Trial and Error

You know how you can imagine something in your minds eye but then when you actually turn your idea into reality sometimes things just don’t turn out as you expected?  I have had this happen to me MANY times.  And one thing that really frustrates me is having to go back to the beginning and starting all over again.

I find that this is especially true when it comes to all the faux wall/ceiling/floor treatments out there.  Having learned the hard way, I now usually find an old board and create a sample before I apply this technique to a large area.  So, for my woman cave, I am planning on trying out the paper bag flooring technique I saw on

Don’t these stairs look amazing?  Well, in Rachael’s instructions, she warns of having a light hand when applying the stain.  Whenever I hear instructions like, “be sure to use a light hand,” I worry.  This tells me that finesse is required and if I am rushed or stressed….yes, you guessed it….I’ll be ripping things out and starting all over again.
I also saw online where people did not stain their bags and that they were very happy with the result.  This would eliminate a step and there is no longer a ” light hand” needed.  But I really like the darker look.  Think, think, think.
Okay, so went out to look for water based polyurethane that has stain mixed in.  No luck…bummer!  Plan B, what can I add to my glue/water mix to tint it?  I begin throwing ideas out to my husband, the engineer.  Could I mix in stain….he says that an oil based stain won’t mix with my glue emulsion.  Okay, how about I brew some tea and then mix it in.  His response, ” if there is any nutritional value, we will have bugs eating our floor”.  Okay, final idea, What if I add RIT dye….he say, “could work”!
So, I first mix 1 4oz bottle of elmers glue all with 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp of RIT liquid dye.  It looks purple, not brown!
Okay, deep breath.  The bottle said brown so I am going to keep on going.  I also mixed a second batch of 4 oz glue plus 1/4 cup water (I am going to do a sample of non-dyed paper bag treatment as well).  Out comes the board and time to apply the paper.
Here’s the non-dyed sample…will need to dry overnight
Here’s the dyed half.  Still looks purple but we’ll let it dry overnight and see what morning brings
You will NEVER guess what happened overnight.  The dyed half went from purple to brown!  It’s amazing.  Take a look!
The dyed half

The half with just glue/water

Side by side comparison
Okay, now it’s time to add some polyurethane to get a better feel for how this will look in the end.  I decided to just put on two coats.  I placed the board on the ground and took a picture…keep your fingers crossed!
You can see where the glue was left on a bit heavier but I’m thinking I like the dye/glue mix.  I may add a bit more dye to my mix as well.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  I hate waiting for a project to be done but when it comes to faux finishes, I swear by sample boards!
{Click here to read more}
Loading Facebook Comments ...


  1. says

    I don’t know much about wall treatments, {actually I know zipo about it} but just after reading the first sentence of your post I’m thinking, oh my, seriously 7 times out of 10 that is me. It looks good though! I hope it comes out how you want! Can’t wait to see the end result :)
    -ps for some reason when I went to respond to your post earlier when I click respond, nothing happens…still kinda new to all this but it seemed pretty self explainitory. Maybe I’m missing something?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>