Faux Wood Plank Floors Using Brown Paper

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Have you ever had an idea that was just so crazy that you knew that it would either be brilliant or a big fat flop? Our guest today is here to share a big crazy BRILLIANT idea that worked and looks wonderful: a faux wood plank floor, made using brown kraft paper. Just feast your eyes on the faux wood glory (and it’s not often that you hear me say that!)

faux wood plank floor (4)

wood plank floor using brown paper, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Fabulous, right? I’m so thrilled that Chris is here today to share the tutorial exclusively with our Remodelaholic community. Give her a warm welcome!

Stained Brown Paper Faux Wood Plank Floors
by Chris of Freckle Face Girl

Hi fellow Remodelaholics! I’m Chris and I blog over at Freckle Face Girl. I am so excited to be a guest at Remodelaholic today! I am a freckle face mama of 4 and a lover of projects. I think I’m a project-aholic. They keep me sane in this busy life of mine and they are how I spend my “me” time. If I’m not working on a project, I’m thinking about working on one!

Some of my recent favorite projects are the DIY Black Rubbed Pottery Barn Finish in my boys shared bedroom and my Ikea Chandelier hack with Rub ‘n Buff. But, my absolute favorite is why I am here today. It’s got to be my craziest one yet!

faux wood flooring using brown paper, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

This is our office. And that is my paper floor. This isn’t it’s first transformation (remember what I said about liking projects?).

This is after we moved in and threw everything that didn’t have a home elsewhere, in here.

room before faux wood plank brown paper floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

room before faux wood plank brown paper floor 2, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

For the first makeover, I re-painted the room with stripes, painted the ceiling blue, added some DIY artwork, a new hanging lantern, and cleaned up the clutter.

room before faux wood plank brown paper floor 3, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

room before faux wood plank brown paper floor 4, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

But what I really wanted to completely finish the room was a dark floor. I looked into laminate, vinyl and wood. But there really was no reason to spend so much money in one room just because I had the desire for change.

And then it happened. I saw an idea where others had torn up builder’s paper and glued it to the floor and in some cases stained it to achieve a richer color.

While they were beautiful, I really wasn’t wanting the leather or patchwork look for my room. I really wanted the look of a wood floor. I decided to try and create a “plank” by cutting strips of builders paper, adding a faux bois technique and then staining and sealing the floor. The goal was to create the look of old, reclaimed barn wood, with imperfections and distressing.

wood plank floor using brown paper, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

This is what I used:

**Remodelaholic note: Polycrylic is not recommended for use on floors because it would require more frequent recoating in high traffic areas. Instead, we recommend Minwax Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors (available at your local store or on Amazon) or Minwax Water-Based Polyurethane for Floors (also available in your local store or on Amazon).

You can customize the stain to the color of your choice, or make your own combination. I chose satin Polycrylic because the higher the sheen, the more obvious any specks of dirt or imperfections are.

This is what I did:

Cut your strips of paper first. Turn on your favorite movie (or 2) and start cutting. I got into a rhythm and just zoned out. Before I knew it, I had cut enough strips for the entire room. I kept them in garbage bags until I was ready to use them (note the more crinkled the paper gets, the more the plank looks distressed when it’s stained).

I used a piece of wood that was the width of the planks I wanted to create (5 inches). I rolled out the paper about 5 feet at a time, laid the board width wise on the paper (so at least my ends of planks would be straight).

Then I drew a line using the board as a guide. I did this over and over again and cut when I had about 10 or so planks done.

creating faux wood planks for floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Then cut along the line.

creating faux wood planks for floor 2, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

You will repeat this process until you have enough planks.

I really wanted that reclaimed wood look, so a wood grain was required. You will need a garage or dedicated space for this part because you are going to apply a faux bois paint technique to your planks, and they need space to dry.

I had leftover dark brown paint that I used for this project (Sealskin by Sherwin Williams). Put your paint into a plastic container with a lid so you can stop/start without having to create more of your mixture. Add paint to the container and then add enough water so that when you paint your plank, the paint slides easily and quickly with no drag. It doesn’t need to be completely watery, but not as thick as normal paint.

