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In between making Christmas candy and wrapping presents this weekend, I found some time to put my empty egg cartons to work – as masonry for the outside of a dollhouse!
Today I’m going to show you three possible ways to create miniature masonry, with just an egg carton, some acrylic paint, glue, and creativity!
- acrylic paints I used different colors for each style
- an empty egg carton
- brushes of various sizes. I like using foam spouncers
- glue (white, tacky, or otherwise)
- Mod Podge or another decoupaging medium
I decided to test my masonry on a thin length of plywood. I gave it a base coat of acrylic paint in Oatmeal. This color will come through as the mortar. You could easily use an antique white, or even a dark gray, for the mortar.
I wanted to first try creating a style of masonry that belongs on an English cottage.
I started by ripping up the egg carton. I aimed for semi-rectangular pieces or ‘stones’ that are vaguely similar in size. I used only my fingers to rip the paper but tried to avoid having jagged edges. I aimed for stones that were roughly hewn from a quarry. When I had a large pile of these stones, I was ready to begin!
I placed stones by picking pieces of the egg carton, applying a thin layer of tacky glue, and then manually putting them on to the board. The positioning was very flexible. I sometimes ripped pieces further to get them to fit with the rest of the layout. I tried to maintain roughly the same distance between stones, to provide balance.
Once I had placed all the stones and the glue had dried, I was ready to paint! I decided to go with a brownish gray shade to the stones.
To start, I filled a little paint palette with drops of acrylic paint in these colors:
- mushroom brown (a light brown with undertones of gray)
- antique white
- moss green
I grabbed a paper towel and a small foam brush and got to work!
I dipped my brush into the oatmeal color, then dabbed most of it off on the paper towel. The key to painting the stones is a light hand. Remember, you can always come back later and put more color in, but it’s much harder to take color out! I lightly brushed color onto the stones until I had a good base coat. If I found that too much pigment had been applied to one area, I used another, large foam brush to blend out the color.
When I had laid down a good coat of oatmeal paint, I used the same brush to pick up a dot of mushroom brown paint. Again, I brushed most of the color off onto the paper towel. I lightly dabbed brown onto the stones, applying color just to the edges and to the very tops of the stones. This color just added some dimension to the stones.
I then applied a layer of antique white paint in the same manner.
Lastly, I used the same small foam brush to pick up some moss green paint. I applied a thin layer of this paint to just the very bottom stones. This is the perfect look for the bottom of a house that is sitting in the grass.
After that, all my ‘masonry’ needed was a good clear coat. I gave it 3 thin coats of Mod Podge, waiting about 20 minutes between each coat.
2. Red Brick
I next wanted to try my hand at bricks. There are many different shades of brick, but I aimed for a classic weathered red.
I created bricks by cutting up ripped pieces of the egg carton. There is a certain amount of precision required here because the bricks need to be similar in shape and size. I cut my bricks approximately 1/4″ wide, and 1/2″ – 3/4″ long.
Placing the bricks is much trickier than placing bigger stones because brick needs to follow a pattern. I applied a layer of glue to the plywood, then used tweezers to position my bricks. Sometimes I cut bricks to smaller sizes so that they would match up. Keeping straight lines and uniform positioning is important.
When I had placed enough bricks, I pulled together my colors for painting. I used:
- bright red
- antique white
I started off by mixing red and brown paints on my paper towel. I laid in this color heavily with a small foam brush.
Using a regular paintbrush, I added in light accents of black, focusing on the edges of the brick. This makes the bricks pop and creates a ‘sooty’ look that would be perfect for a fireplace flue.
I applied accents of white in the same way. Lastly, I applied a thicker layer of oatmeal paint all over the top. This mellowed the bright colors and made the bricks look more uniform.
3. Gray Brick
I had some bricks leftover, so decided to test out another color scheme for my bricks.
I laid out another brick pattern, left them to dry, and then started on another paint palette.
- Amish gray
I applied a layer of Amish gray using a small foam brush and then used a fresh paintbrush to apply accents of black and white.
What do you think?
Which style was your favorite?
Have you ever used egg cartons to create masonry for your dollhouse or miniatures display? Let me know in the comments!
Til’ next time,