Friday, July 6, 2012

Discovery Friday - How to Make a Paper Bag Floor

          Shortly before I moved into my room, (Years ago) we put down temporary linoleum on top of the old floor that we knew would someday need to be replaced.  It wasn't horrible, but it certainly wasn't great either and I just decided that it was time for it to go!  

My old linoleum - actually this picture makes it look worse
than it really was because it's covered in sawdust
- but still, it needed to go.

Under the old linoleum was this old tile that covered about 3/4
of the room - the rest was just broken off.
The tile was so old that I could have put a toothpick
under the edge and watched it shatter - I'm glad it's gone now!

I had been struggling to collect enough paper bags for my project
until my grandma and uncle in Montana heard about it and gave me all
of these!  I still have enough left over for another floor!

The linoleum that was under my bunkbed

Under the linoleum was a few layers of old
plywood that I tore out until I reached this wood
layer.  I then filled the cracks with caulking and
used this as my base to lay the paper bags on.
(The wood actually looks better in this picture than
it was in real life because I had just washed it.)

Making a paper bag floor:

          First, I tore (not cut) several paper bags and then crumpled them up into balls.  Next, I soaked the balls in a two parts water, one part glue solution then un-crumpled them and spread them writing side first down on the floor, spreading them out and making them smooth with my hands.  After that layer dried, I sanded it with fine sand paper, then stained it with a red chestnut stain.  Then I coated it with three separate layers of clear glossy urethane, letting it fully dry between each layer.

Paper bags with stain in process
          It was quite the trick because I had to do my room in several sections.  First under my bed, then under my large desk, and then the rest of the floor.  It took a bit for me to learn how to match the different sections up together, but I finally figured it out!
          If you ever try this project and have to do it in sections like I did, lay down a section, then stain it leaving an unstained edge of several inches.  Do the same with the glossy coats and don't coat it all the way to the edge of the stain.

Paper bag layer

Complete floor under my bed and desk
- paper bags over the rest.

The finished product!
          The Cost:

1: Paper bags - Free!
2: One gallon of glue  - $10
3: 1 quart of stain - $8
4: 1 gallon of glossy urethane - $28
5: Several disposable sponge brushes - ~ $5

The final cost:

The overall cost of this project may have been just over $50, however, I only used 1/2 of the quart of stain ($4) and one half the gallon of urethane ($14).  The rest of the stain and urethane I used on other projects and so I don't count them in the cost of my floor.  With that in mind, the overall cost for finishing my floor was about $30  - Not bad for a floor remodeling project!


Things I learned while making my paper bag floor:

1:  Always mix up the stain ALL the way EVERY time before using it.  If you don't, then one side of your floor will have a slightly different color than the other side.  I'm sure none of you would ever make that mistake... As for me?  I plead laziness - but I'll never do it again!

2:  Now I know why projects like this are typically known as "Guy" projects.  Because most guys don't usually have long hair that becomes a part of every layer of the floor!  No matter how hard I tried to tie my hair back,  it always ended up being a part of the floor. 

3:  Always be sure to sand the floor before applying the stain and not after!  This is paper, not wood.  If you do need to sand in between the clear layers, sand gently with steel wool by hand and not with an electric sander.  

4:  The more smooth the floor is that you have to lay the paper bags out on, the better the floor will turn out.  My floor wasn't smooth but I also couldn't do anything about it.  I still like the way it turned out though - it has an extra rustic feel which I love!

5:  ALWAYS turn your phone off before dipping your hands in any kind of sticky solution!  My phone wouldn't ring all day until my hands were covered in glue and then it wouldn't stop ringing!

My parents like the way my floor turned out so much that they would like for me to do the hall way next... Now I just have to figure out how to do that without having dog prints on the floor. ;)