DIY faux brick wall from paneling

My DIY faux brick wall is (finally) done.

DIY faux brick wall from paneling

Here’s what the wall looked like before, when it was part of my son’s bedroom:

wall before painting and hanging faux brick paneling

After he left the nest, I decided to give his old room a makeover and turn it into a guest room/office with a farmhouse industrial vibe.

My husband was onboard with most of my plans for the space. Unfortunately the one idea he didn’t like was the one I needed his help with: the faux brick wall. He liked the pictures I showed him of similar walls on Pinterest. But I lost him when I explained that the wall would be made from paneling.

wall after painting

While he was stewing over the idea, I pulled the wallpaper border down and painted the walls in Dutch Boy Birched White.

Then I measured and did the math to figure out how many 4’x 8′ sheets of paneling we’d need to fill the wall. (Answer: 3)

measuring a wall to determine how many sheets of paneling it would take to cover it

At this point, I think my husband realized resistance was futile. I’m glad he finally caved because hanging paneling is definitely a two-person job. (Especially when one of those persons has zero construction skills and a deep-seated fear of power saws. 🤣 )

Hanging paneling for a DIY faux brick wall

Before we started hanging the paneling for the DIY faux brick wall, we set up saw horses in the room, so we wouldn’t have to haul the pieces out to the garage every time we had to make a cut. Then we located the studs in the wall with a stud finder and marked where they were.

hanging faux brick paneling

Hanging the first piece of paneling was a breeze. We just had to trim a little off the bottom attach the panel to the studs.

cutting faux brick paneling to go around a window

The second and third pieces were a little trickier because we had to navigate around the window. We used a circular saw for the straight cuts and a jigsaw for the corners.

wall with faux brick paneling partially hung

Here’s what the wall looked like once we had all the panels up:

wall with red faux brick paneling

My husband was underwhelmed with how the wall looked at this point. I was too. But I was confident the wall was going to start looking better once I moved on to the next step. The husband still had his doubts.

Giving the bricks a “German schmear”

To tone down the shiny, red fake bricks and make them look old, weathered, and, most importantly, real, I wanted to cover them with a “German schmear” of joint compound (aka drywall mud).

joint compound going on a faux brick wall

The joint compound was supposed to mimic the look of mortar squeezing out from between the bricks.

applying a German schmear of joint compound to a faux brick wall

I spread the joint compound onto the wall with a taping knife, making sure to apply it unevenly so parts of the bricks would peek out from underneath.

dragging a fingertip through the mortar line in the faux brick wall

Then I dragged my fingertip through the indents between the bricks so the “mortar line” wasn’t completely filled in.

applying a German schmear to the faux brick wall panels

The bricks really started to look authentic with the joint compound on them. Even up close.

filling in the seam between faux brick wall panels

To fill in the seams between panels, I made sure to apply plenty of joint compound in the gap, but then I tapered it down to a thinner coating as I got further away from the seam.

sanding bumps and ridges off the joint compound on the wall

Once the joint compound dried, I sanded off any high spots and rough patches.

Whitewashing the DIY faux brick wall

Next, I mixed some of my leftover white paint with water, using about a 1:1 ratio.

mixing paint with water to make it transluscent

Then I whitewashed the wall with the watered down paint. Watering down the paint allowed it to go on translucent, so darker patches of brick still showed through here and there.

painting the faux brick wall with watered down paint

The watered down paint also served as a finish coat over the flat, powdery joint compound. If the wall gets dirty now, I should be able to wipe it down with a wet rag without damaging the finish.

faux brick wall made from paneling, coated with a German schmear of joint compound and painted with watered down paint

When I was done painting, I was thrilled with how my new DIY faux brick wall looked. So was my husband. 😃

For about two weeks.

Then the joint compound in the seam between the two panels to the left of the window cracked. 😠

crack in the seam between two faux brick wall panels

Ugh.

To fill in the crack, I ran a bead of caulk down the seam. Then I painted over the caulk and sanded a bit to blend that area in with the rest of the wall. When I was done, the seam wasn’t noticeable.

For another two weeks.

Then the crack came back.

The second time I filled the crack in with a type of wood filler called “plastic wood.” After more touchups and more sanding, the wall once again looked great.

For a few more weeks. Then it cracked again.

Grrrr.

Flex Paste

At this point, I decided on a two-pronged attack to deal with the crack.

Prong 1 involved a product called Flex Paste, which is a rubbery substance that I hoped would have more “give” than the other products I tried.

Flex Paste, super thick rubber paste

Flex Paste is kind of a pain to use because it’s not sandable or water soluble. But I figured if it actually held the two pieces of paneling together without cracking, it would be worth the trouble.

applying Flex Paste to a seam between paneling

I applied the Flex Paste with a paper towel, smooshing it deep into the crack and spreading it thin on either side of the seam.

shaving Flex Paste off the paneling with a razor blade

Then I scraped off the excess with a razor blade and painted over the seam again so it would blend in.

faux brick wall made from paneling

While waiting to see if Prong 1 was going to be effective in the long term, I moved on to Prong 2: floor-to-ceiling curtains.

Floor-to-ceiling curtains

With the seam being so close to the window, I figured I could hang curtains over it. That way if the crack returned, at least it wouldn’t be noticeable.

Threshold Blackout Curtain

The walls in this room are 95 inches tall — the same height as the Threshold Blackout Curtains from Target. (Yay! No hemming!) I bought two panels for $33.99 each. (They must have been hanging on the wrong hook at the store, because I double checked my receipt and they were definitely not $29.99 like the price tag in the photo shows).

I hung the curtains from an oil rubbed bronze curtain rod that I bought at Menards for $31.21. The rod adjusts from 66-120 inches. I made sure to extend it out far enough so the curtains would cover the potential trouble spot.

faux brick wall made from paneling

I love how the curtains look. I was originally planning to use a shorter pair that I found at a thrift store (and hang them from a shorter thrifted curtain rod). But the extra expense is definitely worth it.

faux brick wall made from paneling

Budget? What budget?

When I started this project, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to do the room makeover with a ridiculously small budget of $300. I figured I could reuse a lot of the elements that we already had in the space and thrift everything else, except for construction materials. But the crack issue threw that plan out the window.

I ended up spending $100 on the window treatments alone. Add in another $100 for the paneling, $30 for paint, and $30 for caulk/plastic wood/Flex Paste, and — if I did the math right — I’ve already blown through $260. So, we’re just gonna forget about the budget. 🤣 (Good thing I’m not a contractor.)

Crack? What crack?

While I may have blown the budget, I think I may have successfully slain the crack. It’s been over three weeks now since I Flex Pasted it, and so far the seam is holding. (And we’ve been through some pretty dramatic temperature swings that must have caused the wall to expand and contract during that time.) Fingers crossed that it continues to hold.

So what do you think? Anybody else have experience with Flex Paste? Will it hold long term? Should I continue to obsessively check behind the curtain to see if the crack has returned? If not, what should I do with all my newfound spare time? 🤣 🤣 🤣

Lisa

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