The Brentwood Dollhouse: Cork Brick Tutorial

19 Sept 2022

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.  
Before we dive in, if you missed it I have partnered and designed this brand-new dollhouse for Miniatures.com.  The Brentwood is available and sold here.  For part one in this series check out How It Started.

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.  Miniatures.com sells it here. I also used a square, a utility knife with a fresh blade, and a 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 used Aleenes tacky glue to adhere the bricks to the house.


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 after it was glued.

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.  It also made painting the bricks much easier.


I began on the largest gable going up row by row.  The 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 louvred shutters and cut them in half so that I had one full section.



I decided to brick 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. 

Highly recommend this method! I think it is faster than doing egg cartons and you can either go really rustic or very uniform depending on how you cut.  Plus an entire sheet to the front of the house is only $11 USD.  Let me know what you think!






Comments

  1. This is stunning! I love love this!

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  2. Very Beautiful! Kudos to you and Miniatures.com for offering this kit! I cannot wait to get started on mine!

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  3. Me parece que queda muy bien. Este tipo de ladrillos ofrecen un bonito efecto con el relive.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this fantastic work. The brick work is stunning.
    Hugs, Drora

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