Quickly paint the plank top to bottom with enough paint to cover the paper but not so much that it is puddling or dripping. Just a thin coat, enough to cover the paper will do.

how to paint faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Now, quickly take your wood graining tool and, using the back side with fine teeth, pull the tool from top to bottom so you have these fine lines. Note that my paper has some small spots without paint, that is ok, perfection isn’t necessary here. The paint will dry quickly, so you will need to move fast.

use faux bois tool for wood plank paper floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Now pull the other side of the wood graining tool down over the lines you just made, slightly rocking as you go. The more you rock, the more knots you will have. Again, there is no need to worry about perfection. This process goes very quickly. I think I finished all of my paper in about an hour.

use wood graining tool to create faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

faux wood plank from brown paper, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

I laid all of my planks out on my garage floor and they were dry within about 1/2 hour.

Rip out your carpet, pad, tack strips and a million staples. Clean the floor really well. Be disgusted at that pile of dirt that was hiding under the carpet pad! Yuck!

ripping up carpet for faux wood plank flooring, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Because I had OSB plywood instead of a regular plywood, I couldn’t get away with putting my planks in at this stage. I tried it in a closet and it gave a strange ripply appearance, because the paper highlights any flaws/ripples/bumps in the floor. I did try a practice board with a regular sheet of plywood, with the paper directly over it and that turned out great. I had to cover the OSB with something smooth, and plywood is expensive. So instead, I essentially created a floating floor much like laminate.

First I screwed down Hardboard Panels onto the OSB. Putty the seams and screw holes with wood filler and sand until they are smooth.

When you are ready to start gluing your paper down, you will need a bucket (something large enough to hold the glue mixture and a few papers while you are working). Add 1 cup Elmer’s Glue-All to every 3 cups of water. Make just enough of this mixture to use while you work, you won’t be able to save it. The papers will need to be completely submerged. Mix thoroughly. You will also need a small paint tray mixed with 1 cup glue to 3/4 c water.

Dunk your paper plank into the bucket of glue/water mixture until thoroughly wet and it softens and relaxes the paper. Only wet enough paper to work with in about 10 minutes. Lay paper on a towel or side of bucket until you are ready.

Using a paintbrush, use the glue mixture from your paint tray and paint onto the floor where your plank will go. A thin coat will be fine because your paper also has glue on it. Lay down your plank and use a squeegee to gently press out any extra glue or water under the paper, wipe up and continue this process. This will ensure the plank is completely glued down, without wrinkles or bubbles. It’s a messy process, so be sure to not use too much glue/water mixture and allow the water to drip off the plank onto the towel a little bit as you go. Otherwise you will have big puddles.

It goes very quickly. I was worried about being straight so I used a carpenters square just to check every now and then. I was able to finish this part in about 1/2 hour.

gluing down faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Butt your boards up as close as you can when laying the planks. You can see some small gaps between my planks, because it’s so difficult to cut a perfectly straight line. Don’t worry about those. You will take care of that later.

install faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Be sure not to lean your hand on the paper after you glue it down, or the paper will come up with your hand!

Turn a fan on and let the floor dry for a couple of hours or overnight. If you have any gaps between boards, this is the time to get your paint/water mixture and a fine paint brush and go dab it in the cracks.

Now you can apply the stain! I wore socks so my feet wouldn’t tear up the damp paper. Using a rag or an old paint brush, I started staining in the corner and worked my way out from there. I gently and quickly pulled my stain and wiped with a clean rag if it looked too heavy.

how to create a faux wood plank floor using brown paper, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

Continue until you are finished with the room. It will not dry, it will remain slightly tacky until you seal it.

I applied my polycrylic with a brush because I preferred the control it gave me. I tried a lambswool applicator and I always got little bubbles and it was hard to control the amount applied. Don’t put it on too thick or it will create a cloudy effect. You will be putting down about 7 coats or more depending on the foot traffic your room gets. But it dries VERY fast. I was able to put all of my coats down in 1 day! Because this room get’s a lot of foot traffic, I put down 10 coats.

I decided to nail down small furniture tacks from Lowes that are square and resemble vintage nails to add to the reclaimed wood look.

detail of faux wood plank decoupaged paper floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

How long did it take?

I had already cut the paper into strips when I had time here and there. Painting the paper took about an hour or a little longer. The rest of the process, from ripping out the carpet to laying the final coat of poly, took a full weekend.

It is a beautiful floor, resembling laminate. It feels similar to laminate, but without the hollow type sound they all have. It is abused every day with push toys, crafts, kids and the dog. So far so good. I did put felt pads on all of the furniture. If you get a scratch, you can wipe some stain in the scratch, and reseal.

