How to Decoupage Kitchen Countertops

July 30, 2012

We have had many people ask how we used the brown paper bag decoupage technique on our kitchen counters. It is a fairly simple process. It isn’t expensive. It was a fun DIY project that we enjoyed doing. This is how we did it.

Materials List:

  • Roll of kraft paper or brown paper bags
  • Water-based polyurethane (Varathane, Minwax Polycrylic)
  • foam paint brushes
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Materials for paper bagging countertops
The process:

    • Tear paper into irregular shapes. Separate straight-edged pieces to save for the borders.
    • Crumple paper to achieve desired texture. The tighter you wad it up the more texture you will see. We wadded ours up into fairly tight balls.
    • Straighten out your wadded up pieces of paper and stack them up. One stack of paper with all torn edges and one stack with the straight machine edges on one side, ready to use.
Wadded Kraft Paper for Decoupage  Countertop

Our paper looked like this before we straightened it out.

Stacks of Kraft Paper Ready to use to Decoupage Countertops

Stacks of Kraft Paper Ready to use on countertops. Random shapes on the left and the stack on the right has the paper that contains the straight edges.

  • Prepare the surface. Clean the surface of your countertops. If your previous countertop material is loose, remove it. If your old countertop material is on nice and tight, leave it. You can paper right over it.
  • Apply polyurethane to an area slightly larger than size of the piece of paper you want to adhere.
  • Apply polyurethane to one side of the paper.
  • Place the paper wet side down
  • Smooth out any trapped air bubbles with your foam paint brush, you can also lightly use your fingers.
  • Apply a coat of polyurethane to the top side of the paper. At this point the paper will wrinkle due to the moisture of the polyurethane. It makes the paper expand slightly causing it to wrinkle. Rest assured that it will flatten back out as it dries. Do not overwork the area trying to get it to lay flat. If it was flat and without air bubbles before you put on the top coat it will be flat again after the top coat dries.

Here is a picture of the counter while the paper is still very wet with the polyacrylic. Notice how wrinkled it is at this stage.

Now it is half way dry and you can see it is less wrinkled.

closeup after it is dry

It finished drying. No wrinkles now.

  • Repeat, over-lapping adjoining edges
  • When entire work area is covered and dried, lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper.
  • Repeat polyurethane coats (more coats ensures durability, and sanding between coats is optional)


If there are any areas that you are not satisfied with the appearance, you can sand that area down with an electric orbital sander. Then reapply the paper and polyacrylic in that area until it looks the way you want.

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