Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paper Bag Flooring - DIY on Concrete Subfloor Tutorial

Who would decoupage paper bags to their bathroom floor and then spritz shimmer mist all over it? THIS girl that's who! Check out these before and after shots. This first one the before was the day we signed the contract to purchase this house... (that nastiness in the before image was still there when we closed on it too, welcome home... no CLEAN IT! LOL!). Got to love foreclosures, ya get what you can take.

The image below is a brief description of this tutorial. To see more instructions, tips, product supplies and mess ups with fixes please scroll down.

To PIN it on PINTEREST just click the image blow.

If  you have any questions please feel free to find me on Facebook or email me. Facebook is the easiest way for me to respond in a timely manner. Click on the image below to be taken to my Facebook Page, L. Grace Lauer Artist.

Lets get into it!

  • Floor scraper
  • Padded leather construction gloves
  • paper bags (lots of them... get what you need x2 and then get more) brown builder paper works too
  • Stain (if you desire to change the color of the paper bags and not leave them neutral)
  • Paint brush (x2 or x1 with a small roller handle and foam rollers)
  • White multipurpose glue that drys clear (I tried Helmar Decoupage and Craft Paste)
  • Water
  • Bowl to mix the glue into
  • Brayer (optional)
  • Polyurethane FOR FLOORS! (get enough to cover the sq ft of your floor x6 or more if it is a kitchen, laundry or bath)
  • Sander and sand paper (read back of polyurethane can to find grit size)
  • Sponge or cleaning cloth that will not leave fuzz, threads or pieces behind.

STEP 1: Tear up existing flooring. We had linoleum on concrete sub floors. To tear up the linoleum was nothing hard. Just grab and pull up. However, there was a sticky glue backing that was difficult and took some elbow grease to work through but it was not to bad with the proper tools. Get one of these hand held cement floor scrapers (found in the paint department). Make the floors smooth and patch any concrete that is cracked, low or chipped (you will find more chipping in areas with carpet on top of concrete from the tack strips). Let any patching dry allotted time on package and then sweep and clean the floor.

STEP 2:  Once clean put one thin layer of Polyurethane on the floor itself (the extra poly I had was a stained one, you can use clear) Let dry overnight.

STEP 3: When the Polyurethane on the concrete is drying take time out to watch a movie and enlist helpers. Turn up the Boob Tube really loud as you tear the paper into about 9"-12" pieces.

TIP: Strait edges go along the wall. It looks bad to have them in the middle of the floor. Try not to tear in a strait line. The paper may try to do that automatically but that can be corrected with some slight attention.

STEP 4: Crumble up each piece of paper 2-3 different times. Make them nice and flexible and soft.

STEP5: Brush a light coat of stain/poly mix  or a regular stain might work over one side of each piece of un-crumpled paper. Leaving about 30-45 min to dry prior to adhering them to the floor.

TIP: Do not leave them to dry over night. You will get smother results if you glue these down semi-dry. If you wait the edges of each sheet will have rough and even sharp edges that will need much more sanding to smooth later.

STEP 6: Mix your glue (50/50) with water. Try a test area. When you get it to adhere then glue down all the per-stained papers overlapping them by about 1/2 inch or so. Leaving NO holes to the concrete. (image on left below) NOTE: the video above at the beginning of the tutorial steps explains exactly how to apply the glue to the paper. The video below just shows me applying it in time laps with no explanation.

Here is an image of the "inprogress" non sealed floor in my kitchen. Notice in the photo on the left (image bellow) I have a lot of edges sticking up due to gluing these down after I let the stain fully dry for days. I recommend gluing down the pieces only several hours after staining the pieces. They worked much better when they were pliable not dry and crusty.   You may also notice in both images that there are light and dark pieces... this is all dry so this is what it looked like prior to sealing with clear poly. The clear poly tends to even out the tone a bit but I like how this is, gives it interests.

WARNING: make sure you test it first. I saw two vague online tutorials for concrete sub-floors. One said to use glue (50/50) and water... in the image below it worked okay. The second was a brief video and multiple comments on several pages that said if you "adhere" the paper down with polyurethane it will stick and swore that was the correct way to do it with concrete sub-floors, Um... it failed! I could not get the polyurethane to adhere the paper to the concrete. HOWEVER, I discovered in the area that I had tested the polyurethane adhesion the glue (50/50) water mix worked even better then when I applied it to the strait concrete floor. So I tried this in the next room and it worked beautifully! 


TIP: Use a crafting brayer to help evenly smooth out wrinkles while the paper is still wet from the glue.

STEP 7: (ABOVE IMAGE, right side) After you have glued the paper bags down to the flooring and let it dry. Spritz the top of the paper with a shimmer mist like the one pictured in the image below. This gives it a richer dimension and depth to the floor that is not there with just the stain. (you can see the results in the closeups below)

STEP 8: Let the flooring dry and check for areas that need patching.

Image: A crack where the papers did not overlap concrete is 
exposed, to repair just glue a larger per-stained piece of 
paper over the top of it and let dry.

STEP 9: Brush or roll on a few coats of Polyurethane FOR FLOORS, follow directions about sanding on the back of the can. I kept applying layers of polyurethane (after doing the last few steps when needed and returning to this step) until the floor was extremely smooth to walk on. It took 6-8 coats to do so. You may need more or less depending on how thick you apply them.

TIP: follow the application directions on can for best results.

STEP 10: Sand lightly with grit determined on the back of the can of polyurethane.

STEP 11: Rinse with sponge or cloth that won't leave pieces, threads or fuzz behind on the floor.

STEP 12: Repeat steps 9-11 until flooring is smooth.

Close up:

Before and after Kitchen:

UPDATE: after all was said and done the people I spoke to about the polyurethane and the big box store pointed me in the wrong direction. They showed me where the regular polyurethane was not the cans formulated for FLOORING! I had no bad experiences with the regular polyurethane preformed, but I did have to spend extra money on a gallon of the good FLOOR graded stuff to make sure it was the right polyurethane surface on the top. I wasn't going to risk it.

 For a GREAT wood sub-floor tutorial please go check out Lovely Crafty Home's DIY Paper Bag Flooring Tutorial.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below. I will try to answer any questions in a timely manner. To ensure you get my response please leave your email or contact me via email through my website
Certified Helmar Educator

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~ Grace ~