DIY Scrapbook Paper Stairs Makeover

Scrapbook Paper Stairs Makeover

This scrapbook paper stairs makeover is an easy way to give plain stairs a completely new look.

You know how some creative ideas can find their way into the back of your brain, and then quite happily stay there for a long time?

You continue doing other projects, while they put their feet up, and make themselves quite at home, with no plans to ever leave.

Then suddenly one day, you feel the need to kick one of them out of the comfort of your brain and into the sometimes uncertain reality of the actual creating.

And you take the leap of faith into the creative unknown.

That’s exactly what happened with this project.

Sponsored: Decoupage product provided by DecoArt. This project idea, choice of product used, and all opinions are 100% my own. See full Disclosure Policy here.

large lot of thrifted scrapbook papers

This scrapbook paper stairs makeover has been in the thinking stage ever since I found a lot of scrapbook paper about a year ago at my local thrift store for 25 cents a sheet.

There were hundreds of them.

I took mostly blues, greens, pinks, and yellows.

colorful scrapbook papers and contact paper for stairs makeover

The other thing needed for this project was white contact paper, which is the perfect base for the scrapbook paper.

And then it was onto getting this project done, one step at a time.

stairs before makeover

Here are my rather sad living room stairs before. They were really in need of a happy and cheerful makeover.

They’ve needed to be repainted for a few years now, but I kept putting it off because I had a bigger and better idea in mind.

And I didn’t want to spend my time repainting when I was always sure that someday soon I was going to give them their much needed bigger and better makeover.

Or so that’s what I kept telling myself. lol.

Someday soon didn’t come very soon at all, but it was finally here.

And there’s no sense crying over a procrastinated project.

It was time to make my living room stairs smile.

Measuring and cutting the contact paper

measuing and cutting contact paper to size for stair risers

The back of contact paper is marked with measurements, which made it pretty easy to cut the pieces I needed for my stair risers.

The contact paper is just the vehicle to hold my scrapbook paper design.

I couldn’t imagine sitting on my stairs for hours on end decoupaging pieces of scrapbook paper right onto the risers. Especially considering the design I was planning.

So this was the best way I could think of to give my stairs the makeover I wanted, and to make it as easy on me as possible.

And now this is where the math comes in.

There’s no way around it.

If I wanted my project to have a chance of success, I had to do the math.

When my math teacher in Grade 5 told me I’d need math for all kinds of fun things during my lifetime I didn’t believe her.

She was so right, and I believe her now. lol.

pieces of contact paper cut to fit stair risers

After measuring the stair risers, I cut my pieces of contact paper to size and labelled the ones that were slightly different than the rest.

Our stairs are original to the house, built in 1890, and are a little wonky. The top three risers are a slightly different measurement but similar to each other, and the bottom riser is a measurement all unto itself.

So I had to figure out what pattern I would use to fit all the risers the best.

Cutting the scrapbook paper pieces

using cardboard template to cut scrapbook paper into pieces to create colorful patters

And after a lot of measuring and figuring, I came up with a four inch template made from cardboard.

I used this template to cut out all the pieces of scrapbook paper in many different patterns.

The four inch square fits my stair risers perfectly when placed on the diagonal. And it also fits the length of my stair risers pretty well too.

Sometimes I cut out squares just as squares, like above.

using cardboard template on an angle to cut scrapbook paper into pieces to create colorful patters

And depending on the pattern of the scrapbook paper, I sometimes cut the squares out on the diagonal.

colorful scrapbook paper cut into pieces for decoupaged stairs makeover

Until I had a whole bunch of squares in a variety of blues, greens, pinks, and yellows.

I wanted to have a lot of different patterns available to me so I had a lot of choices as I was creating the design for each stair riser.

Decoupaging the scrapbook paper designs

creating pattern on contact paper with scrapbook paper cutout

I cut a bunch of squares into triangles, set up my desk, and then started decoupaging the scrapbook paper pieces onto the contact paper.

