Sep 242013
 

It’s been about a week since we started the paper floor project and it’s basically finished. Mark did all the final work – 10 coats of polyurethane, with light sanding in between most of the coats – that took 5 days. What remains is to add quarter-round molding at the baseboard, all around the room. And a rug. And some furniture.

finished-floor

Here’s more of a closeup:

finished-floor-close

The whole flat still smells of poly, which is remarkably NOT unpleasant (and in fact has quite pleasant associations – my father in his basement workshop, sanding, staining, varnishing).

I have to say, despite its flaws, I LOVE the floor. We plan to do the bedroom next – bigger room with more stuff to move out of the way, so considerably more challenging. But knowing what we know, we will make a better job of the bedroom. The main pitfall to avoid, we found, is working too fast. When laying each piece of paper, the best technique is to work the glue over the paper from the center outward, not too fast and with slight pressure. The outward motion seems to force out any air bubbles and the paper dries nice and flat straightaway, no need to repair.

Bathroom-floor-finishedI was looking at similar floors on Pinterest and found some lovely ideas that would require quite a bit more forethought and leave less room for mistakes. This faux wood look on the the right, for example, might be good to consider for the bedroom…

Once the room is furnished, before the inevitable chaos of cat hair and clutter, I will post some more photos.

Linda in NJ

 Posted by on 2013/09/24 crafts, DIY, home decor Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Sep 192013
 

When our very grown up 20-year-old daughter sprouted wings and flew from our snug little nest into her very own apartment, Mark and I wasted little time in stripping down her former bedroom with an eye to turning it into a cozy sitting/working space.

First thing, of course, was to paint over the “goth” dark purple walls and black trim. Several coats of paint later we have soft blue walls with a lighter blue trim. Nice calm colors.

The next step was to come up with a nice floor covering for very little money, since we had just spent a small fortune remodeling the bathroom. We didn’t want to do carpet, because carpet and cat hair just do not mix. We loved the idea of bamboo, but that was a non-starter – way too expensive and not something we felt we could DIY with any success.  We thought about sheet vinyl that looks like wood. But it’s just never going to look or feel right.

Stained-Paper-Floor

So Mark suggested we scrap the norm and hunt around for some clever DIY ideas that we could really accomplish on our own. Within the day he had found this amazing tutorial “The Ultimate Brown Paper Flooring Guide” by Rachel of Lovely Crafty Home. Paper flooring? Yep – that is correct. Who would have thought?

torn-paperRachel’s instructions are exhaustive and we were careful to read all her recommendations because it looks like she has made quite a good job of this.

Our subfloor is concrete and Mark spent a lot of time repairing cracks and prepping the floor. When it was as good as it was ever going to get, he applied a coat of sealant and we got to work tearing up brown kraft paper.

floor-in-progress

Next, we spent hours on our hands and knees with paper, Elmer’s glue, and thick paint brushes, applying random shapes of brown paper to the concrete, “decoupage” style. We worked from the center of the room, towards the back, then down the sides towards the door.  Here’s the floor in progress (picture at right), still wet with glue and a big swath as yet not covered.

The next morning, when the glue was fully dry, we found lots of spots we needed to patch or otherwise repair. For example, there were several small “holes” where the concrete was showing, so we patched those easily enough. The hardest part was taking care of all the small creases that created tunnels at the edges of some of the paper. The fix for those was to slit them open with an exacto knife, flatten by hand, and apply more glue and a paper patch. That’s the beauty of all the random shapes – any patch you apply will blend right in. So far it has come out looking a bit like stone or maybe cork.

paper-floor-closeup

Here’s a closeup image of a small detail of the floor once it dried.

So it’s been four days since we began laying the paper floor and we are SO very pleased with the outcome… so far.

We are not even close to finished. Next step – twelve thin coats of low VOC water-based polyurethane with plenty of drying time and light sanding in between each coat. One step we decided to skip was staining the paper. Although I love the way Rachel’s stained paper floors look, I really like the natural color of the kraft paper and it happens to go well with the new curtains, so we opted for skipping straight to the poly.

I will update this post when the floor is finished – I do hope to report good news. Wish us luck!

Linda in NJ

 Posted by on 2013/09/19 crafts, DIY, home decor Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »