Cutting Edge Stencils has so many beautiful patterns I found it really hard to choose just one. Inspiration struck one night when we were out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants resides in the Administrative building of a 1900's Brewery that has been reclaimed into restaurant and retail space. It has the most amazing lightly whitewashed bricks, with black, creamy teal, and warm wood accents. To say it is a beautiful, is a huge understatment. It is the perfect combination of romantic and industrial and it is everything I wanted our bedroom to be.
Now most people like to call this Farmhouse Industrial. I don't think that is my style at all. While I love Farmhouse industrial style to me conjures up images of milk buckets, cows, and other barnyard accents. I may be from a small town, but I wasn't raised on a farm and my husband is from a big industrial city. So the whole farmhouse thing definitely doesn't appeal to him. I am using this project as a platform to launch my new design style, Romantic Industrial. It has all of the old world rough vintage charm with soft feminine accents and no barnyard anywhere in site.
When I set out to stencil my wall I really wanted it to look like real brick so I used a combination of nine different colors to give my bricks the depth and character that you would expect to find in 100 year old bricks. I purchased all of my Valspar paint at Lowe's in their sample sizes and then mixed it in very small batches into a home made chalk paint. All together the paint cost $26 including tax.
Bay Sands 5008-1b (I used this for my wall base)
Tagsale Linen 3001-10c
Shoreline Haze 6008-1B
Subtle Peach 2003-8c
Fairmont Penthouse Stone 6008-1c
Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist 5005-3c
Bleached Shadow 4002-1c
Lincoln White Sash 7004-14
Mark Twain Gray Brick 4005-2c
Small Batch Chalk Paint Recipe
To make my home made chalk paint I mixed 1/3 cup of paint with 2 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and 2 tablespoons of Floetrol (can be purchased at Lowes in the paint dept). After mixing it together add water in tiny increments to desired consistency.
I started by painting my feature wall with a batch of my Bay Sands Chalk Paint. It took the whole sample container of paint to cover the wall. I mixed the chalk paint a little on the watery side on purpose. By adding too much water to this homemade chalk paint recipe it will break down the latex paint causing it to take on a gritty consistancy. I did this on purpose to give my "grout" the look of real cement. ** I only did this for my grout. I do not recommend doing this for the other colors. It is too thin and may cause the pattern to run.** After mixing my paint I used a regular paint brush to apply it to the wall. This helped to make the wall look like real cement.
Instead of rolling out my brick I used a set of disposable foam stencil brushes that I purchased at Michaels to complete this project. You only need 1-2 brushes at a time to dab and blend each brick. Over time you will need to get new brushes especially if you start and stop this project as I did. After awhile the Plaster of Paris will build up and harden in the brush, causing it to be too stiff for even blending.
To keep my bricks from having too much of a canned appearance I didn't blot the excess paint off of my foam brush before applying it to the wall. This caused a little bit of paint to seep under the edges of the stencil. However, this little bit of seepage gave each brick it's own unique shape giving the wall a more natural flow. **You should not use this method with other intricate stencil patterns**
I also tried to make my bricks appeared in random patterns, as real bricks do. Some bricks are solid colors and others are a combination of colors blended together to give them depth and interest. I chose to keep the darker colors to a minimum and only used them to accent the other bricks.
The longest part of the whole project tapping out each brick individually. I worked on this project over the course of a week a few hours at a time. In the end it probably took me 15-17 hours to complete. However, I was working by myself and only as nap time would allow. So this required extra time to clean up after each use. This project could be easily accomplished over a weekend with dedicated focus.
I really wanted to give my brick wall some nice details that made it seem believable. One way I did this was to add arches above both of my windows. After doing some research I found the right arch for my space from an article published by Columbia University on brick arches. To make my Relieving Arch pattern I took a piece of moving paper that was about the width of our windows and folded it in half. Then using a regular pair of scissors I freehand cut half an arch shape starting with the tallest point along the fold of the paper. Then I simply opened the paper back up revealing a complete arch shape. Then I leveled the paper above the window and taped it into place with painters tape.
To give the illusion of bricks turned on their side I simply took single brick stencil and added a piece of painters tape across it a little less then half way down. Then I taped it to the wall using my paper pattern as a guide and painted these bricks the in the same fashion as the others. Make sure to leave "grout" gaps between each brick.
I added the arches after the main portion of my wall was finished (the span between the windows) but before I finished the area around the windows. To add the bricks around my arch I simply waited until they were dry and then taped the larger brick stencil over the patter and filled in the bricks. Be sure to leave enough space around the arched for the "grout" to show through.
Finishing Up the Project
Because the windows in our room are so close to the corners of the room there was no way for me to use any of the stencils in this area. So I waited until the very end and free handed the brick with a regular paint brush. Then I tapped over the area using one of my foam stencil brushes to give it the same look as the rest of the wall.
I also did this along the top edge of my wall. I found that the stencil left too large of a gap along the top, one that would never be believable on a real brick wall. To fix this I also free handed half width bricks in this area using a regular paint brush then following it up with the same foam stencil brush for a consistent look.
In the end I am absolutely in love with the way this project turned out. The bricks are full of so much depth and detail just like real bricks. Our cable guy even had to walk up and touch the wall before he realized it was only paint. I'm not sure there is a better compliment than that. This wall turned out to be everything I hoped it could be and it has inspired me to give our bedroom a complete overhaul. So don't forget to check back over the next several weeks as I continue to make our master bedroom a romantic industrial retreat.
Be sure to come back next week as I'll be sharing all the simple dirty details on our new vintage electrical insulator pendant lights. I love the way they turned out. They are the perfect accent to our new romantic industrial master bedroom.
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