I love to use brick and stone textures on my aluminum can buildings. Recently, Meg Danforth posted a picture of her version of the January Putz House Monthly Post Office (below) in our new Facebook group, and I immediately wanted to remake the building with a brick texture out of aluminum cans. Meg used a stencil and Tim Holtz Distress grit paste to make her bricks as she made her building out of cardboard. To achieve a similar look with aluminum cans, I need to use an embossing folder. However, I have been unhappy with the commercial brick embossing folders I have found as the bricks are very large and the size is quite unrealistic looking on Tim Holtz Village sized buildings. So I went looking for information on how to make my own embossing folder. I am very pleased with the result. Once I had made a brick pattern for an embossing folder, I decided I might as well make a stencil too. The building I am designing for the April Putz House Monthly pattern is one where I will want to make my cardboard model with a brick façade so I will need to use the stencil soon.
How To Make Your Own Brick Stencil and/or Embossing Folder
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Materials to Make a Stencil or an Embossing Folder
- My free Stretcher Brick Pattern from the A Cottage in the Forest Library – get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
- Cardboard for the embossing folder. You can use cardstock if that is all you have, and just cut out more pieces of the pattern to glue together. I like using the Kraftboard as I designed my pattern so I can cut four out of one 12″ x 12″ sheet.
- Blank Stencil Sheets for the stencil. These are very easy to cut with just a regular fine point blade. Use a new/ sharp blade.
- Spray adhesive. You can use any spray adhesive. This happens to be the one I have around the house. You can also use Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. It is just going to make more of a mess.
- Masking or blue painter’s tape.
- A Cutting Machine like a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore.
How To Make The Brick Stencil or Embossing Folder
Download the Stretcher Brick Pattern
Download the Stretcher Brick Pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. Don’t forget to unzip it. The pattern is available in two formats – as a SVG (scalable vector graphics) and a DXF (drawing eXchange format.) The same pattern is used to make both the stencil and the embossing folder. I don’t provide a PDF for this pattern as you would not want to try to cut it out by hand. If there is enough interest, I could add stencils or embossing folders to my shop for people who don’t have a cutting machine.
Import the Stretcher Brick Pattern into Design Software. While trying to figure out how to make a pattern for this, I found out there are a lot of different patterns for bricks, depending on how they are placed and if both long and short bricks are used. The Stretcher Brick pattern (properly called the Stretcher Bond pattern) is the basic brick pattern that everyone recognizes. I have plans to make embossing folders and stencils of some of the other patterns too. Below is my newly made folder as well as the smallest commercial brick folder I was able to find. The pattern on the right is the English Bond pattern, and the one I will try to make next.
For the Stencil:
Cut one of the pattern out of the stencil material. For my Cricut Maker, I used a sticky green mat, the 4 mil Stencil setting with more pressure, and a new blade. Later I used a duller blade and not every piece cut through completely. Remember, if your machine doesn’t cut through completely on the first pass, do not unload the mat, but instead hit the “C” go button and it will cut over the previous cut lines a 2nd time.
This stencil material cuts out very well. What I don’t like about this stencil material is it is clear. I put it down and I immediately lose it. I I ended up coloring it with a big sharpie just so I could find it. I was unable to find the 4 mil stencil material in anything but clear.
I did buy milky white 7.5 mil stencil material, but so far I have been unsuccessful cutting such a small pattern out of it, even when I use the settings other Cricut Maker owners suggest. It may work well when I make a bigger cobblestones pattern. I just ordered some milky white 6 mil material. If I am successful cutting it, I will update this blog post.
For the Embossing Folder:
Cut out two of the Stretcher Bricks Pattern if you are using cardboard. For my Cricut Maker, I used a sticky green mat, the Kraftboard setting with more pressure, and a sharp blade. If all you have is cardstock, I suggest you cut out at least four. If you don’t get a good emboss, you may want to cut out even more. I also cut out a square the same size as my pattern (5.75″ x 5.75″). This will allow you to actually make a folder.
Use the spray adhesive to give one of the pieces a good coating, then carefully align the holes of the 2nd one on top of it. I find that it helps to run the two pieces through my embossing machine to press them together and have the glue catch evenly. Tape on the square to make your folder.
I get a really nice emboss on my aluminum cans using this. I had thought to try to make an embossing folder out of the thicker stencil material, but as I mentioned above, so far I have been unsuccessful cutting out such a small pattern. The 4 mil stencil material is so thin I would have to glue a lot of them together to make it thick enough. If I can get the 6 mil to work I will try that out and update this post.
That’s it! Enjoy adding brick textures to the buildings in your Holiday Village! I would love to see pictures of your village made using the brick pattern. Please share a photo of it with me by emailing me at Jackie@acottageintheforest.com.
FREE CUT FILES & PATTERN FOR THE STRETCHER BRICKS PATTERN
Get the password for the library with the free Stretcher Bricks pattern and SVG/DXF files here by filling out this form:
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