I’ve had several body paintings where a brick design was needed. Being able to create a nice looking brick wall, quickly, is a really good thing. The best way I know is to make a stamp that will create a nice, even, uniform pattern.
First, you’ll need cellulose sponges – those cheap sponges that are hard, but swell up when wet then dry hard again. Buy a big bag at the dollar store – you’ll find them useful for other designs too! Or washing dishes… (do people still wash dishes by hand?)
The texture of these sponges is perfect for bricks as is so it is just a matter of getting them sized to the scale you need. If you need a single large brick, just trim the sponge to the right size and you are ready to go.
Generally I want to create a brick wall fast so I will cut my sponge into a pattern that will interlock so I can work across a body in a minute by stamping the repetitive pattern over and over.
What you will need:
– Cellulose sponges
– a straight edge – a metal or hard plastic ruler will work, or edge of a tin or cutting board
– a lino knife or box cutter (I find the heavy-duty ones easier to use as the blades don’t curve)
– water to wet the sponge
First step is to figure out your pattern size. Then, lay down the straight edge for the first row and cut along it… you want to cut no more than half way through the sponge so set your blade before you start!
The next cut will be to create the first grout line so it will be quite close to the first, then the next cut will be the width of the brick again, then the grout line, then another brick width, etc. until you have the whole sponge scored.
Now, wet the sponge and wring out the excess water. Bend the sponge to open up the grout line and use the scissors to remove the narrow strips between the rows of brick.
You will have nice even rows. It is important to have them deep enough that when you press the paint onto the skin that the grout lines stay clear. Too shallow will allow paint to fill them and transfer while you stamp.
Once the cross-cuts are done, just repeat the whole process to cut out the grout lines.
Due to the design I was stamping I then cut my stamp into two parts… I had narrow areas to stamp the design on.
I trimmed the ends around the bricks so that I could interlock the design as I stamped it.
It is a low tech and very effective method!
When you are ready to use the stamp, wet the sponge and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. It needs to be damp to work and be pliable!
To load the sponge I spread some cream Fardel on a paper plate and pressed the sponge into it, then tapped it on a paper towel to make sure the pattern worked. Too much paint will cause you to lose the texture, too little and you don’t really get a look of bricks. I use the same method to load liquid paints – spread some on a paper plate and press the sponge into it.
If you are using a cake you can load the sponge by either wetting the whole cake with a spray bottle and pressing the sponge into the cake repeatedly until you get all the bricks coated, or you can use a well loaded brush to paint the make-up onto the bricks.
Then line up the sponge where you want to start your row of bricks, press over the whole sponge firmly, then lift straight off (you don’t want to smudge it), then position carefully to interlock the pattern, and repeat.
The sponge will clean up easily and dries out to be stored for the next time you need a brick wall.
Here is an example of the results with the sponge I made above:
There are stencils for brick patterns, but they don’t provide the texture which to me is a very key detail.
Hope this is of use to some of you! Let me know it you use this idea and share your results.
October 8, 2012 at 22:31
I wish to express my sympathy to those who do not have an automatic dishwasher. Hopefully you have someone else to do them for you. After the washer and dryer, fridge and stove, the dishwasher is the 5th most essential appliance, in my opinion. I do love my panini press and blender, but could manage without them…
October 8, 2012 at 18:27
Thanks Shannon! I still wash dishes by hand 🙂 I was going to pick up some sponges tonight at the store, I’ll grab some in a few days to give this a try.
October 6, 2012 at 16:41
Thanks so much your are smart and talented and kind that’s a great combination:)
October 6, 2012 at 20:42
Aw, thank you. I think it is too! ROTF (p.s. I’m funny too!)
October 6, 2012 at 03:48
Thanks shannon, this is fantastic. I always enjoy reading your blog enteries it is very generous to share x
October 5, 2012 at 23:57
Great tip thanks . We don’t have a dishwasher either so wash by hand too.
October 5, 2012 at 19:25
Thanks for the great tip, Shannon. I will have to pick up some sponges next time I’m at Walmart (haven’t seen them in local dollar stores).
There’s no dishwasher in my building so we still hand wash.
October 5, 2012 at 19:50