This part was so much fun because I was able to do it at my craft studio desk, rather than sitting on the stairs.

I think that would have pretty much been a nightmare.

This way I was able to play with the colors and patterns until I was happy with each piece.

decoupaging scrapbook paper onto contact paper

The easiest way to do the decoupaging when you’re working with many small pieces is to use paper store flyers.

You just flip the page to a fresh one as you need to, and move on to a new flyer when all the pages are used up.

DIY stair riser contact paper with decoupaged scrapbook paper

And here are all my scrapbook paper stair riser designs.

I did a dry fit for all the stair risers, and when I was happy with my choices, I numbered them with sticky notes. I did this so that I could see the stairs complete, to make sure that I still wanted the treads to be white.

Which I did.

If I wanted them to be a different color, I would have preferred to know that before putting them all in place.

Before I go any further there’s just a couple of things I want to mention.

1) While each design piece was drying they did curl at the edges, ends, and corners. Once each one was completely dry, I placed it under piles of books to flatten it out. And I just piled each one on as I went. That worked beautifully to flatten them all out, as you can see in the photo above.

2) For me, the contact paper was just a vehicle for the scrapbook paper because for whatever reason this contact paper wouldn’t consistently stick to the stair risers by itself. I did a test before I even started this project. It could have been the paint on the stairs, or the cold temperatures, or maybe it was just cheap contact paper. It also could be the wonkiness of the stairs. Whatever the reason, it wouldn’t stick completely. But the contact paper was nice and thin, so I decided that I would use it anyway by decoupaging it onto the risers.

3) Before I started applying the scrapbook paper designs onto the risers I gave all the treads a new coat of fresh white paint. Because I was covering up the risers, there was no need to paint them.

Applying the scrapbook paper designs onto stair risers

doing a dry fit of scrapbook paper on stairs

I did a dry fit of each stair as I went.

As I mentioned earlier these stairs are old and a little wonky, and every piece needed a little trimming to match each riser.

trimming scrapbook paper pattern to fit stair risers

So I trimmed a little here and a little there.

removing backing from contact paper

Then I removed the contact paper backing because it added thickness that I didn’t need or want.

applying decoupage medium to back of contact paper

And I applied the decoupage medium onto the back of the contact paper.

applying decoupage medium to stair riser

As well as on the stair riser.

applying scrapbook paper contact paper to stair riser

And then I slid the design into place, smoothing with my fingers as needed. You could also use a brayer if necessary, but I didn’t feel the need to use one.

Supplies needed to create DIY scrapbook paper stairs makeover

  • scrapbook paper
  • white contact paper
  • DecoArt decoupage medium
  • brayer (if necessary)
  • foam brushes
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • cardboard for template

DIY Scrapbook Paper Stairs Makeover

How to DIY Scrapbook paper stairs makeover

And here are my finished stairs after three top coats of decoupage medium.

They are much more me now, and they go so well with my striped plywood floor makeover.

View of scrapboook paper stairs makeover from above

And here’s what I see when I walk out of my upstairs craft studio.

The new look of the stairs ties the downstairs and the upstairs together, including my blue faux painted rag rug and pink faux painted rag rug.

DIY scrapbook paper stairs makeover

It’s super important to me that my home decor is fun, happy, and cheerful, and this stairs makeover does all of that for me.

Decoupaged scrapbook paper stairs makeover

And it makes me smile.

DIY stairs makeover with decoupaged scrapbook paper

I love seeing the colors through the spindles before I even get to the stairs, and it all goes so well with my throw wall art hanging.

stairs before makeover

So here’s that rather sad before again.

How to DIY Scrapbook paper stairs makeover

And the very happy and colorful after. It just makes me smile.

I’m so happy with how my leap of creative faith turned out.

I guesstimate this project cost me about $40 dollars. About $20 for the decoupage medium, $8 for the scrapbook paper used, about $8 for the contact paper, and a few of dollars for foam brushes.

That’s pretty inexpensive, and it was actually quite easy to do.

