The Den of Slack

Mansard Victorian – egg carton brick foundation

This is my inspiration house for the Mansard Victorian. It’s the Emanuel Kahn mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah (more pictures here).

I realize I’m setting myself up for a lot of tedious work with a brick exterior. When I did the Victorianna’s brick foundation, it took so long that I swore I would never do egg carton bricks again. I’ve used brick paper and Magic Brik on roomboxes, but they don’t have the realism I want for this house. So, egg carton bricks it is.

I’m ready to start finishing the interior, but first I need to cover up the front foundation piece, since I don’t want to be painting and grouting when the wallpaper and flooring is already in.

Before I got started, I turned the house on its back so I could see how much space there is between the front of the house and the foundation piece. I didn’t want the thickness of the bricks to prevent the front from standing up against the house.

Not only is there a gap, but the front piece is slightly bowed where I glued the two panels together. I put a piece of egg carton material in to see how it fit, and there’s plenty of space for it.

I started by filling in the screw holes on the foundation piece with wood filler.

Then I painted the foundation piece and the front edges of the walls and ceiling. My bricks will be orange with gray trim, like in the inspiration picture, but I didn’t have the orange paint yet. I grabbed a gray off my paint shelf, knowing I could paint over it later if I needed to.

I cut several egg carton strips. The strips are 3/8″ wide, and I then them into 1/8″ pieces to make the bricks.

This is going to take a loooong time.

Each brick gets its corners clipped off with nail scissors before I glue it on.

This is how far I got the first weekend… back in January.

Little by little, I kept going, until last weekend when I finally finished. Slow and steady wins the race (or so I’ve heard).

Meanwhile, I had gone to Home Depot and bought these paints for the bricks and trim. Why is the Moroccan sky orange, I wonder?

I’m planning to use this green a lot inside the house, and I brought this cabinet with me to Home Depot when I picked out the paint colors to make sure the orange would complement it.

After painting the bricks orange, I used a dry brush to apply Craft Smart Brick Red paint (which is what I usually use as a base coat for bricks). This involves dipping a stiff bristle paintbrush in paint, and then dabbing most of the paint off on a paper towel before dabbing it on the bricks.

I then repeated that process with black, brown, wine red, and finally the orange again because I thought I’d covered up too much of it.

They’re grungier than the bricks in the inspiration photo, but I think it works. In hindsight, maybe I should have used the gray trim color rather than black. That’s something I can play with when I do the rest of the bricks. (And there will be plenty of them to play with!)

Next I added a coat of matte varnish.

And when that was dry, I added grout.

It’s a good thing I haven’t done anything inside yet, because crumbs of grout fell into the house (it was lying on its back).

Next I sponged off the grout with a damp sponge brush.

And then I blotted it with a paper towel to remove more of the wet grout. (Rubbing can cause the egg carton layers to separate.)

Here’s how it looked once the damp bricks and grout dried. I could have done a better job of digging some of the grout out of the cracks and pits in the egg carton material. This isn’t horrible, but I might be a little more sparing with the grout when I’m working on the house exterior. I do really like the color though.

In the lower right corner, the top layer of egg carton rubbed off a few bricks when I was wiping up the grout. I covered these spots with a little bit of orange and a little bit of black, again using the dry brush.

Then I added another coat of matte varnish. Maybe it’s my imagination, but this seems to bring out the paint colors that get muted during the grouting process. I like the color of these better than what I ended up with for the Victorianna’s bricks.

And here’s the finished foundation. Okay, so it took a while, but doesn’t it look good?!


  1. You have expert skills and the patience of Job (as my grandma used to say). Thank you for continuing to share your amazing projects/accomplishments!

  2. WOW!! Platinum Gold Star for details!!! Gorgeous!!!

  3. I so admire your skill and dedication It looks fantastic!

  4. I appreciate hearing about how you applied different paint colors to the brick to get the final product. It looks really nice and you should get a medal for patience!

  5. It looks really nice and it’s quite a lot of work. I commend you for sticking with it and getting it done. Thank you for showing us how you did it, I have been wanting to try it myself.

  6. This is just gorgeous and you would never know it is egg cartons!

  7. avatar
    Sharon Goldsmith

    March 19, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Em it is going to be stunning!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2023 The Den of Slack

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