Monday, May 23, 2016

Bricks, Bricks and More Bricks!


The central focus of the whole little piggy scene is going to be the fireplace. So, I needed to come up with a design that would fit the layout and accommodate the elements that I want to include. Important stuff, like firewood storage, a place to bake yummy loaves of bread, and of course a large enough fire to heat the house and cook in. I measured the wall space and then drew a rough design that was the perfect size for Maxwell. He seemed very happy with it!



I decided that foam core would be the best material to work with. It's easy to cut and is much lighter than wood. Using my drawing, I measured and cut the pieces.


I did a dry fit to make sure it looked proportionate to Maxwell. Then I glued and clamped it - leaving the front and shelf as separate pieces for easier brick application.


While the glue dried, I set to work making my "bricks". I grabbed a couple lids from my pile of egg cartons. I picked out colors and squirted a little of each one on a paper plate. I started with the lighter color combinations as the backdrop, then splotched and dry brushed additional colors until I liked the effect.


Once the paint had dried overnight, it was time to cut out the bricks. I only used two lids, but it took a very long time to cut each little brick to size. I wondered if I'd have enough, but looking at the giant pile of individual bricks, I felt pretty good about it.


Brick by egg carton brick I went. In total, it took me about two full days to cover every inch. In the end, I had just enough! Lucky, lucky!


I left the front and the shelf detached so that it would be easier to grout. This meant that I had to attach the side bricks and the brick openings around the shelf only half on so that they could be joined to the main piece and grouted after the pieces were glued together.


I wrapped around and glued bricks where the openings could be seen.


Remember the Dreadful Egg Carton Stones incident? I'll never forget it, so I diligently applied two coats of matte varnish, letting them dry thoroughly in between, and then used old reliable SPACKLE rather than MOSIAC TILE GROUT to grout the bricks. It came out perfectly, in spite of the horrible fear I aquired from messing up the stones. Phew!


While I let everything dry and while I contemplated aging the grout/brick, I decided to get out the stuff I needed to make the fire. I purchased a fire kit from somewhere last summer. It has three bulbs; two orange and one red. It flickers and runs off of it's own battery so you don't have to worry about it pulling juice from your 12v system and dimming the lights (this is a known problem when you run the flickering bulbs on the main circuit of your house lights). It comes with a piece of shimmery cellophane and gives the effect of a real fireplace. 


I glued the three bulbs into a metal fire grate, then layered the cellophane and logs to get the look of a real fire. This is it when it was finished drying and hooked up to a 9 volt battery to test it. I love it! It's going to look great under the copper pot in the fireplace!


I made a swinging pot arm and hook and attached it to the inside of the fireplace, then aged the grout and brick with a watered down brown wash. I love the way it all turned out! All it needs now is a mantle and some accessories!



You can also see in the photo that I have finished the floor brick tile and have begun the kitchen brick tile, but I'll save that for another post. Maybe by then I'll have the rest of the walls bricked as well! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for one more mini day before work steals all of my time.

Have a wonderful week! I hope to be back soon!

Jodi

26 comments:

  1. Hi Jodi! You've done a SMASHING job of not only making the bricks but also in grouting them! They look authentic and the shape and the color of them is Spot On! :D VERY WELL DONE! :D

    elizabeth

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    1. Thank you, E! I am very happy that they turned out after the whole stone thing. I have so much more brick to go - inside and out, that I am a bit nervous, still! I hope they go as well!

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  2. Hey Jodi, it is fabulous. Painting the egg carton lid before cutting the bricks must save a lot of time. All the brick work looks wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, Shelley! It really does seem to save time and I think it's also less messy. The foam core gets moist with the glue, grouting and the wiping and aging, but it also held up well. What a relief!

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  3. Wow! Just gorgeous. Love the color and your grout looks perfect. Nice and aged and natural. Can't wait to see it with the mantel. And maybe some mini loaves of bread baking to go with the stew in the pot.

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    1. Thank you, Sheila! I hope that I can do the mantle justice - we shall see... Oh and I have lots of food planned for that fireplace! We are feeding piggies after all! :O)

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  4. looking super realistic - you did a great job in painting them as well. how about blackening them a little on the iside?

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    1. I was debating that very thing, Marion... Since the premise is that the Big Bad Wolf caused the little piggies to build their homes in such a hurry, I am wondering if it should be a little imperfect but mostly new looking. What do you think?

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    1. Thank you, Helen! I am glad you are here!

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  6. Wonderful work! Thanks for showing how it's done.

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    1. Thanks you, Drora! I hope any part of it was helpful to someone! :O)

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  7. Can totally appreciate the work involved in making and laying all those bricks...they look superb and Maxwell should be as pleased as punch to see the fireplace become a reality. Thank you for posting the 'how to' and sharing how it came together!
    Cheers, Alayne

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    1. Thank you, Alayne! It sounds like you may have some mini brick laying experience yourself! Hard to believe the things we can do with egg cartons, right!

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  8. very well done! My you are good at this stuff! :-)

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    1. You are too kind! Sometimes things turn out great, and often they don't quite. But I shall never stop trying becaue I love the whole process and feel so grateful that I am able to have this hobby in my life! As long as I can still see, and as long as my hands and brain can function I will keep trying everything!

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  9. We're both seeing bricks in our sleep now! :D Looks fabulous!!!

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    1. I know! And you need to show us a little more of yours lady! Just lift the skirt a little higher! Lol! I wanna see!

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  10. Hello Jodi
    The fireplace is wonderful. I love the bricks and how you've aged them. This is a brilliant project. Keep the posts coming :)
    All the best
    Vivian

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    1. Thank you Vivian! I most certainly will keep sharing! I think think that is my favorite part. You all inspire me so much!

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  11. Hello Jodi,
    This fireplace is fantastic! I love the design and the brickwork came out perfectly. It looks so realistic! I cannot wait to see this house take shape...you are off to an amazing start.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thanks so much, Giac! Any tips for a mantle in that brilliant brain of yours? :0)

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  12. Nice job! I'm glad you gave egg cartons another chance 😀

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  13. Thank you so much for this post. I had seen a fireplace much like it on ebay or somewhere and they wanted big bucks. Now I get to have the fireplace I want without spending money and the satisfaction of making it myself!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I am so glad that this has helped steer you toward making your own! It is much more satisfying! If you have questions during the process, I'll be happy to help! Mini money is precious, so its great to save some by making what you can!

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