Bricks! Bricks! Bricks!

The beige is killing me, zapping my colorful personality with its dull, 'I'm neutral' soul-sucking hue. The solution: Bricks. Lots and lots of bricks, in the ballpark of 365 of them.

In order to brick my mantle I would have to tear out the sheet rock, add twice the studs, hang masonry board, and pour a small foundation in the crawlspace below just to hold the weight and be structurally sound. That's not going to happen.

Instead of giving up, I dipped into the world of faux. My first attempt was paint. No... not enough depth and screams of thespian cheese.

On my next attempt, I made a few test boards, taped out the mortar grid and smeared the whole thing with sheet rock mud. While it was tacky I pulled the tape, knocked down the edges and let it dry. I then painted each 'brick'. Results, okay. The mud cracked and the thickness was difficult to keep consistent across the board.

When all else fails, ask the Internet. I stumbled across at site that offered concrete molds for brick veneer... Eureka! The rest will hopefully be history.

By using Plaster of Paris weight is no longer an issue. Thirty minutes after pouring the bricks can be popped out. The molds are an antique (which goes with the Arts and Crafts look I'm shooting for) brick design including nicks, bumps and bruises and if I crack and break one its no biggie, it adds character. For the keystone above the archway I'll have to make a custom mold but the result will be worth the trouble.

With eight different shades, I can faux paint a brick in about 2 seconds flat with a damp paper towel and I'm bound to improve on that time the more I do. The Old English gives the whole thing a lived-in look that paint alone won't achieve without the smell or mess of using a true stain.

To finish the mantle, the bricks will be glued onto the wall with construction adhesive and then I'll pipe in the mortar (like frosting) into the cracks. Let it set to the touch and wipe with a wet sponge to even out.

To hide my creamy (surprise, surprise) tiles around the fireplace, I plan on covering it with faux ceiling tin painted a matte black with steel grey highlights.

I can see it all together in my head, definitely better than brown and leap years ahead of beige. Only 352 bricks to go!


  1. Forever Young said...


    I miss you and all of your crazy, insane energy laden projects :)

    I can't wait to see the end results. I am a little lost on the ceiling thingy majigy so I will wait patiently for the pictures at the end.

    It sounds very cool and I am sure it will look awesome.

    Hey Quillan is starting a photography blog, I will put a link on my site :)