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How to Make Brown Paper Walls

Victoria Bailey

Using textured wallpaper is an elegant way to redo the walls when designing a room, but it can be very expensive. Covering your walls with the brown paper technique can have the same effect, but for a lot less money.

Turn crumpled brown paper into elegant walls.

This clever wall covering method creates the look of textured suede on your walls, giving an otherwise boring background depth and color. You can cover your wall with brown paper without any previous wallpapering experience, and most rooms can be finished in a single day.

  1. Tear the paper from the rolls into irregular pieces. Don't try to tear the pieces into any particular shape, but keep them all about the size of your hand or a little larger.

  2. Designate one garbage bag for edge pieces and the other for middle pieces. The edge pieces are all those that have a straight edge from the paper roll. Crumple each piece of brown paper and place it into the appropriate bag. You will need the edge pieces to make a neat line at the edges of your walls, and the middle pieces to fill in the rest of the walls.

  3. Pour wallpaper paste into a paint tray. Remove one edge piece from the bag and smooth it slightly, opening up the crumple. Paint one side of the paper with wallpaper paste and place the paper piece on the wall, lining up the edge of the paper with an edge on your wall.

  4. Add more edge pieces, overlapping a little or a lot, depending on how you want your brown paper wall to look. Be careful to keep the edges straight along the edge of the wall for a smooth continuous line.

  5. Use the middle pieces of paper to fill in the rest of the wall. Overlap the papers to create a layered effect. Continue adding paper pieces until your entire wall is covered. Allow your wall to completely dry, at least overnight.

  6. Brush on a layer of clear or tinted polyurethane coating to protect your wall finish. The polyurethane will darken the look of your walls when it is wet, but the look will lighten when it dries.


Find rolls of paper at hardware stores or home improvement stores.