The time has come and I have the time. I am going to walk you through step by step how to achieve a similar flooring as what we’ve done. There is some important information that I will include here, so if you have questions about any of it, please feel free to contact me and inquire.
You will find an updated 2 years later picture here: https://trashtalkinhomesteader.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/time-flies/
Brown paper bags or a roll of brown paper, the kind you wrap mailer boxes in.
Ram board, it’s a thin cardboard that construction/concrete workers use to lay out to keep floors clean during work. You’ll use it differently.
Glue, we bought a gallon
antiquing paint for debossed image on floor, this is optional.
image for your debossed area.
paint for the color washing
box knives, scissors
foam paint brushes
artist paint brushes
plastic drywall spatulas, wide and thin variety
polyurethane sealer, we didn’t even use a gallon.
sealer applicators and applicator head.
Time, the process is over the course of days, it’s not a slap it out voila you’re using it floor. Make sure you have time to allow things to dry.
OK! So I encourage you to run tests prior to the project. I ran several with different glue down techniques, different staining techniques, I was looking for something very specific. All I learned from and found I needed a different direction. The thing about brown paper bag, is it will darken with moisture or oil, the sealer is an oil base, it’s going to darken that paper right up, which is fine, it was just to dark for my liking on this project.
So after having stepped back a moment to take a mental inventory of what might work to “lighten” the paper. I came up with the color wash technique. We cut about 60 12 x 12 brown paper squares then crumpled the crap out of them, carefully opened them so they weren’t torn and proceeded to dip them in a watered down white house primer paint and water concoction. I can’t say specifically the dilution, this is why testing is important. This is all personal taste. Digressing, I separated the squares relatively evenly, I dipped the crumpled paper into the paint water, squeezed the excess off gently, opened flat and laid to dry. I dipped them all. Then went back after dry and re-dipped about 2/3 a second time in a more crumpled state then allowed to dry, went and dipped a third time on some of the squares and again dried.
The ram board is what will go down first. Some of you may want to repair any big boo boo’s on the sub floor, we didn’t have many and what we had I was interested in keeping for a “stone” look after wards. I wanted a flowy bamboo infinity in the center of the main floor in the bathroom, it’s my spa room. My husband got a copy made big enough for me to use on a floor at the builders exchange locally. I glued the image to the ramboard, allowed to dry then box knife cut CAREFULLY, the image from the board, essentially making a stencil.We glued that down directly to the subfloor.
Now is the fun part… the gluing can make or break the design, and I knew this going in so I will share with you some details that weren’t out there for me in other walk through sites… hence my own. So far I know this may be long winded, but I want you to know what I learned so you don’t waste time or products.
Start the gluing, I poured out the glue and used my spatula to spread out, I would strike the edge of the spatula on a bare space to clear the glue and then use the spatula to flatten the paper to the floor. There will be texture, you crumpled wet paper and dried it. Work with the texture and smooth out as much as your tastes prefer, then move on to the next tile. Here is a trick to the glue, where you strike your spatula on face of the tile and leave glue that spot will look different under the sealer. For instance on my floor I would purposely strike my spatula to “clean it” on a tile I glued down before, leaving a line or smear of glue, the glue provides a “seal” that the sealer goes over, the glued parts resembled a less traveled section of the floor, it aged it in other words. RUN tests and trial, that is the best advice I can give.
Continue to glue the tiles down, when you get to the part where you’re gluing them to the cut out you created, use the foam paint brush and tap the paper down into the edges to create the debossed image. Continue the glue down until you’re done and allow it to dry. It doesn’t take as long as you think it will, but by this time it was evening and we were tired so we bedded down and started over in the morning.
Yawn, stretch and paint the inside of your debossed image. We chose a brown to coordinate with our bathroom colors. Paint dries and then you start the sealer. Read the instructions and make sure you follow them. Spread the sealer out and allow to dry. Your floor will need 6 to 8 coats of sealer. We did ours on a weekend, we were able to coat in the morning, then again in the evening. We ran fans to assist in the fumes and drying. We’ve had our floor just coming up around a year and it’s still like we put it in there yesterday. I mop it like a normal floor and I am not afraid to spill on it. We shower, bath dogs, I do all my fiber washing and never have run into a water issue. So this is basically it. A lot of prep work as with any project. We love the results and have heard numerous times it looks like travertine tile.
Check out the Share and Show! Visitor shared brown paper bag projects!