The backstory: A few years ago I was on the hunt for an affordable flooring solution for my spacious entrance. I was pleasantly surprised when my google results stumbled upon paper bag flooring. This caught my attention! Can I actually create an attractive floor using paper? Tell me more… I thought. The more I dug, the more I realized that this was a legitimate option for our home and entrance. Now, you need to know something about me…I have a critical eye… I’m not into “shabby” chic…at all. I’m into classy and neat and clean and …you get the point.

After a truck load of research I was ready to partake on my DIY paper bag floor. The whole process went smooth and the result was a HUGE success. WE were blown away by how beautiful it was. Not to mention… ridiculously cheap. The whole project cost approximately $60 in materials. Then the wheels in my head started turning… a mile a minute. If I could create that floor, why not improvise a bit and create a paper bag floor that looks like wood???

Fast forward a ton of research and planning until I actually jumped right into about 800 sq’ of paper bag flooring that I created to look like wood. Instead the of traditional paper bag floor technique where you tear pieces of brown paper and crumble them up…I added 2 extra steps the process to create the wood look.

Step 1- I cut strips of brown builder paper with a utility knife, 5” by 36”(the length of the paper roll). These strips of paper were the beginning of my faux wood floor. When staggered on the floor they actually simulate planks of wood! 

Note: If you prefer a narrower wood plank, just adjust your measurements to 3″

Step 2- Once I had a bunch of these paper strips cut, I painted a wood grain on the paper with watered down dark brown paint. You can get an amazing little tool, called a wood grain tool, that makes achieving a faux wood grain pretty simple, fun & fast.  You may find this to be a hard item to track down.  It is easiest just to order it from amazon.  Check this product out on the amazon link provided…

Note: If you prefer a red oak look, use a dark brown paint that has a reddish undertone.

Once that dried I was back to familiar territory. Laying the paper with watered down Elmer’s Glue All…drying, staining, applying varathane and so on. You can find the complete process, as well as my notes, supply list and videos on I figured, after all the work I put into this, I should at least pass it on to my fellow DIY’ers that are in search of a cheap, durable, flooring solution that looks like wood!

Just today, we had a new visiter at our home… he was amazed at how beautiful and realistic the floor looked.  He even commented that “it looked like high end flooring”… who knew paper could look that good. lol

Paper bag flooring

Trisha Harris