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Making Your Own Miniature Bricks

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Fairwind writes:

Thanks every one. Lots of info. Am Still building grid.

Revision Log
15 December 2002page first published

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Reader Kevin Crider sends in this tip:

Do-it yourself Miniature Bricks...


This project takes a little bit of work at first to make the mold. But after that, it's worth its weight in gold.

First, buy:

  • 1 seven-pound box of PolyBlend Sanded Tile Grout
  • Quikrete Concrete Acrylic Fortifier (The fortifier is needed for use with small projects to keep them from crumbling)
  • and Concrete Color

To mix it all together, just follow the instructions that come with them. I experimented with the mix to fit my needs and wants.

Make (cheaper to make your own) or buy 1/8th inch wood strips (can be whatever size you want - I used 1/8 inch). Make a grid about 5" by 5" (makes approximately 70 bricks at a time) with the wood strips so that each square is the same size as your bricks (notch each intersection of the grid so they fit together and lay flat).

Important: You have to coat the entire mold with something so the bricks won't stick to the mold. (I use Wesson non-stick cooking spray.) I also use a small piece of scrap wood to lay the grid on, and spray it too so the grout doesn't stick to the scrap wood.

After mixing your grout, fortifier and color, pour it into the mold and make sure every brick section is filled.

Use a scrap piece of wood to lay across the mold and scrape off any excess grout.

Let dry completely (where I live, that's about 9 hours).

Tilt your mold up on one side, supporting it with your fingers, and gently push each brick out of the mold using a push stick the same size as one of the bricks (so it will go through each little square). So far though, my bricks have been practically falling out by themselves.

Glue or hot-glue them to your project and spray them with a clear coat (not glossy) to seal them so you can add the mortar lines... sanded tile grout works fine for this too. It can be applied easily and is easy to clean off the sealed bricks with a damp sponge. Note: I was fortunate enough to be able to apply the bricks directly to my project. Another idea is, to cut 1/32" or 1/64" ply-wood (plywood or something laminated so it doesn't warp) sheets in sections and attach/finish the bricks to that while working in comfort on a desk etc. and glue them in sections onto the project like a jigsaw puzzle around windows, doors, etc. Just be careful to account for the extra thickness of wood it will add to the project, and stagger the bricks so they will fit together if you have more than one section to assemble.

Spray the grid each time with non-stick before making more bricks. So far my total cost has been less than $20 USD and I have made almost 700 bricks using about half a box of sanded grout.

Recently , I purchased a small sheet of plexiglass approx. 1/4" thick (cost $2 USD at Home Depot) and made my mold from that using 5-minute epoxy (less than $2 USD at Wal-Mart) to glue it together. It takes a little more work but lasts a lot longer than a wooden mold. So far, it's working great. Your mold can be made from wider material to give you a larger glueing surface when putting it together. It's the thickness of the mold that is important - that will determine how thick your bricks will be.

The look and feel of these bricks add a realism to a building that is hard to explain. After the bricks are installed and I add the grout between them, I like to finish them with an even more realistic touch by cutting a sponge or something similar to the rectangular shape of the bricks and use different shades of the coloring to make them look that much more realistic by dabbing over each brick to give the color patterns of real brick on real buildings.


the grid

Above is a picture of what is left of my grid after it was broken while moving. I'm finished with it for this project, so I haven't made a new one yet. Hopefully you can see it well enough to get an idea of what your grid may look like.

scraper tool

To give the grout lines between the bricks more detail, I made a simple scraper tool out of a wire coat hanger. The shape is just whatever is comfortable and has a small hook on the working end.

scraper tool in action

Here I show how I'm using the coat hanger tool to dress up the grout lines. Do this gently and scrape back and fourth between the bricks and up/down between the ends of the bricks. Don't go too deep, you only need to give a small hint of the grout lines to add to the realistic look. As you can see here, The corner was damaged during our move. Three other corners were damaged also, I haven't fixed them yet. Please keep in mind...These pictures are not of finished bricks. Before I'm finished, they will look great!