I love it. I love that I created it. I love that it’s beautiful. How beautiful is it?

faux wood plank floor (3)

brown paper faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

decoupaged faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

faux wood plank floor (2)

faux wood plank flooring in office, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

office with decoupaged wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

striped office with faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

faux wood plank floor (4)

office with decoupaged brown paper faux wood plank floor, Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic

faux wood plank floor

I hope you love it too! Be sure to stop by Freckle Face Girl and say hello and follow me on Facebook to see what other crazy projects I dream up.

Thanks Remodelaholic and Cassity for letting me be your guest! It’s a dream come true!

xo-Chris

DIY faux wood plank floor using brown kraft paper | Freckle Face Girl for Remodelaholic.com

————————————–

Thanks so much for being our guest, Chris — so glad your idea worked out and WOW, I love it!

Pay Chris a visit over at Freckle Face Girl and check out her fun and creative ideas, like her boys’ vintage industrial bedroom and her Busy Momma’s Guide of easy “immediately gratifying” projects, like a quick solar chandelier DIY

Looking for more inexpensive DIY floor finishes? Try one of these:

Grouted Peel and Stick Floor Tiles

grouted peel and stick flooring

Painted Concrete Floorpainted concrete floor

Whitewashed Floorwhite-washed wood floor

Plank Floor Using Plywoodstained plywood floor

Leather-look Floor Using Brown Paperkraft paper floor

Painted Vinyl Flooring

painted vinyl flooring

Comments

  1. says

    A-MAZING!!!! I would never have guessed this was just paper, paint & stain from looking at it! Love the nail accents – it added a lot to the realism too. Thank you for sharing this! Seriously, this is stunning! :)

    • Becky T says

      I would like to do my kitchen floor but it has tile. I guess I could get something and level the cracks out between the tiles

  2. Rose L says

    AMAZING! I can’t imagine doing a project of that scale at my age but more power to you young people. It truly is beautiful!

    • Stephanie Ros says

      The best tutorial on brown paper floor I have seen. Thanks for sharing. Just wondering…can we make a white wash floor look by using white paint?

  3. Lisa E says

    That is seriously impressive, wow! I can’t think up things like this so this type of stuff blows me away. Looks gorgeous!

  4. amanda says

    Pretty awesome! ! I Was wondering about price since you added the wood. I am debating this project!! Thanks

    • says

      Hi Amanda! I did have to add the hardboard to cover up my super bumpy OSB-which the paper will highlight – ick. So my cost was minimally higher – but the hardboard comes in different thicknesses – I used the thicker one because the next room is tile and there is a bigger difference in flooring height – the hardboard was about $8 a sheet and I used 4.5 for this room- If I remember correctly, there was a thinner hardboard that was cheaper. BUT you may not have to do this step. The cost of all the supplies was about $100, but I have a lot of that product left, probably enough to do 2 more rooms. If you do try it, I’d love if you left a comment/picture over at my blog/facebook and let me know how it turned out!
      xo-
      Freckle Face Girl

    • Leslie R. says

      I’m interested in doing the faux hard wood floors with paper and the wood graining worked but is very muted the color of the paper isn’t showing through as much as yours and I wanted to know what texture of paint (flat, satin, etc) that sealskin was and what was the ratio of paint to water?

    • says

      Hi Julie! You CAN do it over linoleum or vinyl sheet flooring, if it’s in good condition (eg no cracking/peeling/lifting etc), BUT keep in mind, that the paper, once sealed will show a pattern on the vinyl, for example, if you have a tile pattern with grout lines, the grout lines will be obvious. Hope that helps!
      xo-Freckle Face Girl

  5. Bernadette says

    Just amazing. Any chance of a video to help understand the wood graining tool technique a little better? I think I’d cut with a rotary blade cutter to make it a little faster.

