Faux Brick Wall




About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

I love interior brick walls and this is how I made a realistic looking brick wall out of homemade paper clay.

That's right...Paper Clay!!

Step 1: The One Year Test!

This is an easy and inexpensive project, but it is very time-consuming!

The final brick wall is paper clay over wallpaper. I tested it for a year first and let me tell ya' it was impossible to get off! My paper clay recipe dries incredibly rock hard and is pretty much indestructible!

The gray color paper clay you see on the wall is made with newspaper, but I found 'toilet paper' paper clay to be easier to work with.

Before doing this over wallpaper, please consider:

-Is my wallpaper in good condition?

-Is my wallpaper easily removed?

-Will adding heavy indestructible paper clay make my wallpaper fall off?

-Why would anybody do this to their wall?

-Does the awesomeness of this project justify the time?

Step 2: Indestructible Paper Clay Recipe!

My paper clay recipe is:

-6 rolls of unscented toilet paper

-6.5 cups of wood glue (1.5kg or 3.3lbs)

-1 cup of joint compound (dry wall mix).

You will need

-Large bucket with a lid

-Mixing attachment for your power drill

-Plastic strainer

-Smaller bucket to turn your toilet paper into pulp

I have tried many recipes and this is my favorite. The paper clay also keeps for a long time. I'm currently using clay I mixed last year.This is for one batch of my paper clay.

EDIT: There is no flour in this paper clay. My paper clay recipe is mold resistant. I live in humid Japan and have had no luck with flour based clays. It all depends on the weather where you live.

*There is a risk of mold when using flour.

Here's an easy way to make a batch!

1. Soak one roll of toilet paper at a time in the smaller bucket using warm water. The toilet paper tube will easily come out and the toilet paper will turn to pulp. Break up the pulp with your fingers and then dump it in a plastic strainer. Push as much water out as you can and then put the pulp in the big bucket. Do this for each roll of toilet paper.

2. Add the wood glue and joint compound. (You can also use a glue-all or PPA glue) I live in Japan and wood glue is the cheapest.

3. Mix carefully at first, so the joint compound doesn't fly up in the air. Mix it thoroughly until it becomes paper clay.

*It's better to buy buckets and tools that will only be used for this.

*If the paper clay is too wet, add more paper pulp. If you have the option of buying pure dry pulp, it is definitely better and easier!

My project took:

-21kg of wood glue

-14 cups of joint compound

-147 rolls of toilet paper

For real, I felt totally embarrassed going back to the store to buy toilet paper everyday.

"Ewww, it's that toilet paper dude again!"

Step 3: Shaping the Bricks!

Again, this project was time consuming, but easy. I know that there are easier ways to make a faux brick wall, but I wanted to do the entire thing with my hands. I love artistry and the process. It's the best part of every project for me.

Anyway, all you'll need are your hands, a level and a piece of wood.

Start from anywhere by simply pressing paper clay onto the wall. You can always add more in the future even when it's been painted.

I eyeballed the brick sizes and simply pushed the wood into the paper clay while balancing the level on the wood. That is it.

The second picture is how I made the lines. Just find a piece of wood the thickness you want your mortar and wide enough to set a level on and you're golden.

You'll often get clay sticking to the wood. I tried putting painters tape on the end of the wood and it helped a little.

You'll need to be constantly pushing the clay with your fingers. You'll also use your fingers to shape the front of the bricks.

I occasionally rubbed a red whiteboard marker on the painters tape I put on the wood, so it would come off in the clay. This is a good way to keep track of progress on big projects.

Step 4: Dry Time and Painting!

The paper clay will take a couple days to dry. Pointing a fan at the clay will help it dry faster.

I painted the bricks with a matte red wine and I mixed my own mortar color. The black color is just diluted black paint and the white is dry brushing.


-add a little joint compound to the color you'll paint the bricks. It will give a faux aged look.

-dilute dark colors with water to add faux stains

-use paper cups to hold paint. They're easy to hold when you're moving around a lot and it helps cut down on wasted paint.

-The best way to dry brush is by gently dabbing the tip of a dry paint brush into paint then dab it on a paper towel to remove any excess paint. Gently brush the bricks with the brush.

Step 5: Joint Compound!

