Are you looking for a way to add a personal touch to your house without spending a ton of money? Keep reading to learn how brown craft paper changed my hallway into an attention-getter!
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Finding Our Dream House
One of the best things about owning your own home is that you can add your own personal touch to it! When we bought our house in 2017, we couldn’t wait to put our stamp on it!
We started searching for a home with specific criteria in mind. We wanted a one-story brick house in the country.
Funny enough, I fell in love with a house that’s the complete opposite!
We ended up with a two-story house with white siding, right in the middle of a neighborhood.
I drove by this house for months before we finally had our agent set up a showing. When we walked in, it was like something out of Better Homes and Gardens.
Nothing was out of place. It was immaculate. You could practically eat off the floor.
Three years later, this is not the same house! It’s very obvious now that 5 kids have taken up residence here.
Making It Our Own
We’ve done several DIY projects in the last few years, mainly involving the flooring.
Pretty much the entire house had carpet when we moved in, with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms.
Since then, almost all of the carpet downstairs has been replaced, with plans to do the rest of the house eventually as well.
I’m not a fan of carpet for several reasons. The biggest reason is that it traps dirt and dust, and it causes our allergies to go crazy!
The most obvious flooring options would be wood, vinyl, or tile. Although we chose vinyl for our living room and bedroom, I wanted something different that reflected my sense of style more for the hallway.
Because I do everything the frugal way, I started trying to find cheap alternatives to wood floors or tile.
With so many kids in the house, not to mention pets, I’m not ready to sink a lot of money into this place.
After browsing for a few weeks, I came across some unique floor ideas using brown craft paper!
If you had ever told me brown craft paper would give my floors such an awesome look, I think I would have laughed in your face.
In fact, when I told the gentleman at Lowes what my plan was, he looked at me like I was crazy!
Brown Craft Paper Floor
I wanted to test out the brown craft paper idea in a small area in our home just in case I didn’t like how it turned out. The hallway downstairs was the perfect spot!
I bought the materials I would need from Lowes, and it turned out I was able to use them for three different areas, and I still have enough to do more!
- Roll of Craft Paper
- Elmers Glue
- Polyurethane (Water-Based for faster drying time)
- Wood Stain (Optional)
- Paint Roller
- Paint Brush
Preparing the Floors
The first thing I had to do was pull up the carpet in the hallway. I made several slices in the carpet so that I could pull it up in sections. This made it easy for me to get it out of the front door.
After I got all of the carpet pulled up, I had to tackle the ugly green foam carpet pad. It wasn’t so bad, but there were places where it was glued to the concrete, which made the prepping process a little longer.
After I pulled up all of the carpet, padding, and tack strips, I used a handheld sander like this one to sand down as much of the glue as I could.
I’m glad I did that because there were a few places I missed and the glue ended up showing through the brown craft paper.
Preparing the Brown Craft Paper
Getting the brown craft paper ready was a super simple process. It took a little while, so I would suggest putting a movie on then getting to work!
I tore the brown craft paper into pieces, putting the edge pieces aside to use along the wall. I didn’t make all of the pieces the same size or shape because I like the look of irregularity.
After I tore off what I thought was the right amount of paper, start crumpling the pieces. I crumpled them each into a ball, uncrumpled, then recrumpled again to make it as wrinkled as possible.
The more wrinkles the paper has, the more textured it will look.
I ended up needing about double the paper I thought I would, and had to repeat this process a couple of times.
Laying the Brown Craft Paper Floor
There were a couple of different techniques I found online for laying the brown craft paper flooring.
One of the techniques called for brushing polyurethane onto the floor, laying the piece of paper down, then brushing more polyurethane over the paper.
This is the technique I used for my hallway. It worked great! The polyurethane helped the paper stick to the concrete floor, and it wasn’t as messy as the other methods I found.
There were some small areas that seemed to not lay flat, but as it dried, they flattened out and I didn’t have to fix them.
Another Technique To Try
I did use another technique in the bathroom off of the hallway, and I wasn’t as impressed with it for the concrete floors.
For the bathroom floor, I made a mixture of Elmer’s glue and water (1:3 ratio), dipped the balled up paper into the mixture (Ring it out gently. It rips easily, so be careful!) and laid it flat onto the floor.
