I am skipping ahead a bit on where I am with the dollhouse project because my husband wants to be able to show his friends the lunacy his wife has fallen into. (The title is what he would answer whenever asked how I was doing.)
To preface, I wanted bricks on parts of the cottage, but the commercial ones I found were either unsatisfyingly like PEZ candies or extremely expensive. A bit of research *cough* Pinterest *cough* showed me there were lots of DIY methods out there, from using paper egg cartons to air-dry clay to pouring your own silicone molds. In the end I took a lot of advice from Karin Corbin’s inspiring miniatures blog and her posts on making realistic, weathered bricks. I had to improvise on her dedicated approach, using a different brand of terra cotta air-dry clay (DAS), watercolors, and dry pastels.
Thanks to the wisdom of internet hobbyist forums, I learned I was going for 9mm by 4mm bricks to approximate British 1:24 scale bricks, and promptly realized just how many absurdly tiny bricks I was doomed to create. I was fortunate to spend some quality time with a friend’s craft-repurposed pasta machine, which let me get a uniform thickness of about a millimeter. Once out of the roller, the clay went on a sheet of notebook paper marked with a grid for where to cut. I tried to get more texture in the bricks by mixing in fine sand and drier bits of clay, along with dabbing the drying bricks with sandpaper. I carried my tray of goodies home to cure and they were easy to break apart once dry.
The next step was to roughen up the bricks with a blade and fingernails to make them look older. I taped some packing tape sticky-side up on a scrap of wood to hold the bricks in place. This is the point where my husband could only shake his head and watch his spouse make each brick imperfectly perfect, because they were “too perfect” before. This is also the point when I took the Board-O-Bricks to show to my miniatures club and the gusty polar vortex saw fit to pluck it out of the box I was carrying it in and flip it across the ill-lit parking lot. Two wonderful ladies in the club helped me save 241 of my lost sheep, who had littered the asphalt like confetti in the dark of night.
My stint in Purgatory over, it was time for a bit of the divine. Painting the bricks was a lot of fun, and it was easy to get carried away layering washes of color. The dry clay eagerly soaked up the watercolors, and soon the bricks were blushing their respective hues.
In the end, I think the brick slips were the way to go, both for the final look and because starting with red, textured clay in the appropriate size probably saved me a lot of time in the long run. All of this intrepid crafting yielded a final count of 750 of the large bricks and 175 of the smaller bricks. But hey, who’s counting, right?
*Eye twitches* They aren’t even on the house yet…