Monday, February 10, 2020

Painting Bricks.....

And Grouting Stones.....

Before I could progress any further with the floor of The Sugarplum Studio, Dear Readers, I needed to complete the fireplace that stands between the doors on the end wall of the ground floor room. This was because in order to add the grout in the floor, the fireplace needed to be in place. And if I were to add egg-carton bricks to the fireplace, I would surely wish to do that before I got out the grout, so all the grout could be accomplished at once. And even if I decided to just use paint for the bricks, that would be easier done before the fireplace was attached. As I was debating the merits of paint versus three-dimensional egg carton bricks, I was thumbing through an old book I have about miniatures. It was talking about the "Nuremberg Dollhouse" one of the oldest known "baby houses", built in 1639, and mentioned that paint was used throughout the house very effectively to suggest three dimensions where only two existed. Aha! (thought I) If paint alone is good enough for the Nuremberg House, then surely it is good enough for the Sugarplum fireplace! So I jumped right in and began painting the faux bricks. In the picture above you can see the beginnings... just rough covering of the cardboard with a mixture of brick-ish colors. I use red oxide, burnt umber, alizarine crimson, black and white mixed in varying amounts.

It is best to keep it very rough and imprecise.
Then I started to add the rough "grout" lines in gray.

The spacing is not precise....
The effect will be not closely examined when done...

Then I started in making the bricks...
Trying to keep them in line....
but not being too precise.
(This will mostly not be visible in the end....)

(Please don't get out your rulers!)
Testing the hearth in place....

Then it needed more soot on the bricks...
And testing it again.... I think it will do!

Time for Glue!
(And those trusty sophisticated clamps!)

And then finally, Dear Readers, it was time for the grout!
I don't know why this step always makes me so nervous....
but it does.
I spread the mixture over the floor....
it is such a small area it didn't take long.

And then I wiped the excess off with a damp sponge.
It really didn't take long at all!

It didn't take off enough of the "glossy" effect of the polyurethane....
but I will be "dirtying" it up a bit when the grout dries.

When the grout is dry it becomes too "clean" and new looking.

The grout is just too invisible when it is clean...

But I really like how it makes the stones look more real!

Well, Dear Readers, that is as far as I got.
Perhaps you can tell me which is more faux... 
the bricks or the stones?


  1. A mi me parecen muy reales los dos,se ven geniales!!

  2. You did a fantastic job with those bricks, they look pretty real to me. The same with the stone floor, it looks great. I´m sure when you get to make it dirtier it will be fabulous.

  3. The grout and the stones look very real to me, Betsy, you did an excellent job! The same is for the bricks of the fireplace, with a bit of soot it looks just like the real thing, well done. Seen your skills, as an artist/painter, I'm sure that the floor will get more dirt and final touches, so I know that at the end the result will be fantastic!
    Hugs, Ilona

  4. The bricks look wonderful! I would never have guessed they were 'only' painted. The stone...I'll be honest. I liked it better without the grout because you could see the stones better as individuals. The ground blends everything together. I'm sure as you keep going I'll absolutely love it though.

  5. I agree with everyone about the bricks - the effect is probably even better than if you'd taken the trouble to make each brick & apply the grout, etc. As for the floor, the jury is out. I agree with Ilona.
    What an incredible perfectionist you are! A valuable trait for a dollshouse maker.
    Much love,

  6. If all of us could paint three dimensionally as beautifully as you can, Miss Betsy, I think egg cartons would be out of business! Beautiful job, and very believable to the eye! The fireplace looks snug and cozy! The floor came out wonderfully, as well, and it is so much fun to see this room begin to come together!

  7. Super! Your brickwork looks very realistic! Fireplace and floor look great!
    Have a nice day!

  8. The fireplace and the floor look great. The bricks, in this scale look much more realistic painted like this.
    Hugs, Drora

  9. All I can say is WOWEEE- Betsy!
    The painted bricks look Fab and the fireplace between the archways Look Wonderful!

  10. Fireplace and bricks look real and the stone floor too.

  11. I too am joining the choir shouting both the bricks and the ground stones look fantastic and very realistic to me! ;O) But I must say I'm somehow shocked because I had to read something I never expected to read here on your blog: "This will mostly not be visible in the end...." Huh??? And this from the Queen of "but I will know it's there"??? *LOL*

    But without any more joking, it looks awesome and according to me it was a great decision to paint the bricks for the fireplace. I really wish my wooden "bricks" which I've started to attach to the Beary House's side walls would look as good and even as yours. ;O)


  12. I really like the bricks and arches - a great idea and very effective.

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