    • says

      Hi Bernadette- I may do one, but in the meantime, it’s one of those things that just takes a little practice. There is no perfect way to do it, and just takes a quick swipe of the tool to make the grain. The trick is not getting too much paint on the paper, or it will be sloppy, and not letting the thinner layer of paint dry before you swipe, or you won’t see the effect. Imagine the possibility, you could paint your paper white, and let it dry, then do a brown coat with the tool and create a double paint layer, like old peeling wood! So many possibilities!
      Hope this helps!!
      xo-Freckle Face Girl

  6. Shannon R says

    Any idea if it would be possible to do this outdoors? We have a covered front porch that has kinda ugly flooring. Cement would be too heavy, wood or trex are waaaay too expensive for something we don’t use a lot, just want to look a little nicer. Is there any kind of sealant that would protect enough to work outdoors? Again, it’s covered, but on the other hand, we live in Seattle and there’s enough rain & wind that it will get wet.

    • says

      Hi Shannon! You know, I hate to say go for it and then it doesn’t work (although, I say go for it, what do you have to lose?!), but when I was doing my research, I DID see someone in Hawaii who had done the same process (with torn paper) on their lanai (outdoor, UNCOVERED patio) and it was beaten by the Hawaii weather and was great. If will try to post that link to my facebook page if I can track it down again! The secret is in sealing the final product. You would obviously want a sealer that could withstand moisture. And the more coats, the stronger the final product.
      You would also want to make sure there was a nice smooth surface for the paper to stick too, no peeling paint. I guess I don’t have a lot of fear when it comes to these things :)
      xo-Freckle Face Girl

  7. Ting says

    Kudos! Amazing floors! Spectacular Brains!
    Aside from the floor, you also gave me another great idea. The wood plank with cabinets that serve as work shelf – great!

  8. Elizabeth says

    Could you do this on concrete floors? Same tactic? I need something for my daughters bedroom floor…

    • says

      Elizabeth- YES! You can – do a little bit over research online first, but during my research, a lot of people did it over concrete – just patch any cracks/holes, and maybe try it in a corner / closet first – just a patch, to see how it works. I wish I would have had concrete under my surface instead of the OSB – Good Luck – make sure you come over to my Facebook and share pictures when you are finished!
      xo-Chris {Freckle Face Girl}

  9. LJ Wolf says

    I’m shocked at how amazing this project came out. I’ve been stuck in a master bedroom with carpet for about 3 years! When I found this my first thought was, NO WAY! You are an extraordinary visionist! I’m so impressed. My uncle has been putting down hardwood flooring for over 30 years. I showed him your flooring without telling him what it was..He could NOT tell the difference between your kraft paper floor and real wood flooring. Now, that is IMPRESSIVE!
    Thanks so much for sharing your genius idea with everyone. I’m bookmarking your site for future genius projects. Keep them coming!!

  10. says

    Hi there. I was wondering about durability. How long have you had this floor now? Has it held up well? Can you see any future issues arising? Thank you! It’s beautiful!

  11. Rich says

    Did I read that correctly? You applied a water based poly on top of tacky oil based stain? “It will not dry, it will remain slightly tacky until you seal it.” If that is the case, I can’t imagine this will be a long lasting finish. Incompatible finishes like that will not bind together. Maybe you will get by with it for a while since you put so much finish on it, but it’s a water and oil deal. They don’t mix.

  12. Leslie R. says

    I’m interested in doing the faux hard wood floors with paper and the wood graining worked but is very muted the color of the paper isn’t showing through as much as yours and I wanted to know what texture of paint (flat, satin, etc) that sealskin was and what was the ratio of paint to water?

    • says

      Hi Leslie- Sorry it has taken me so long to reply! I didn’t see your comment. I used semi gloss paint, because that’s what I had on hand. But I don’t think it matters if you use flat/satin because 1) you are watering it down, and 2) you are sealing it. I hate to say I didn’t measure my water/paint ration. But I cut it at least in half. You want to cut it with water enough so that it doesn’t “pull” when you drag your brush through it. Start with half and half, play with it, go from there. The water will allow the wood grain tool to pull through the paint, showing the undercoat – whether that is just the paper, or a coat of paint you used to create a multi-layer look. Good luck! Come visit me on my facebook if you have any other questions!
      Chris – {aka Freckle Face Girl}

  13. Bianca says

    First of all I would like to congratulate you for your awesome ideas! I was doing a search to find affordable ways of making concrete look like wood planks and I stumbled upon this site and I am so glad:) I want to do this paper floor project on concrete floors and would like to know if it can be done and if so do any of the products used on the project change because of me doing it on concrete versus plywood or wood underlayment?

