Step By Step: How To Make Wood Look Like Brick


When it comes to home renovations and changing your home’s look and feel, many of us have become handy DIY specialists. Thanks to today’s technology, the wealth of wisdom available online, there is no need to spend chunks of money on home renovations anymore. Do you want to change some wood features to look like a brick? No problem, here is a step-by-step guide and a few easy options to do just that.

Making wood look like bricks is a technique called faux. It is an easy and inexpensive way to change one element into another. You could do this by using various applications, painting the bricks, using 3D faux brick panels, and creating polystyrene bricks. 

For the best options in faux brick materials, click here.

Let’s face the facts. Sometimes human beings get tired of seeing the same old things. They say a change is as good as a holiday, and changing your home décor can feel like you have moved into a new home. What happens if you get tired of looking at your wooden themed fireplace or the wood divider wall that does not seem like a good idea of yesteryear? You change it to the brick look that you wanted in the first place.

Step-By-Step Guide: How To Make Wood Look Like Brick

You have finally decided to renovate your home. Your budget is tight, and you would prefer less mess and intrusion to your daily life, so you have decided to “turn” your wood into “bricks” yourself, without using actual bricks or a professional. You are now entering the magical world of “faux bricks.”

The techniques of “faux” and its applications create the illusion of something being present, but not in its original form. Painting your wood to look like genuine bricks or painting and molding polystyrene panels to look like wood are examples of these magic tricks. There are more accessible options as well. 

There are many different techniques to consider when deciding to go for the brick look. You can paint the wood to look like bricks using certain products, or you can buy 3D faux wall panels, brick wallpaper, or brick tiles. If you want to create a unique look yourself, you may opt to make your bricks out of polystyrene. The options are all easy to apply, and if done correctly, your wall will look like a work of art. 

Step By Step Guide: Painting The Bricks

Here you will create the new look all by yourself, using paint techniques that will create the brick look.

Step 1: Prepping

You will need to get the following tools and products ready before we can start transforming the wood into brick:

Step 2: Cleaning

Start by removing everything off the wood (any screws, hooks, décor) and clean the surface with water and soap, making sure to get any grime, dust, and dirt off. Should there be areas that the soap water won’t clean, then use some sandpaper to clear the area.

Step 3: Primer

Applying a primer ensures better adhesion of the paint to the service, automatically increasing the paint’s durability and providing additional protection to the material being painted. Ensure that your primer’s color is the color you want your grout lines to be (the lines around your bricks).

  • Pour the primer into the painting tray.
  • Use the regular roller to apply the primer onto the wood area.
  • Cover the wood entirely and leave for a minimum of two hours to dry.

Step 4: Measuring

Use your ruler and start measuring your bricks on the primed area. Bricks usually are 3-4 inches wide and 7-8 inches long. Deciding on the size of your brick is up to you, be consistent with the size you choose.

  • Allow for a minimum of 1-inch spaces between bricks as this will be your grout lines.
  • Space the bricks in symmetrical lines so that they will look natural.
  • Mark the outlines of the brick with the colored chalk that you purchased.

Step 5: Spackling

Here is the step where you create your bricks.

  • Cover all the grout lines with the painter’s tape.
  • Take your trowel and completely cover the entire area with ½ -inch spackling.
  • Make sure to clean the spackling of the painter’s tape using the damp cloth.
  • Let the spackling dry thoroughly.

Step 6: More Spackling

After allowing the first coat of spackling to dry completely, you need to do the following:

  • Take your textured paint roller and proceed to paint the whole wall with a second coat of spackling.
  • Now you wait until this second layer is dry and proceed to remove the painter’s tape.

Step 7: Sponging

The spackling process should have yielded a wall that looks like bricks, and now you have to get creative and paint your bricks.

  • Take your sponge and start adding color to your bricks.
  • Ideally, you will start with the color red, painting all the bricks with the sponge.
  • When the red has completely dried, you can start adding colors like black, white, yellow, and gray.
  • Be wary of letting each added color dry first before adding another color.

Step 8: Cleanup

You can now clean all the items you have used with water and soap.

  • Allow your newly painted brick wall to completely dry (24 hours).

As you can see, this process is nothing as traumatic as construction people invading your house, breaking down things, only to build them up again in a messy frenzy. And you will be amazed and proud of this DIY exercise!

Step-By-Step Guide: Installing 3D Brick Wall Panels

This the perfect option for when you don’t have the time or patience to paint your faux bricks. Using 3D brick wall panels is about getting the layout right and the correct fastening of the panels to the wooden space. Installing the panels is a job for two persons, so get your better half involved, and share in the success afterward.

Step 1: Prepping

You will need to get the following tools and products ready before we can start transforming the wood into brick:

Step 2: Cleaning

Clean all the grime, dust, and dirt off the wood using soap, water, and a cloth. Remove any screws, hooks, and décor. If some areas are hard to clean, use sandpaper to ensure the site is clean and even.

Step 3: Measuring

You now need to take your tape measure and measure the area that you want to cover. When you have the measurement sorted, head off to your nearest hardware store and buy the 3D faux brick panels, bearing in mind that you will probably have to cut and paste to fill your wall perfectly. 

