gluing it?

  259. This looks great! I am thinking of doing this to my bar wall, where the barstools are. Do you think this technique would work on painted drywall?

  260. I want to do this on my staircase. It is currently carpeted and it’s builders grade underneath. Nothing pretty! When you did your stairs did you just go around the nose of the tread? Mine are very rough and I’ll sand them first, but will the technique make them look fabulous?


  262. Can I use this for a backslash in my kitchen? Have you ever applied it to walls?

  263. Did you do your whole house in the dark walnut stain? (Other than the basement stairwell.) And has anyone done this with a cherry stain? If so can I please get pictures?! :-) thank you!

  264. Does anyone have pets that has done this to their floors? If so, how does it hold up with wear and tear and the occasional cleanup from the potty mishaps? Thanks Rhonda

  265. Can you do this to a wall, like a splash guard for a kitchen?

  266. I have pets and was just wondering if the paper flooring would hold up under the dog nail and cat nail conditions… I think it would be a great idea…

  267. I am loving this treatment and am excited to try it but I had a question. We live in a mobile home and I was wondering if I go down to the sub flooring am I going to lose heat? I am knew to the diy stuff and am just wanting to make sure that by taking away a layer I am not creating a bigger heating bill. This may be a stupid question… TIA

  268. I just laid this over the tile floor in my breakfast area and I love it! The grout lines do show, but it doesn’t bother us and the finished product reminds me a bit of etched stained concrete. The original tile was an awful beige/terra cotta checkerboard pattern that had been heavily waxed at some point and just looked terribly dirty and scratched as the wax was coming up. It was going to cost upwards of $500 to get it cleaned up, and as we’re prepping our house for the market and facing a bathroom remodel, that was pretty low on the list. Then I found this. Love! I did about 300 sq ft for right at $100. I’ll share photos when I get some taken!

  269. Just wanted to share that this is a great idea. I have a very old house and did this in my hall upstairs and my stair way. I added a twist to it for my daughter’s room. I used the paper as a base and then painted her whole floor. Then I used scrapbooking paper to make it look like tile and used poly over that. The end result is so awesome! My daughter loves her floor. If I could post a picture of it here I would so you all can see.

  270. Am I reading this correctly? 12 coats of poly are recommended? Given dry times, wouldn’t this take more like 12-13 days per room vs. the 3-4 stated in the tutorial? I’d love to try this, but I’m not sure if I could handle having to poly 12 times. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  271. Great technique – looks fantastic in the pictures

    have 2 quick questions;
    Is the floor still standing up to wear and tear? – We have a 70 lb dog
    What product did you use to fill the floor? – I have seen several posts about bleed though from below

    Thanks for your help

  272. Mina Ladrillono says:

    Hi, the end result looks really awesome! Would love to replace my old carpet and try this project. I wonder though, will it lessen or add value to your home? THANKS! :)

  273. Malene Brixum says:

    I would really like to try this, but i have a question. Have you done this on heated floors? If you haven´t, do you know if it works on plywood on heated floors? I really love what you have done in your house, it looks amazing :)

  274. Will it work on linoleum floors?

  275. Joni Nibbelink says:

    Is the Elmer’s glue in this tutorial regular white school glue or wood glue?

  276. hi I love what you did. I would like to know if I can apply it to ceramic or porcelain tiles. if so can you please mail me all instructions an pics or video
    if possible. appreciate it thanks

  277. I have been searching for inexpensive alternative ideas for replacing my carpets and floors without having to spend 3,000 @ $3 sq ft. When I came across this decoupage and found out a lady has been doing this as a commercial application. This is what sold me other than the fact this is the coolest most beautiful floor I’ve seen, not to mention different. I did not want the typical floor everyone has. I want to be different. Soooo, I started this in my daughter playroom and used the stain like you did. Gorgeous! It came out looking like yours. Now I haven’t started the poly yet tonight I plan to. The only problem I had, and I know now, I didn’t prep my edges on the subfloor good enough, because I had a little lifting. I tried to fix as best as I can so I think after I replace the baseboard it should fix it enough. The next to rooms I’ll do the edges first and wait till they dry to make sure no lifting then finish the center. Now I found using the brush for the stain worked easier and a rag to wipe it off (of couse the dry paper is very rough) so using the rag you still had to be careful. I plan on trying to do my kitchen and livingroom also. I also plan on 12 coats of poly.

