Faux Brick Wall

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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!!

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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.

Tips!

-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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    36 Discussions

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    Rhonda Chase Design

    8 months ago

    Fantastic job!

    If you ever do this again I thought I’d suggest 2 things that would make the process easier without sacrificing any artistry:
    1) You can buy cotton linters for making paper instead of tp. You mix it up into pulp just like the tp, but it is acid free and higher quality.
    2) when you’ve mixed up your pulp, adding cement pigment, which is very cheap, will give you a nice brick base color for your paper clay. This will save you some of the painting at the beginning.

    3 replies

    Thank you very much for the tips! Awesome!
    Do you have any cotton linters recommendations? That stuff is about $25 for a 225gram bag in Japan. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong stuff.

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    markgrogan

    9 months ago on Introduction

    All this while I have just been splurging on so-called 3D brick wallpapers which I painstakingly install myself as professionals often charge a hefty fee. I reckon this clay project would definitely be even more rewarding and it looks even more realistic

    1 reply
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    The Juliart

    9 months ago

    Great job! Looks amazing I use powdered pva it’s cheaper.

    1 reply
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    bryans workshopThe Juliart

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you very much! Nice, I've never worked with powdered PVA. I'm all about cheaper too. About to check out Yahoo Shopping Japan!

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    Aren't there all sorts of wallpaper these days that could give you the same effect? You probably couldn't get the texture, but if you're just going for the look, that would probably be sufficient for you. And at a cheaper price too!

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    bryans workshopDavid_Hamilton

    Reply 9 months ago

    I've seen brick wallpaper before! It looks awesome, but I'm all about the artistry.

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    imakealot

    9 months 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
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    sierradee

    Question 10 months ago

    HI,
    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
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    bryans workshopsierradee

    Answer 10 months 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.

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    mmarvi

    10 months 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
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    bryans workshopmmarvi

    Reply 10 months 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.

    received_381778695890169.jpeg
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    sg13NHarri

    Question 10 months ago

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

    1 answer
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    bryans workshopsg13NHarri

    Answer 10 months 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.'