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How to Add the Effect of Real Grouting to Brickwork Models

Wayne models OO gauge and asks readers:

“I am constructing a plastic model of a building and would like to detail it giving the effect of grouting otherwise it will look fake. How can I paint brickwork to have the effect of grout between the bricks.”

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9 Responses to How to Add the Effect of Real Grouting to Brickwork Models

  • Herbsays:

    I brush deleted light gray paint onto the model and then rub it off with a paper towel. Do not let the paint dry. The paint will fill in the grout lines and age the bricks

    • David Stokessays:

      Herbie – I think you mean Diluted paint, not deleted as written

  • Sheldon Clarksays:

    First, paint the whole of the brick/stone work in brick colour and leave the building for at least 24 hours for the paint to dry and harden. Then paint it again, a bit at a time, in a fairly dilute grout colour and, before it dries, wipe it off with a cloth, so that the bricks show through in their correct colour; you may need to repeat this process in places. Finally, it will be very effective if you paint random bricks in a slightly different (lighter, darker, redder, more yellow) brick colour, using a very fine-tipped brush & slightly diluted paint.

    • J. Macsays:

      This is good advice. Also there’s a safety factor to not smear the brick paint by using a acrylic latex for the bricks color then after that dries, use a diluted oil base for the grout color to run into the cracks. The oil base thinner should not affect the bricks as if you use all oil based paints and think the thinner won’t bleed off some red color. For small batches you just have to mix your own paints from what’s in the garage and sample the colors till you get t right. Let gravity and thinner run the color of grout into the brick edges. Oil and water don’t mix so that’s your advantage.

      • John Byerssays:

        You said, ” For small batches you just have to mix your own paints from what’s in the garage”. Model paints have much more finely ground pigments than house paint. In a small scale, thinning house paints may not work well.

  • Richard B. Waltersays:

    Dollar Tree sells small buckets of spackle (for $1.00, of course) that can be colored with acrylic paints to represent different colors of mortar. Work it into the cracks and wipe off the excess with a paper towel. Follow up with a damp paper towel unless you like the “dusty” brick look. This is the best method I’ve found.

  • Johnsays:

    Does the model have pigmented red or yellow brick plastic? If red, then use an acrylic wash of white (10 to 20% paint to water) and start at an end side, and brush the whole side with the wash. It will settle into the grout grooves nicely, and you can adjust the mixture for coverage if necessary. Wait until is is partially dry, and using a lightly damp cloth, wipe the wash off the bricks vertically, so any remaining is part of weathering. Dry brush brick red where needed, and dry brush brown or black to complete the aging look. Now, complete the other three sides, using the same proportions. Yellow will need stronger white, but the formula is the same: Paint On, Paint Off ! Good Luck.

  • Billsays:

    There are a number of ways to get the mortar onto you models. Painting it on and wiping it off is a tried and true method. Just make sure to not let the mortar colored paint dry before trying to wipe it off. I use “Roberts Brick Mortar” (look it up on the internet). Stir well, brush on, allow to dry, wipe of the brick with a damp cloth. I then tint it with a wash.
    Other methods that I am aware of and can produce very nice result are:
    1) 50-50 mixture of mortar colored paint and 70% alcohol mixed together. Apply this to your painted wall by loading a small brush with the mixture and touching the brush to the wall and allowing the mixture to be wicked into the mortar lines. This method will leave mortar colored dots that you can pick up with you finger or spread to simulate ged brick.
    2) On a painted wall take a pastel pencil of the color you want for your mortar. Lay the wall on a flat surface and rub the pencil firmly across the wall. The pencil will fill the mortar lines and only a small amount will be left on the brick if you rub firmly enough. The brick surface can be cleaned with your finger
    3) Paint your wall the colour of the mortar and allow to dry. Using a firm fan style brush dry brush the brick to colour the brick keeping the brush as close as possible to parallel to the wall.
    Lots of options.

  • Ian Grantsays:

    I found, by accident, that touching a diluted mix of a mortar colour onto part of the “brickwork” allows the colour to run in a capillary action through several mortar grooves, when it stops running touch another part until the desired effect is achieved. Wipe any excess colour off
    bricks that the brush has touched.

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