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!