The Budget Decorator's Paper Bag
by Kathy Wilson
Sometimes one of the toughest
decorating challenges we have when we are on a budget is replacing old,
worn, or ugly flooring. If you have vinyl flooring that has seen
better days, or you just want more of a
natural or luxurious look in your rooms, hold on to your hat! I am going
to show you how to create a
faux leather floor from ordinary paper bags for the grocery store.
Paper bags or a roll of brown Kraft paper from the postal supply aisle
(enough to cover your entire floor, with some overlapping.)
Gallon of water based polyurethane
(I recommend Minwax Polycrylic or
or Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane)
Old work clothes
Strong Knees and Back
First off, put up the "Room Closed"
sing! I did my kitchen in the evening so the last coat of sealer would
have a chance to dry well before the kids and the dogs hit it in the
morning! Even better if you can keep
it closed off for 24 hours or more.
Now Clean the floor thoroughly...tsp
is a great idea here! It is normally used on glossy paint surface,
but will work well for these purpose. Rinse well. Let dry.
Tear your paper into irregular
sections in a size that is easy to handle. It is important to
tear, and not cut,
as that will give the natural edge you need for the look. Only use
the scissors to create a straight edge
on some pieces to line up against cabinets, walls, or a change in
flooring. Now crumple each torn piece
tightly, then smooth out. This will give it texture.
Pour a small amount of polyurethane
onto the floor where you will place your first piece, and smooth it
out it out with a brush, although I preferred to use my hands. Lay
the piece of paper down, add a little
poly to the top of the paper, and smooth down. Kind of like decoupage!
Now continue to lay down
papers each one slightly overlapping the other. Smooth out bubbles
as you go.
Your hand is the best tool for this.
If you find bubbles forming
underneath as the poly starts to dry, poke the bubble with a pin,
add a little poly, and smooth down.
Once you finish covering the whole
floor with paper, let the poly dry. If you want a darker color,
you can stain this with wood stain and a soft rag at this point.
Recoat the poly once each hour
until you have 4 to 6 coats of poly protecting your floor. This
should be allowed to dry overnight,
longer if possible.
When you notice the floor getting
dull, clean and add a maintenance coat of poly. Repairs are
easily made with another torn piece of paper bag laid right over the
Seal with poly.
Damp Mop when necessary, and it should last you years! Definitely
not your neighbors floor, and
all for the price of some polyurethane and some hard work. To see
a photo of this finished floor, visit
Budget Decorator readers have also used this floor treatment
successfully over ceramic tile and wood
subflooring. You can read about their experiences on our message
Do you want free tips and ideas for decorating your home on a budget?
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