The Budget Decorator’s Faux Leather (Paper Bag) Floor
by Kathy Wilson
Description: How to create a faux leather floor with paper bags.
Sometimes one of the toughest decorating challenges we have
when we are on a budget is replacing old, worn, or ugly
flooring. If you have vinyl flooring that has seen better days,
or you just want more of a natural or luxurious look in your
rooms, hold on to your hat! I am going to show you how to
create a faux leather floor from ordinary paper bags from the
- Paper bags or a roll of brown Kraft paper from the postal
supply aisle (enough to cover your entire floor, with some
- Gallon of water based polyurethane (I recommend Minwax
Polycrylic, or Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane)
- Old work clothes
- Strong Knees and Back!
First off, put up the “Room Closed” sign! I did my kitchen in
the evening so the last coat of sealer would have a chance to
dry well before the kids and the dogs hit it in the morning!
Even better if you can keep it closed off for 24 hours or more.
Now, clean the floor thoroughly…tsp is a great idea here! It is
normally used on glossy paint surface, but will work well for
these purposes. Rinse well. Let dry.
Tear your brown paper into irregular sections in a size that is
easy to handle. It is important to tear, and not cut, as that
will give the natural edge you need for the look. Only use the
scissors to create a straight edge on some pieces to line up
against cabinets, walls, or a change in flooring. Now crumple
each torn piece tightly, then smooth out. This will give it
Pour a small amount of polyurethane onto the floor where you
will place your first piece, and smooth it out with a brush,
although I preferred to use my hands. Lay the piece of paper
down, add a little poly to the top of the paper, and smooth
down. Kind of like decoupage! Now continue to lay down papers
each one slightly overlapping the other. Smooth out bubbles as
you go. Your hand is the best tool for this!
If you find bubbles forming underneath as the poly starts to
dry, poke the bubble with a pin, add a little more poly, and
Once you finish covering the whole floor with paper, let the
poly dry. If you want a darker color, you can stain this with
wood stain and a soft rag at this point. Recoat the poly once
each hour until you have 4 to 6 coats of poly protecting your
floor. This should be allowed to dry hard, at least overnight,
longer if possible.
When you notice the floor getting dull, clean and add a
maintenance coat of poly. Repairs are easily made with another
torn piece of paper bag laid right over the existing treatment.
Seal with poly.
Damp mop when necessary, and it should last you years!
Definitely not your neighbor's floor, and all for the price of
some polyurethane and some hard work! See a photo of this
finished faux leather floor.
Budget Decorator readers have also used this floor treatment
successfully over ceramic tile and wood subflooring. You can
read about their experiences on our message board at
Do you want free tips and ideas for
decorating your home on a budget? Visit author and columnist
Kathy Wilson at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com, and don’t
forget to sign up for her free newsletter while you’re there!
Faux Marble in Six Easy Steps
7 Easy Faux Painting Techniques
Decorating with Sponge Painting
Click here for a printer friendly version of this page.
Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Recommend this article to a friend!
Search our article archives.
FamilyStickers.com offers one of the largest selections of family stickers, family car decals, and stick family stickers. These easy to apply vinyl window family car stickers are available in several themes and sizes or customized to your request.