This technique didn’t work great on the concrete floor because it bubbled up quite a bit more than it should have as it was drying.
Because of that, there were several spots I had to rip up and redo before applying the polyurethane.
Because polyurethane is the most expensive of the materials, I decided to try the Elmer’s glue technique when I recently did my upstairs hall so I wouldn’t go through so much.
This technique actually worked great for that project! The subfloor is particle board, so that may have made a difference.
To Stain Or Not To Stain
We considered staining the brown craft paper for the hall floor, but after doing a few test pieces (I used an old t-shirt and applied the stain to the paper), I preferred the look of it unstained.
When I decided to do the bathroom as well, I opted to stain the paper to have some contrast. After the paper started bubbling (because of the technique above) and I had to pull it up, I replaced the pieces with unstained.
So, my bathroom has a mixture of stained and unstained, and I really like to inconsistency of it.
To add a really personal touch, and some contrast, my husband Tim cut out a Y for our last name and we stained that and placed it over the unstained paper in the hallway.
I love having a focal point in the hallway that catches the eye of all of our visitors!
How to Make Brown Craft Paper Durable
Because of how many people we have in the house, I knew we had to find a way to make the floor as durable as possible. I used Miniwax Polyurethane, Semi-Gloss as my protective coating.
Because I knew the hallway was going to be getting so much foot traffic, I applied about 8 coats over a two day period. I wanted to make sure it was durable, and it sure is!
I used a paint roller attached to a broomstick to apply the polyurethane.
The directions on the polyurethane say to sand between coats, but I assumed that didn’t apply to my brown craft paper like it did wood, so I simply applied a new coat every few hours.
My assumption worked out, and there was no cloudiness at all once it dried!
How The Brown Craft Floor Has Held Up
I recently did a staircase makeover (post coming soon!) and that led to me having to replace the carpet in the upstairs hallway.
I decided to assess how the brown craft paper in the downstairs hall and bathroom has held up after almost three years (and tons of foot traffic) to see if I should use that again.
There are some small spots that could use a little refreshing, but overall I’m really impressed with the durability of this flooring method!
Considering the hallway is the main walkway from the front door to the kitchen and bathroom, I would have expected the wear and tear on the floor to be much more obvious.
The good thing is that it’s an easy fix! All I have to do is rip up some more paper, and lay it down, then re-apply a couple of coats of polyurethane.
Would I Use Brown Craft Paper For Floors Again?
Absolutely! Brown craft paper is the perfect inexpensive flooring solution for anyone on a budget! I have several areas in my house that need to be redone, and I can say that this method will be my number one choice.
The only downside to doing this is that it does take some work. It’s not a quick process, especially if you have a large area to work with.
Even though it was a lot of work, it was worth it to save as much money as I did! So far for the downstairs hall, bathroom, and upstairs hall, my total cost has been less than $150!
Steps For Laying Brown Craft Paper Floor
1. Pull Up Carpet and Carpet Pad, Tack Strips, Sand any Glue or Other Imperfections
2. Prep The Craft Paper- Rip, Crumple
3. Lay Craft Paper
Elmer’s Glue Technique:
4. Let Polyurethane/Glue Dry Completely
5. (Optional) Apply Stain and Let Dry Completely
6. Apply Several Coats of Polyurethane and Let Dry (I did 8 Coats because these are medium to high traffic areas.)
7. Let Dry For at Least 24 Hours Before Walking, Two Weeks Before Heavy Traffic
Brown Craft Paper Floor Recap
- Cheap flooring alternative that looks great
- Very Durable (the more polyurethane you use, the more durable it is)
- If it gets messed up, it’s easy to fix
- You can stain it to give it some color
- It can be time-consuming, but the savings is worth it
- There are several techniques, try a few out and see which works best for you
- Be creative! DIY projects should be fun and reflect your personal style
I hope you found this brown craft paper floor information useful! If this is a project you are considering, I hope you will update me when you are done and tell me what you think!
As always, let me know your thoughts by commenting below! And while you’re here, be sure to check out the rest of my blog for money-saving tips!