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.
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?
Rachel’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.
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.
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