I wanted the long front porch of Myrtlewood to be made of brick. But the individual bricks sold at dollhouse supply stores are expensive and too thick for my purposes, and the bricks that come in sheets just don't look realistic to me. I've seem some fantastic results from people who sculpt bricks out of clay, but I haven't worked with clay much (yet!) and needed something more foolproof. The most realistic results I've seen have resulted from a technique using cardboard egg cartons (yes, you read that right!). I found a great tutorial online and was eager to get started.
So I started cutting up the egg cartons I had stashed just for this purpose. I cut, and I cut and I cut some more. Then I rested my hands for a few days and then I cut some more! I cut out each "brick" by hand, and even snipped off each corner of each brick for a more realistic look.
When I had a fair number prepared, I started gluing them, one by one, directly onto the plywood base. As the porch runs the entire 60-inch length of the house, I had a lot of brick to lay!
Don't worry; it's going to look really good once I finish!
After I had glued down all the bricks, I sponge painted them, first using a burnt sienna base and then layering several other colors over the top until I achieved a more realistic brick color. Then I sprayed the whole thing with a matte sealer. Once that was dry, I spread grout with my fingers over the brick, pushing the grout down into the crevices between the bricks and wiping off the excess with a damp sponge. Here's how it looked once I finished:
Bricking the front porch took me two entire weekends to complete, so I don't think I'll be bricking any other large areas of the house (although I do intend to use this same technique to brick the insides of all of the fireplaces). It was totally worth it for the porch, though. I think it turned out great and am so pleased with how realistic it looks!
From the garden...
3 weeks ago