Guest Bathroom: Paper Bag Floors

I found this idea on Hometalk, a fabulous site about gardening and home improvement projects.  It’s similar to Pinterest, but the Hometalk community is great because you can post questions, link your blog information, and look for things that people have completed or done on their own.

Ashley from Domestic Imperfection posted a great tutorial on Hometalk about how to complete this super cool  and inexpensive flooring option. I’ve wanted to update the guest bathroom for a while and since I was still on maternity leave, there was no time like the present!  The Hub-E was skeptical about how this would look, especially in a bathroom, but has now found that he loves it.


The original tile was white, cracked, and out dated.  Re-doing with the paper bag floor was more of an experiment for me since it was such a small area and I didn’t want to rip out all of the tile.  When I looked up the steps involved in this flooring, everyone online was putting it over concrete, ply wood, basically anything but tile.  12 coats of floor poly later, we are good!  I will keep you posted if this starts to come up, BUT we don’t use this bathroom very often, so the wear and tear on it is not like an ordinary bathroom.

Parts& Pieces: I included the parts and pieces, but I have also described how I differentiated from the tutorial that I found online from Ashley at Domestic Imperfection and video/tutorial from Jami at An Oregon Cottage.  I’m more of a video person, so I loved Jami’s video-tutorial on  exactly how to complete all the steps!


Total for our floor: $44!

Elmer’s Glue:  Found at any local hardware or craft store.  Since my space was so small I used (2) smaller containers ($2.49), but if you were doing an actual room, you would purchase the 1 gallon size ($12).

Paper Bags:  Since this was an extremely small space and again was more of an experiment for me, I used actual paper bags from the grocery store (for free!).  Trader Joe’s and Casey’s to be exact 🙂  When you are going to complete this for an entire room, you will need to get the contractor paper, like suggested in Domestic Imperfection and An Oregon Cottage’s site.

Water Based Floor Polyurethane:  I underlined Floor, because this is not the place to skimp and get the quart-sized regular container.  This is where the cost is.  It doesn’t come in a small container, only gallon size, but I will be using it again, so it was worth it for me to get the gallon for $37 at Home Depot.  I used the Semi-Gloss.

Stain (optional):  I put the stain as optional, since I did not use it.  I liked the two-tone paper bags I was using instead of applying stain over it.

Paint Brush:  For spreading the glue

Firm Foam Sponge:  For spreading the poly.  Because my space was small, I got away with a wide foam brush, but if you are doing an entire floor I would suggest following Ashley & Jami’s lead and using something that you can use standing and on a pole for faster application of the stain and poly.

Scissor:  To cut along the edges

Time:  I put this in the parts and pieces because this is a few days project due to the drying times.


Step 1:   Watch this video on you tube, it’s a great tutorial on how to accomplish the paper bag flooring.  Remove your trim or shoe molding.  Rip up and crinkle all your paper.  I laid ours out to ensure I had enough torn up.  You will continue to rip as you go, but this helps to start.


Step 2:  Mix your glue with water.  Most people have said it’s a 3-1 ratio, but I followed the instructions and video from An Oregon Cottage and kept adding small amounts of water until it was the consistency of heavy whipping cream.

Step 3:  Follow the video and: start along the edges – glue, place paper, and glue again.  I balled my paper and let it sit in the glue for a few seconds while I prepped the surface, which was a tip from Ashley.


Step 4:  Work your way out of your room and let it dry over night.  See the bubbles in the paper?  Almost all of these smooth themselves out.  The milky look from the glue also goes away once it’s dry.

Step 5:  Start your poly coats.  I did a total of 12 poly coats.   Let it dry an hour in between each coat and once you are finished, you can marvel at your super cool flooring! 🙂


I will post more on the rest of the bathroom transformation a little later.


3 thoughts on “Guest Bathroom: Paper Bag Floors

  1. My guest bath is very small, and I’m in the process of painting, I was going to paint the floor but I might just do this. Your floor looks great. Thank you for sharing.

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