Step 4: Attaching

Ok, so you have figured out how the panels will fit on the wooden area. Now the fun part begins; its puzzle building time!

  • Spread the adhesive onto the back of the panels, zigzagging the bond in patterns and in areas where needed.
  • Place the first panel on the wall and make sure that someone keeps it from sliding off the wall (adhesive will not dry quickly enough).
  • The second person should now be ready with the nail gun and start nailing the panel to the wood.
  • Attach all the panels, ensure that they are aligned using the level, try to keep the bricks that are cut off by the panel seams to fit into the adjacent panel’s brick. Ensure that the grout lines flow into each other.
  • When you are done with attaching the panels, you will usually be left with smaller areas to fill.
  • Mark the required sizes with the chalk on your remaining panels and proceed to cut it out with the jigsaw.
  • Attach the smaller pieces the same way you did with the complete panels until your whole wall is covered.

Step 5: Compounding

Right, so your puzzle looks incredible and fits like a glove. Well done on getting this far. However, if you want to make your faux bricks look even more like the real deal, you should apply some compound (all-purpose drywall joint compound).

  • Take your trowel out and start applying the compound on the bricks.
  • When you apply the compound, make sure to use a thicker layer in recessed areas and when covering grout lines. 
  • Keeping your trowel flat, you will spread a thicker layer of compound. 
  • The compound does not have to spread perfectly even. It just needs to cover the whole wall.

Step 6: Covering

When you are finished “whitewashing’ your new wall, you might see that the panel seams are more pronounced and visible. In this case, do the following:

  • Put some compound on your finger and cover these lines and any grout areas you think need more mixture.

You are now allowed to take a step back and admire your handiwork, high-fiving your better half, as they played a massive role in the outcome of your new beautiful whitewashed brick wall!

Step-By-Step Guide: Polystyrene Faux Brick Wall

Another modern method for creating a faux brick section in your home is using polystyrene. This technique and application will take longer than other methods; however, you will get the exposed brick look, and some methods can’t offer this effect.

Step 1: Prepping

Make sure to get the following tools and products ready so that we can start the process:

Step 2: Cutting

Right, it is now the time to decide on the size of your bricks. When you have that confirmed in your mind’s eye, continue doing the following:

  • Take your ruler and pencil and mark your size bricks on the polystyrene.
  • Use the polystyrene foam cutter and cut out the bricks, don’t worry if it’s not perfect bricks. This discrepancy in size will add to the effect of the wall.

Step 3: Tracing

Some see this as the tedious part of the process, and therefore I will provide you with two applications options:

  • Decide on what the “grout” distance between bricks will be. 
  • Take a polystyrene brick and start tracing it in rows, either starting from the bottom or top, making sure to keep the distance between bricks the same throughout. 
  • The most effective way would be to start from the left-hand side and work to the right.
  • If you follow this way, it will be simpler when we get to the step where we apply the glue.

The other option that you can use:

  • Gather your bricks, wood glue, and the ruler. 
  • Skipping the tracing part, put glue on the brick and surface, attaching the polystyrene bricks as you go along, using the ruler to ensure the correct spacing.

Step 4: Attaching

This step involves the gluing of your bricks. If you went with the tracing option, then do the following:

  • Apply the wood glue in the traced blocks drawn on the wood.
  • Apply the wood glue to the polystyrene bricks and attach them to the wood’s traced glued spaces.
  • Take some smaller broken polystyrene pieces and paste them in-between some bricks, creating a stone debris look.
  • Leave the polystyrene to dry and stick to the wood properly, overnight if viable.

Step 5: Soldering

You will now start the process of molding the polystyrene into a brick.

  • Put your soldering iron on
  • Use the soldering iron to round the polystyrene brick’s edges by melting it.
  • Continue to make dented holes in your bricks, and don’t hold back on your creativity. Make lines and marks that mimic an actual brick.

Step 6: Primer

The bricks on your wall are in desperate need of some color at this stage.

  • Make sure to shake your grey aerosol primer well before spraying your first base layer onto the whole area.
  • Follow the dry time instructions on the can. Usually, half an hour of dry time is sufficient.

Step 7: Textured Paint

The bricks on your wall should resemble real bricks by now. Now for some final touches to complete the faux process.

  • The bricks are now ready for the topcoat to be applied.
  • Get the can of texture paint out and start coating your wall.
  • Let each coat dry before adding another coat.
  • Two to three coats should do the trick.

These are some of the techniques you can use to create your faux brick wall on a wooden surface. Here are some more options that you could look into if none of the above feels like the best option for your DIY needs:

Brick Tiles

When going for this option, it is recommended that you hire a professional tiling contractor to install these brick tiles as there will be actual grout involved when attaching them to the wood area.

Brick Stencils

You will use a stencil featuring bricks on your wall and paint the bricks as you move the stencil around, covering your whole wall.

Final Thoughts

As you are well aware now, you can change a wooden feature to look like genuine bricks. And it is much cheaper than replacing your wood structure with real bricks. The effect that any of the three step-by-step guides will generate will leave you proud and amazed. 

Your friends and family will have to feel the display to confirm faux bricks, as their eyes will not see the difference!

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