by Kristine Hanna from Paper Doll Miniatures
Today I'm sharing how I bricked the exterior of my dollhouse for part two of the Brentwood Dollhouse series. I'm so happy with how these cork bricks turned out! They are easy to apply, light, and much more affordable than some of the other brick options we have in miniature.
I previously used cork to make a stacked stone facade. That style used 1/8" thick cork. You can see it on the Belmont Dollhouse here.
To make the cork bricks I got out my large sheet of 1/4" thick cork, a square, and a utility knife with a fresh blade. I also put my self-healing craft mat under the cork. I needed one large sheet to do the front of the house and the foundation of the sides.
I cut the cork into thin strips. Overall I kept them 1/8" thick or less. The less uniform the strips are cut the more variance in depth and texture there will be on your exterior.
Once I had the strips cut, I lined up 3-4 of them in a row. My self-healing craft mat had a ruler on the sides and I used that to measure and cut 3/4" sections. This was easier to do the fewer strips you tried to cut at once but more time-consuming. One thing that helped was changing my utility knife blade every so often because the glue in the cork will dull it.
I broke up this process into 2 shifts. I did one big pile of cork, put some on the house, and then came back a few days later and cut more.
A few notes about my experience:
I decided to brick my dollhouse before the gable roofs were glued down, that's why some photos will have the roof missing. I found it easier to add on the bricks to the peaks and cut off the edges. There are pros and cons to this. I had to go back and reapply some areas around the side of the smaller gable roof afterwards.
I also did the bricking with my windows taped temporarily. At the time I hadn't had a chance to paint the windows so I wanted to be able to pull them out. This method still worked fine and I simply added some white wood filler to fill in any tiny gaps at the end.
I began on the largest gable going up row by row. This largest window trim is missing because it was broken, so I left an overlap.
I used a square to see that my bricks were staying relatively straight.
You can see the shutters in place here. I used these 1/24 miniature Louvered shutters and cut them in half so that I had one full section.
You can see in these photos that I bricked the walls behind the portico. I did this in case I wanted to remove the portico during filming. It meant that there are small gaps because the portico walls do not sit flush against the main house.
I will say it made filming later on much easier by being able to remove the portico when I wanted!
When it came to painting the brick I went with an all-white facade. I first tried Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore but it was too stark. So I also looked at Oxford (BM), Alabaster (SW), and Shoji White (SW). In the end, I went with Alabaster in a matte finish. The matte finish really made all the difference to make the brick look real. I bought all the paint at Home Depot in the small tester pots. The brick does absorb the paint easily so I needed to do two coats.
At first, I thought of doing a brick pattern instead of the lintels. It was hard to see the pattern, but the next Brentwood I do I'll likely try it again!
Because I added brick to the exterior it changed the depth of the walls. In some places, I added extra 1/4" x 1/8" strip wood to make the floors or roof extend past the brick like it was originally meant to. Below is an example of the stair floors. I smoothed out all these extensions with spackle, sanded and painted.
I added bricks to 1/4 of the sides. I topped it with a square dowel to create a ledge.