    • Heidi Earl says:

      Well I got my daughter’s playroom done, however I have some lifting along the edges and wrinkles in the paper which were there before I stained. I didn’t prep the floor very good. So not sure if I will redo it or do the repairs that I found out how to do by searching online.
      I did just finish the paper on her bedroom floor and this time I took care to prep the floor and the paper is perfect! It is smooth, no wrinkles and the edges are all glued down. Tonight I stain it.
      Now let me tell you it takes practice and a room to get the second room this good. Can’t wait to do my bedroom.
      So, how to lay the paper?! Well, 1st I found using 2:1 ratio (water:glue) worked best. The paper wasn’t to watery. The edges along the wall brush the subfloor with glue 1st then the back side of paper and lay the paper down and kinda smooth out with hand (as your hands are sticky) then brush the glue on top. Now gently lift the paper up (not all the way leave and edge down) and using your hand smooth the top to push bubbles out and continue as u lay the paper back down and continue to smooth as much bubbles out as u can. Make sure your paper is flat – a little bit of wrinkling will happen on some so have like 3 sections to work on and let those pieces dry – Do not lay another piece down on a wrinkled one. This is why I did like 3 sections. Take your time with the paper as this is the most crucial and toughest part of the project. The rest is easy. (I did not do this in the 1st room – playroom – I tried to flatten and continued to lay paper even though it was wrinkled. It stay wrinkled and I didn’t realized “daa” I should have tried to fix it then.)
      I do have to say her playroom the floor is smooth where the paper is not wrinkled that poly on it is hard – I really can’t see why not do it in the kitchen or livingroom. My livingroom is not high traffic but my kitchen is.
      I hope this helps to anyone wanting to do this project!
      Good Luck! I’ll post again after I do the stain and poly.

  278. Paula Postlewait says:

    How do transition between the flooring and say a carpet room? I’m going to do this in my living room and hallway however I have 6 doorways to transition. I’m excited to do this!

    • Heidi Earl says:

      There is floor molding strips – you can get at Home Depot/Lowes. They should have a couple of choices to choice from. We have them.

  279. I am looking to do a 260 sq ft. Room approx how many gallons of polyerthene would it take to do at least 12 coats?

    • Heidi Earl says:

      I just did about 110 sq feet it took 1 gallon for 10 coats – um lets see the room is 10 x 10 closet 4 x 3 – My quess get 3 gallons to be sure. And use 12 coats. I did 10 in her playroom and it’s great but her bedroom I’ll do 12 coats. When you get the pads for the mop by 3 and use them for 4 coats only. It seems to cover the best this way.

  280. Hi! I did not see this in the comments anywhere.. I have scoured the web for help.. and don’t see it.
    We did the first couple of steps. Our plywood had horrid stinky pee stains on it so we sealed it with Kilz before starting. I did the saturating method, my husband rolled glue on floor, and then back of paper and put down. HUGE differences. We used a watered down wallpaper glue.
    We are having problems with the paper NOT sticking in random places. It is worse where I did the saturation method, than his, but both areas have random spots where the paper did not stick. We tried regluing those pieces, but they just don’t seem to want to stick! My husband got frustrated and stained the room. Amazing difference in the two areas as far as effect, but still paper is not sticking. He has tried to go back in and glue them down, but no way no how.
    Will the poly hold it down, or should we rip out those pieces and try again?

    • Heidi Earl says:

      Rip those pieces out and redo before u poly and used elmer’s all-purpose glue 2:1 like 1cup of glue to 2 cups water or 1:1. Sounds like you are trying to glue over paint and it will. But do fix it before the poly you will be glad you did. Trust me!
      Good Luck!
      (and see my post for a little more info)

  281. I actually did this and I love the final results. Thank you for sharing your blog. I, did, however have several challenges, which required me to re-paper 3 different times. It was definitely a learning experience and I sure wish I had known some of the things before I started. :) I actually wrote a blog about my experience in case anyone else is thinking about doing this. I learned a few good lessons.

  282. Just completed my paper bag floor, it looks great! I will be doing the same thing for an adjoining room. The only thing I’m going to change is the glue mixture, next time I will go with 2:1 mix. Also I stopped at 5 layers of poly.
    This is an easy project just very time consuming, love it.

  283. I am wondering I want to do this to a trailer im re dong but my concern is will this work on hard wood flooring?!?

  284. I wonder if it was re polyed every 1 to 2 yrs if it would last longer? It really wouldn’t be that much work to do. I would think it would be a lot like waxing your floor. Well not quite that easy but still not super hard.

    Has anyone had a dog pee on theirs? If yes, did it damage it badly?

  285. Quick question
    When sanding after the first coat and before the final coat, how do you suggest sanding? By hand or?

  286. So, I finally did my first paper bag floor. I had to redo the paper 3 times because of stupid mistakes, but man does it look beautiful! I cannot get over how much I love my floor. If anyone is interested in learning from the mistakes I made before taking on your own floor, you can read about my adventure here. I would love to hear from you! – Have fun and thank you so much for this awesome past. Mally

  287. Daniella says:

    What pound of kraft paper do you recommend?

