How to Paint Faux Brick on Walls

Looking to add that oh-so-rustic appeal to be had from brick, but don’t want to get into the headaches and expense of the masonry involved? Now you can have your bricks without all the fuss (well, there is some fuss!) by learning the relatively easy technique of how to paint faux brick on walls.

This is a look that can “go” just about anywhere in the home – kitchen, family room (looks great on the same wall as a fireplace!), or in a bedroom. But because it is such a focal point, it’s best to reserve the faux brick look to only one wall to avoid overwhelming a room.

It’s best to get your technique down before you work on a real wall. Give yourself a few days to practice first and use a large piece of cardboard, drywall, or other large surface to practice on before you attempt the real thing.

Prepping, Priming & Base Coat

Begin by properly preparing the wall you’re about to work on. Thoroughly clean the surface with a mild soap, like liquid dish soap, and after making sure all soap residue is gone, paint with primer. (Do not skip this step! Greasy or dirty residues can prevent paint from adhering properly, possibly buckling, chipping, and peeling off in the near future!) Allow primer to dry six hours, preferably overnight.

Next, apply a base coat of paint in a neutral color. Since this will be your “grout” lines in the brick, keep the color in the light ranges of gray, beige, or light brown. Use a high-quality paint so that you only have to apply one or two coats for complete coverage and also to ensure your final results will last. Allow your base coat to dry 24 hours.

Marking & Masking “Grout” Lines

Measure and pencil-mark the wall to indicate your bricks using a chalk line every three inches for the horizontal lines. For the vertical lines, cut out a three-inch by eight-inch template from cardboard and stagger the lines to simulate the way real brick is laid in courses.

Cover the lines with one-quarter-inch painter’s or masking tape. Offset the tape consistently so that when you cover the spaces between the lines with your faux brick material, the lines will be hidden, and you won’t need to worry about erasing them.

Applying Stucco, Sponging on Paint

Spread premixed interior stucco onto the spaces you’ve left for the “bricks” with a three- or four-inch putty knife to a thickness of one-eighth to one-fourth-inch. Go over the surface with a natural sea sponge to create your brick texture. Rinse sponge and randomly apply a color of paint slightly darker than the stucco.

Work quickly as you need to remove the tape no longer than 15 or 20 minutes. You want to avoid allowing the stucco to dry before taking off the tape to prevent it from causing the stucco to crumble off as you remove it or to not be able to take off the tape because the stucco has it adhered permanently to the wall. After removing tape, allow everything to dry for 24 hours.

Adding Complementary Colors for Realism

Pour two complementary colors of paint into separate pans. Using your sea sponge, dab whichever dominant color you want the bricks to be onto the faux surface, going over it with the secondary color to highlight areas as desired. Allow to dry overnight, and…you’re done.

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