    • says

      Hi Bianca- Thanks so much for your nice comment! Although my process makes the floor look like wood planks, vs torn paper, etc., the process I followed to glue/seal my paper was just like everyone else. I DID use an underlayment in my experiment. But I found many people who were covering concrete with the paper – Some said they used the poly to glue down the paper (I wouldn’t recommend that), others did what I did. You should be able to lay it directly over the concrete assuming there is no moisture wicking up through the concrete. Try it as I did, minus the underlayment part, in a small area (closet?) with a paper plank or two, and see how it goes. I think it would be very successful. Good luck! Come visit me on my facebook page!
      Chris {aka Freckle Face Girl}

  14. Jacqueline says

    Hi,
    I have seen other DIY projects like this and can’t wait to try it because my carpet is disgusting (from my pets) and I can’t afford to put in wood floors, which I need since I have pets.

    I saw on another site how someone made their floor look like wood planks using paper. Since I don’t want to take the time to paint the paper and then stain it, I was wondering if wood grain wrapping paper would work or if it’s too hard to stick down with the glue. I found that Paper Mart sells it in large quantities. I want to save time and money by doing this. I also have limited mobility and feel that having the “wood look” already printed on the paper would be so much easier for me. Thanks for any advise you can give me.

  15. Julia says

    Hi!

    I am trying this process right now for my home but I’m running into an issue with the Wood Graining tool and was hoping maybe you could shed some light on the issue for me or give me some advice :)! I’m using wall paint (Glidden in a Forest Black color – I plan on staining darker than you did). I watered down the paint (started with just a little and have been adding more as it’s not working and retrying). I spread the paint on with a brush like you did. However, on your sheets when you pull the wood tool down it wipes most off and shows the brown underneath and leaves only the paint in a woodgrain design. Here is my issue – when I pull the wood grain tool down it’s like the paint has soaked into paper already (not wiping off). It leaves a faint mark but isn’t really pulling up any of the paint. What am I doing wrong? Should I not use regular wall paint? Am I adding too much water?

    Thanks!

    • Gen Johnson says

      I am having the same issue. Trying it out tonight. I keep adding more water but the paper just soaks up the paint. I am using a sating dark brown Sherwin Williams paint.

  16. Gen Johnson says

    I am having the same issue as Julia. I am using a dark brown satin Sherwin Williams paint. I keep adding more water and it is still just soaking into the paper. Not sure what I am doing wrong.

  17. says

    This is such a creative idea. I would never have imagined this could have been done with paper. Does the floor feel smooth or does it have some tackiness to it?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Crystal- it’s smooth- no tackiness whatsoever. I have resealed my whole floor w/ Varathane brand “floor finish” and it’s a dream to work. I have not had any problems with dogs or kids hurting the floor. And it has fooled EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has come into my home :)
      Chris (Freckle Face Girl)

  18. says

    Hmmm. Ladies I wish I knew why you were having troubles. Would you mind coming to my Freckle Face Girl facebook page so I can be of more help- just post to the wall. 1) is your paper thick enough? 2) too much water/ too much time for the water mixture sitting on the paper? Mine didn’t have time to soak in- I literally slipped in on and very quickly wiped it with the tool- if I let it sit just a minute, it was drying (very thin coat-) but it sounds like you need to add some paint back in. Please come over to my facebook page- I can help right away and you can share some pictures too so we can get it right. Thanks for your comments!
    Chris {freckle face girl}

  19. Katie says

    How do you seal it after the stain? Meaning it is tacky and I can’t walk in it. I did and left a footprint.
    I only did my walk in closet to experiment ad want to do the rest of the room but how do you deal if you can’t step on it?
    I am sure I am missing something. Thanks.

    • says

      Katie- you are right- it will remain tacky in the paper- I put on a pair of non shedding sickes, tip toed carefully into the corner with my brush and a container of sealer and started brushing it on- thin coats- or it will be hazy- my new favorite sealer is Varathane brand Floor Finish- water based. I do satin. Coat the whole floor- put a fan on it and walk away for 30 minutes. Then check it. It should be dry- unless you have high humidity. Mine dried enough I was able to do a couple coats before coating again the next day. Thin coats remember- the more layers, the better the protection. Don’t forget felt pads- even wood scratches- . Great job getting started! You’re almost there! Come share on my facebook page please!! Freckle Face Girl and come ask more questions there if you need more help :)
      Chris (aka Freckle Face Girl)

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