Exposed Brick . . . how did they do that?

February 8th, 2011

A brand new model home but there’s a wall with plaster crumbling away and brick peeking through . . . how did they do that?  It’s easy to achieve the look with craft acrylic paint and a faux brick stencil.   Decorative Artist Margaret von Kaenel  taught an Exposed Brick class in our retail shop and we’re sharing her instructions.


  • sea sponges (one for each color) dampened
  • craft acrylic paints – Margaret’s favorite colors for brick were brick red, dark brown, pink, & cream
  • Styrofoam plates
  • bucket of water to rinse sponges
  • paper towels
  • level – love the iHandy Level App for iPhone
  • brown paper grocery bags
  • painter’s tape (low-tack)


Begin by tearing or cutting brown paper grocery sacks and placing them on the wall to make the edge of the faux plaster.  Dilute light grey (or your choice of grout color) with water and sponge lightly over the wall.  For a more mottled look, add a slightly darker grey (or darker shade of your color choice) also mixed with water and sponge over the lighter grout color.  Soften with a clean damp sponge.   Spray the back of the brick stencil with repositionable stencil spray adhesive.  Tape the stencil in place making sure the grout lines are straight using a level.  You don’t want crooked bricks.  Before beginning, all sponges should be slightly damp and wrung out completely.  A too damp sponge will result in paint seeping or bleeding under the stencil.   Start with your predominant color by loading the sponge, then removing the excess on a paper towel.  Fill in the brick areas almost completely.  The other colors are then added randomly until you achieve the look you want.  Treat each brick differently for a more realistic look.  Complete all bricks in the exposed area.  Remove bags and set aside. 


Americana craft acrylic paint, Charcoal Grey is a very brownish grey and makes an excellent shading color.  Water down the acrylic paint to the consistency of ink.  With a small stencil brush (use the paper towel to offload the paint making the brush very dry) shade along the bottom and one side (the side away from the light source if you have one) of each brick.  Replace your torn or cut paper bag and use that to shade the edges of bricks as well. 

We love exposed brick on a wall with a faux finish.  Cracks can be hand painted if you want an older look.

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