Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Using Spacers in Brick Laying

Lisa asked a good question about the spacer I referred to in my article about creating a faux brick wall. Sometimes, the simplest tools can be very useful. I measured the width of the mortar lines on the bricks of my own house and found that the mortar was .4” wide. Divide that by 12, and you get a fraction of .03”. I have some, unused business cards from a previous job. I found that gluing three of them together comes very close to .03”.

I trimmed the cards lengthwise so that they were about ¾” tall by 3.5” long. This made the spacer high enough that I could grasp the spacer firmly, but not so high that it made the work awkward, and wide enough that I could glue several bricks in place before I needed to move the card over to lay more bricks. I also made a second spacer about ¾” by about one inch. I inserted that between the bricks so that I had consistent vertical and horizontal spacing throughout the project. I made two of those shorter spacers.

Each time I glued a new brick into place, I pushed it up solidly against both the horizontal and vertical spacers. The reason why I made a second, small spacer was that I needed to have the glue become fairly tacky before I pulled out my first spacer. By the time I had glued in a second brick, the glue on the first brick had usually become tacky enough that I could pull out the first spacer and move on to lay a third brick. And on it went.

I found only two disadvantages in using these paper spacers. One problem is that the glue occasionally seeped out from the edge of a brick and adhered to my spacer. (I had to replace one of my spacers after doing about half of the bricks.) The other problem is that the spacer somewhat obstructs previous rows of bricks laid. Once during the process of doing my wall, I had laid about four or five bricks before I noticed that I had not staggered the first brick of the row using a half brick. (My spacer had obstructed my view of the row just below it.) I ended up having to tear out the row and start over. Aargh!

I hope this helps to explain what I did, Lisa! Thanks for asking!


dales_dreams said...

You go to such great lengths for realism! I would have never thought about using a spacer. Good thing to tuck in the back of my mind for later when needed. Thanks! :)

Caseymini said...

George, have you tried using an old credit card, cut up, for a spacer. It may be close to the size you need and it wouldn't stick. If not that, something else made of sheet plastic of the right thickness. I use a cut up credit card when I am making DAS bricks. It looks to be about the right scale.

George the Miniguy said...

I just pulled out my Visa card and measured it with my vernier caliper. Dang! You're good at estimating the thickness, Casey! It was .03" thick! However... I didn't have an old credit card sitting around when I did my bricks and I DID have left over business cards. I'll keep half of my old credit card next time I get a new one and cut the old one in half. Thanks for the idea.

Linda said...

ahhhhhh Casey is full of fabulous ideas....although i do think maybe she steals them from Tessie :P
Great tips George :) i must try the bricks one day :)

Linda said...

i gave you an award...on my idea what i'm doing so i hope this is right :)

Norma said...

Great to read such clear instructions for the brick wall George, thanks for taking the time to post such detail including the photos.

Maybe instead of using white cardstock for the bricks and then having to colour all the edges, how about starting out with a light grey card? (one that is coloured all the way thru, not just on the surface)

I'm looking forward to reading more of your blogs :)

George the Miniguy said...

That's an interesting idea, Norma. I like the white showing through on some of my bricks. With the grey, I'd lose that effect; however, white could be added by dry brushing a little in places on the bricks. (After all, the white that shows up on real bricks is on top of the brick color.) Most important to me is that the material be acid free so that it doesn't discolor and crumble with age. If you can find matte board that is both colored and acid free, you probably have a great start on it. Thanks for your comment and suggestion!

Related Posts with Thumbnails