  288. I did the instructions for concrete, love it but have huge wrinkles and bubbles even tho I painstakingly squeegeed ever single piece. I went ahead and poyled an entire gallon hopig that would hold it down to no avail. I also have a few edges sticking up. frustrated

  289. should I cut open bubbles or sand rough edges or just apply another gallon of poly?

  290. Okay-I tried reading through some comments to see if I could find an answer-with no luck. I put the paper down on my stairs last night but I have one spot that the glue won’t stick to. I’ve tried ripping the paper up and regluing and it’s still doing the same thing…any ideas on what I can do to fix this? I was hoping to stain today…

  291. Am doing the test run this weekend and stained this morning. I have some spots where the stain looks “pooled” now that it’s drying (it didn’t right after I applied the stein). Any thoughts about what caused this so I can avoid it when we do this for real?

  292. kjbuzzard says:

    Thank you so much for posting such a detailed post on the brown paper floor. I took your notes and did both my girls bedrooms and our guest bath. LOVE them. We are doing our living / dining-kitchen area this summer. THANK YOU. We would be living on ugly concrete if it weren’t for your inspiration.

  293. I presume you only did one room at a time; how did you transition into new rooms/areas? How did you ‘stop’ at a door way and blend into the new room/hall? Many thanks for all your advice here, I cannot wait to get this done!!!

  294. I just love the way your floors look with the paper. You did a wonderful job, you should be proud of all your work. I need to ask a few questions on this job. Do you know how it would be to paint the floor after you put the paper on ? Should I put the sealer on the paper first and then paint or paint the paper first and then add the sealer. I want to add a decorative border and design. I would love the texture of the paper and the painted look. I’m thinking about getting a wood graining tool, paint the floor and making the floor look like wood floors. Do you think it would work to do this? Thanks for any help you can give me

  295. Would laquer be a harder finish? If so, how many coats would be required? Would I need to sand between coats? What about combining it with poly as a finishing coat?

  296. Do I have to use brown builders paper or are there other options for paper. I want a light to natural colored floor how can I achieve this?

  297. Jessica says:

    Do I have to use brown builders paper or are there other options for paper. I want a light colored floor how can I achieve this

  298. Has anyone tried wall paper for this? I’ve seen some lovely stuff on clearance…

  299. Wow – I HATE my kitchen floor (can you envision faux brick linoleum).
    I’m wondering if I could do this OVER the linoleum. This would save me a ton of money and the kitchen’s not that big! GREAT tutorial on this!

    • Rachael Evans says:

      Nicki – You definitely can. I did it in my mom’s bathroom. Just scuff up the floor well.

  300. Allison says:

    Since it is now 2014 and you did this in 2011, how are the floors holding up so far? Just wondering if any of it is coming up etc…

  301. Michelle A. says:

    I’m curious about how many jugs of poly it should take to do a 12′x12′ bedroom. I’ve gone through two jugs and I’m only up to 8 coats. ??? Am I applying it too thick? I felt like I was putting it on in thin coats, but… Two jugs? At $40 per jug, this is becoming more costly than I thought it would be, especially if I still need to buy another one to finish the recommended number of coats.

  302. Stephanie says:

    Does anyone know how this would work over a presswood floor. I just looked and my floor under the carpet is press wood, not plywood. I plan on pulling carpet/pad, then using Kilz to seal the floor before doing anything else. My dogs have destroyed my carpet and I need to do something! I would love to try this, but everything I see says plywood. Thanks for any advice.

  303. Jacqueline says:

    I have seen other DIY projects like yours and can’t wait to try it because my carpet is disgusting and I can’t afford to put in wood floors (which I need since I have pets).

    I saw on another site how someone made their floor look like wood planks. Since I don’t want to go through the whole painting part of the paper, etc., I was wondering if wood grain wrapping paper would work or if it’s too hard to stick down with the glue. I found that Paper Mart sells it in large quantities. I want to save time and money by doing this. I also have limited mobility and feel that having the “wood look” already printed on the paper would be so much easier for me. Thanks for any advise you can give me.

  304. Beth Hayward says:

    Thanks so much for this detailed tutorial. I have made a deal with my husband; he helps me brown paper bag our floor and he gets an XBOX One!

    I’m in the UK and I’ve been looking for polyurethane. I can find some polyurethane based varnish or does it have to be 100% polurethane stuff?



  305. Joan, that that reddish paper you used looks amazing. I believe that’s called rosin paper and it’s pretty thick if it’s what I think it is.

  306. Belsy McDonald says:

    Hi, I have concrete floor, which method work best on these type of floor. Also, does Rosin paper without stain, does it look brownish leather? or red?

  307. I know the stain and poly will protect the floors but do u think I would have to worry about any animals that aren’t house broken? I don’t think dog urine would be that damaging, but I think the ammonia from cat urine would be pretty bad. can someone give me a bit of insight on this?

  308. Chris, If you find out, please let me know. I just posted the same question ;) bethsemails at


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