Even the math part. lol.

But it did take quite a bit of time. Mostly with the marking, cutting, and decoupaging of the riser designs. I figure that took about ten hours.

Then, actually installing the pieces took about two hours. Mostly because each piece had to be custom trimmed to fit each riser.

So, I’m all in at about twelve hours, which I spread out over four afternoons.

For me it was time very well spent.

Now, walking up the stairs is not just walking up the stairs. It feels like I’m walking up my own stairs art installation, and I absolutely love it.

The stair makeover possibilities you could get with scrapbook paper is pretty endless, depending on the colors and the patterns you choose.

This is definitely a project that could be customized for any decor style or color scheme.

Please pin to your favorite board.

Scrapbook paper stairs makeover that is fun and funky

Thanks so much for reading and until next time,

keep on keepin’ on!


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  1. Oh my goodness Tuula, what a FUN makeover!! Love your bright colorful home! I wonder why the contact paper wouldn’t stick, that’s weird. It would have been better if it would have so that you could remove these easier if you decide to down the road. Oh well though… it turned out so cute!! Pinning!


    1. Thanks so much Tania! I’m not too worried about the contact paper, because I’m pretty sure this makeover will be staying as long as it will last. Hopefully a long, long time. Thanks for the pin!

  2. Fantastic finish! I do love it….makes me want to put in a second story so I can have stairs!! Another winner, girl!

  3. I Love it it is so cheerful beautiful job!! Barb

  4. Annette Wells says:

    It’s just beautiful and perfect for your house! I love it.

  5. Wowsers Tuula, that looks amazing! It’s not only perfect for your lovely colorful home but perfect for the age of your home. It’s like a farmhouse patchwork quilt for stairs. – Beautiful! Very clever adding the scrapbook paper to contact paper.

    1. Thanks Marie! I love that you called it a patchwork quilt for stairs. I didn’t even think of that comparison but it’s so true. And I love patchwork quilts, so it makes sense that this look works for me.

  6. This just bright and happy.The design looks very” planned”.It does fit in with everything you have accomplished so far. Happy steps!!!

    1. Thanks Charleen! Tying different elements in a room together with colors and patterns is always so much fun.

  7. I wish my mind was as colorful as yours…lol! It’s looks awesome!

    1. Thanks Shirley! I really just can’t help myself. Color just makes me happy. πŸ™‚

  8. Veralynne Malone says:

    Awesome as usual. I would never in have thought of something like that. Very cool!!!!

  9. Amy Torres says:

    Oh, my goodness! That is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I am so jealous (in a nice way)!! I would LOVE to live in your adorable home! You are really gifted!

  10. Janet Kynerd says:

    Like Marie, when I saw the completed project it looked like a lovely patchwork quilt. Using the contact paper was certainly a back saving idea. I enjoy your blog and your use of color. I am borrowing one of your ideas – the lamp shade with the postage stamps. I have the supplies, just have get the work done. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks Janet! I’m so happy you’re doing a lampshade makeover. I’m sure you’ll love yours as much as I love mine. πŸ™‚

  11. It makes me SMILE, its so cheerful!. It would add some spring to my steps, just love it. Thanks

    1. Thanks very much Karen! It does definitely add some spring to my steps. πŸ™‚

  12. Gorgeous! Everything ties together so beautifully!

  13. It looks beautiful. I’m puzzled, did you decoupage onto the unstick vinyl side of the contact paper and then put glue on the sticky side?

    1. Thanks Karin! Yes that’s exactly what I did. Decoupaging onto to non-stick side of the contact paper allow flexibility with placement. I then removed the paper from the sticky side and decoupaged that onto the risers.

      1. I absolutely LOVE your stairs! It looks like quilted fabric and is so bright and cheerful. Makes me smile. You must smile too, every time you look at your job well done! Your colorful home is wonderful!

        1. Thanks Sandy! It’s important to me that every room in my home makes me smile, and my stairs definitely do.