I mixed up some joint compound and smeared it over the bricks in a couple spots. It looks awesome!

Step 6: Another Faux Project in the Works!

This is one of my next projects! I gave a shiny black wall light a rusty faux finish and put it on the new brick wall.

Step 7: My Lame Video!

This vid is from Facebook and it's extra lame!

Step 8: Candy Time!

I threw a circus party a couple months ago and decked out the built-ins with candy.

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    24 Discussions


    2 days ago

    This is incredible! I think i:'m going to try this to make it into it's own sort of removable wallpaper with foam board or something of the sort. A distressed white brick always looks good in my opinion. You have earned my vote, bud!

    1 reply

    Question 8 days ago

    The wall is very impressive! I was wondering aprox. how many bricks you can do from one batch and aprox. how much time you have to do it before what is in the bowl or bucket starts to harden?

    1 answer
    bryans workshopsierradee

    Answer 8 days ago

    Thank you very much! It all depends on the thickness of the bricks. One roll of TP will make 2-4 bricks. My bricks are fat, so one batch made about 12 bricks. This clay will keep forever in a bucket with a lid too. I have buckets of clay that are well over a year old.


    10 days ago

    This looks pretty, but what is the combustibility of the "paper clay". Considering the high surface area to volume ratio, this scares me from a fire protection standpoint.

    Have you tested the dry product as installed? Have you considered adding Borax, or similar compounds to the mix?

    1 reply
    bryans workshopmmarvi

    Reply 8 days ago

    It's not fireproof, but it's not highly flammable. I've tested this with props made out of the clay. Here is a picture of a large paper clay Halloween prop. It wouldn't set on fire, so I built a small bonfire and set the prop on top of it.


    Question 9 days ago

    Do you think I would be able to use this outside? Or would I have to seal it first?

    1 answer
    bryans workshopsg13NHarri

    Answer 9 days ago

    You need to seal it if it will get wet. I use this clay for outdoor props and it won't hold up to rain without it. Get a good 'exterior, waterproof, UV resistant top coat.'


    9 days ago

    Beautiful work! As an artist myself, I appreciate the aesthetics of this. I live in Texas, and I'd like to try it as a "Texas Limestone" wall rather than the brick you've done. And since I also live in the East Texas woods where the humidity is far too high most of the time, I've always been concerned over the mold factor with flour based clays. Joint compound seems like a great solution to that problem. In response to a previous poster's concerns, I can't see this being much more of a fire risk than dry wall, ship lap, etc., covering a similar wall expanse would be. Thanks so much for the clear instructable.

    1 reply

    Thank you and Texas Limestone sounds awesome! I've been making props with this paper clay recipe for year and have have never had mold issues. This clay is great!


    9 days ago

    Wow, that's very impressive - you can also tint the paper clay and have it dry that color - will depend on the depth of color you need

    1 reply
    bryans workshopjeanniel1

    Reply 9 days ago

    Thank you! That's a great tip too! What do you recommend for tinting?


    10 days ago

    I love the project. I may go for a little smoothing so it isn't all distressed brick but that's just me. And I'm already wondering about other ways of utilizing this medium. Thank you very much. I love the detail, the tips, and the photos. Wonderful instructable.

    1 reply

    Tip 10 days ago on Step 3

    Another Way To Make The Paper Clay.

    Pulp up newspaper and water. I used an electric drill and 5 gal buckets
    Squeeze out water using window screening
    Add high gluten wheat flower as the binder( Much cheaper than glue) and mix thoroughly. I made a lot so I mixed with a baker's mixing equipment. (It helped to have a friend who was a baker) .
    Roll the "clay" out to form sheets of the thickness you want.
    Place the sheets on the wall and texture and finish according to your artistry
    It becomes rock hard when dry

    1 reply
    bryans workshopjbyankum

    Reply 10 days ago

    Great tips!
    I've never had luck with flour based paper clays in Japan. I do love flour based clays and think that they are much easier to work with, but mold eventually gets them.


    11 days ago

    very well done! I'm a big fan of timeconsuming -yet rewarding- projects :)

    1 reply
    bryans workshopMimikry

    Reply 10 days ago

    Thank you very much! I'm all about these time consuming, yet rewarding projects!