Deborah Knight of my dollhouse miniatures chat group asked how I do it and I thought, "How funny, didn't I already explain the process in my blog?" Guess I'm spending too much time blabbing on and on about Dark Shadows, and not enough about the nuts and bolts about Merriman Park.
How to Do It:Step One: With any project, surface preparation is key. Seal your surface with a quality primer. I used to be on the enamel-primer-only team, but recent improvements to latex primers have brought me around. (Cleaning up with soap and water, as opposed to chemical solvents was a big factor in my change of heart).
Step Two: Two coats of gesso make up your mortar base. Be sure to tint your gesso with acrylic paints --the au natural gesso is a bit too bright for most projects. I used a drop or two of burnt sienna for Merriman Park.
Step Three: On top of the gesso, apply two coats of your brick base color. Bricks come in many colors and I mixed mine from artist's acrylic paints, but any latex paint will do. Keep in mind that your finished bricks will look considerably lighter once the bricks are etched into your base coat. Let base coat dry for at least twenty-four hours.
Step Four: With a ruler, mark the horizontal mortar joints. I used 3/16th" for Merriman Park.
Step Five: Using a small woodworker's gouge, etch the horizontal mortar lines. I found it helpful to go up two or three inches at a time. That is, mark your lines for two or three inches and then go ahead and etch them in. Continue marking and etching. If your lines are off by even a little, it will show. You can always paint out any mistakes and do over, but that is such a drag! The gouge will leave miniature curlicues of acrylic paint all over the place, so be warned! Use a small, stiff paintbrush to keep them at bay.
Step Six: Mark your vertical lines. This creates the "individual bricks" so take your time and be accurate. Merriman Park is an eighteenth-century house so they would have used the flemish bond, which is what I reproduced.
Step Seven: Have a cocktail, rest your eyes and appreciate your work! (Most important step).
I haven't done Step Eight, yet, which is to go back and highlight individual bricks in a random pattern. I'm working on bricking the chimneys right now. (Chimneys with pots, I might add, thanks to Karin Corbin!