Sponge Painting Bricks: Process and Helpful Techniques


Sponge painting bricks is one way to add some color to your brick surfaces while keeping the unique design of the bricks. You can also use sponge painting techniques to create a brick effect on flat walls.

Sponge Painting Bricks

Exposed brick walls are dramatic, but some people find them dark and overwhelming. Painting the brick can help you lighten it up and meld into whatever design style you have in mind for the room. Sponge painting brick gives a less intense effect than painting brick with a flat roller or brush. More of the texture of the brick will remain visible as the coating of paint will not be as thick.

However you decide to paint brick, preparation is key. Brick that is dirty or has deep holes will not take paint well. These steps will help you get the prep work done.

  • Clean off the efflorescence - the chalky coating on the bricks - using a wire brush. Wipe away as much as possible, as the efflorescence will make your paint bumpy.
  • Look for large holes or cracks in your brick. Clean out any debris caught in the spaces and then fill them using silicon and acrylic caulk.
  • Using a soap and water mixture and a large scrub brush, clean the bricks thoroughly.
  • Allow the bricks to dry completely. This could take a few days. Brick is porous, so the surface may appear dry while the inside is wet. Err on the side of caution and give the bricks at least 24 hours to dry, preferably a day or two.

Now you are ready to start painting.

  • Use an acrylic primer as a base coat to seal the brick and prepare it for painting. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  • Now it's time to use the paint. Start with water based acrylic paint in the color of your choosing. Pour a small amount of paint in a paint tray and dip the sponge in the paint. Tap off any excess paint and dab the sponge onto the bricks. Repeat the process until the wall is covered. Allow to dry and add a second coat if you aren't happy with the depth of the cover.

Although the process is fairly straightforward, there are a few tips that can help you get the look you want:

  • To get the feel for sponge painting and how the paint looks on the brick, start out on a small hidden area of the surface, such as close to the bottom of the wall or in an upper corner. You can experiment with how much pressure to put on the sponge, dragging the sponge for effect and other techniques.
  • Because of the varying texture of brick, different portions of the wall may require more paint or more pressure on the sponge than other parts.

Brick Painting Techniques

Sponge painting bricks is one way to brighten up an unwanted brick, but what if you actually wish you had a brick wall? You can use sponge painting to create a faux brick finish as well. The porous nature of the sponge mimics the porous surface of the brick. Start by sketching out "bricks" on your wall and then sponge paint the "bricks" you have drawn to create the effect of an actual brick wall. You can choose a traditional brick color, like a rusty red or orange, or you can experiment with different colors to get a look that perfectly matches your décor. Need more help? Get detailed instructions in our Brick Faux Painting Techniques article.

More Sponge Painting Advice

LoveToKnow Interior Design has plenty more advice for sponge painting and other faux painting techniques. Visit the following articles for tips and inspiration!

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Sponge Painting Bricks: Process and Helpful Techniques