Lickety-Split DIY Faux Brick (Looks Just Like the Real Deal!)
We’ve seen our fair share of ugly walls to know there are a multitude of interiors that could use a little DIY faux brick finish. C’mon, you KNOW you’ve seen them too!
Exposed brick walls can completely transform a space. Depending on how you finish the brick, you can create a modern, industrial look or evoke the warmth of an old historic brownstone. Beyond custom walls, you can use the IOD Brick Texture Roller to transform a soulless fireplace into a cozy hearth or DIY a faux brick backsplash.
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We recently did a Live video tutorial that shows exactly how to create a faux brick accent wall. You can watch below or keep scrolling for a supply list and step-by-step instructions.
Here’s everything you need to DIY faux brick
(This post contains affiliate links.)
- Brick Texture Roller by IOD
- All purpose joint compound, enough to go on about ¼” thick for the project area
- Large trowel
- Spackle knife
- 5 gallon bucket with some dip water
- Laser level (to assist with rolling level and straight)
- Wide painters tape
- Optional: Appropriate supplies if wall needs prep for adhesion
The Basics for How to Use the IOD Brick Texture Roller
Step 1: Prep the wall surface where you want the faux brick and tape off adjacent areas.
Make certain you have a surface that the joint compound will bond appropriately with and have good adhesion. In some cases you may need to use a primer that will accommodate adhesion.
For example, if you have a glossy painted surface, you will likely need to address that for better bonding (this would be the case even if you were painting). Consult the notes on the joint compound packaging for best prep recommendations.
Using the thick painters tape, tape off adjacent areas to the faux brick protect it from the joint compound.
Step 2: Apply the joint compound.
Apply a ¼” thick coat of all purpose joint compound to your wall. You can use the smaller spackle knife to so this in the corners or in tight areas and the large trowel for big, easy access areas.
The thickness of this coat will affect the outcome look. You might want to play the thickness in a test area before starting as you may like an even thicker coat of joint compound.
Use a large pool trowel to create a smooth and even surface.
Allow time for the joint compound to “set up” but not dry. The amount of time this takes will vary depending on thickness, joint compound, temperature and humidity. Our testing determined that you have a long window when applying a thick coat. We had good results from as little as one hour, but even better workability at 3 or more hours.
Step 3: Establish a level.
There are three ways to do this, so just pick one.
If you’re eyeballing it, move to the next step.
You can use a string and measure method, in which case you want to establish your guide line now.
We used a laser level. To get it set to use as a guide, shine it approximately one roller height down from the ceiling line. This mitigates any issues if are level issues with the ceiling line, you can mitigate that with the level.
Step 4: Rock and Roll (on your faux brick)
Position your ladder so that you can comfortably reach the side of the wall where you’re starting from.
Dip your Brick Texture Roller into your bucket of water.
Don’t forget to do this step as it enhances the ‘release’ between roller and joint compound. It’s helpful to pay attention to your pull, which is how long you roll in between dips of water, and not how long it is before the impression starts to get sticky.
Personally, we don’t fret too much about this because we like it when there’s variation in the texture. However, you can dip and swirl in the water more often and do shorter pulls in between dips if you want a more even, uniform brick effect.
We tend to do roughly an arm length of rolling before dipping.
Keeping your level in mind, position your roller so that one of the vertical grout lines is aligned with the edge of your wall.
If you have an outside corner, as well as an inside corner, start on the outside corner and give that the priority. If you only have inside corners, the roller will leave a small gap, so allow for an estimation of alignment between the vertical grout line and the inside corner.
Slowly press the wet roller into the joint compound, and take your time rolling it horizontally from the beginning point towards the ending point. Pause periodically to move your ladder to end your pull so that it stops on a vertical grout line. This makes it easier to pick it back up without messing up your brick lengths, and ultimately your pattern.
Move ladder to continue. Dip your roller, and swish it around to loosen any joint compound that has stuck to it. Begin the next pull by lining up the vertical groutline and continuing on.
Repeat the process.
After you complete your first row, step back and check your level.
If it’s crooked or off-level, smooth it over and redo it. If it’s good to go, begin your next row of bricks.
It’s important to get your first row level, because you are setting for the rest of the rows. On some rows you may choose to compensate by fudging on the next row rather than redoing, and that works if it’s not too far off level.
If you’re using a laser level, move it downward a rollers length so that it is just below your next row to guide you.
For your second and subsequent rows, begin at the same end of wall you started at.
Pay attention to the grout alignment. Align that vertical grout line with the vertical grout line that is two bricks up (because the roller lays in two brick rows at a time and is staggered). Pay attention to this as it’s easy to miss because of the stagger.
For the horizontal grout line, you want to put it right over the lowest horizontal grout line above it, and stay in that “track.”
Remember as you progress down the wall to spot your progress for level, and to dip and swish your roller each time you step down from your ladder, or away from your work.
Step 5: Allow the joint compound to thoroughly dry..
This can take a couple of days or more depending on conditions.
Cracking is normal, and is mitigated by allowing a slow natural dry. Increasing heat or fan can cause more cracking. We appreciate the distressed look of a little cracking, but it’s always an option to simply backfill if you don’t like them.
Step 6: Seal or experiment with a beautiful finish.
Raw joint compound needs to be sealed properly. This tutorial only covers only the basics of applying your brick pattern.
There are a variety of different finishes and techniques such as white wash or painted. For example, we show you how to use the IOD Distressed Stamp to make it look like old, painted brick around minute 22 of the video.
Don’t worry! We’ve got lots more ideas and techniques that you can do with the IOD Brick Texture Roller to come so stay tuned.
Keep in mind, if you plan on painting your brick a solid color, we recommend using a product made for sealing joint compound, such as a primer, or a self priming paint (Please refer to paint manufacturer’s instructions).
More Tips and Tricks for Using the IOD Brick Texture Roller
- The roller will leave a gap at inside corners. If desired you can use your finger or a paint brush or other tool to swipe some grout lines. You can also leave it be, and it won’t likely be noticeable.
- When assessing your wall, or the area you want to do your brick in, (if it’s a portion of a wall), you will want to work in full rows. Do not start a new row until you have completed the row above it, end to end. This helps to keep your work level, and bricks properly sized.
- If you get a little off track, it is forgiving, you can re-roll it, or just compensate in subsequent rows.
- Just like all materials, different brands of joint compound will have its own characteristics. It is helpful to do a test board.
- Because of the long set time of the flat coat, you can work in large areas without worrying about it drying before you get your roller on it.
Are you ready to rock the faux brick look in your DIY home decor?
Let us know in the comments below. Now, go make something beautiful!
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