How to Paint Bricks to Look Like Books


Bricks can be a hassle to get rid of if you've ever had any left over from a big project. Instead of hauling them away, use them to spruce up your backyard or garden. With a little bit of care, you can exercise your artsy side to turn plain old bricks into your favorite novels. You can even get the kids involved and create their favorite books, too.

Books or bricks?
(Matthew Ashman)

Assemble these materials:

  • Bricks
  • Varied sizes of artist's paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paint, color of your choice for the cover
  • Acrylic paint, black
  • Acrylic paint, white
  • Graphite pencil
  • Clear sealant spray
  • Painter's palette or paper plate
  • Cup of water
  • Paper towels


  • Sharpie oil-based paint pens, varied colors
  • Extra-fine gray or black permanent marker
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Letter stamps
  • Stencils, 1-inch
  • Ruler
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
Gather the necessary supplies.
Matthew Ashman

Clean off any dirt or grime that might be on the bricks before painting. Choose books from your "want-to-read" list or your favorite classic novels. Decide on a color for the book cover and apply a thin coat of paint on the "spine" of the book and the front and back "covers." Use one coat of paint if you prefer the books to have a vintage look. For a cleaner look, apply a second coat of paint once the first coat is completely dry.

Paint the book spine and cover first.
Matthew Ashman

Add the book's title and/or author to the book spine and front cover. Each book will be different depending on where you want the letters placed. You have a variety of options to choose from:

  • Freehand: Use a paint pen in the desired color to freehand the letters of the book's title and author's name. If you are worried about keeping the letters aligned while you freehand them, tape a ruler in place on the brick to keep them straight. The freehand method is the most flexible, as you can make the letters as big or small as you like.
  • Letter Stamps: Add the desired paint color to a palette or paper plate. Dip a foam paintbrush into the paint and brush a light layer of paint onto the desired stamp. Press the stamp onto the brick and then immediately wipe the stamp clean before the paint dries. Continue stamping letters to form the book's title and author's name. Again, you could tape a ruler in place to keep the letters straight.
  • Stencils: If you don't feel comfortable going freehand or would prefer a certain font, use stencils. To make sure your paint/letters are legible, use a stencil that is at least 1 inch in size. Add the desired paint color to a palette or paper plate. Hold (or tape) the stencil into place on the brick, dip a fine-tipped paintbrush into the paint and brush the paint onto the stencil. Pick the stencil up and wipe it clean. Let the letter dry before painting the next letter. Continue painting letters to form the book's title and author's name.
Freehand, stamp or stencil the title/author's name onto the book.
Matthew Ashman

Add any embellishments you would like to the book spine or front cover, such as horizontal lines in between the title and author's name, which is traditional in many classic books. To add your own creative touch, draw or paint an object or a motif that is well-known from the book. For example, on a Christmas book, you could paint a Christmas wreath. For a "Snow White" book, you could paint an apple.

Add embellishments to the book spines.
Matthew Ashman

Add "pages" on top of the brick to give it extra flair. Choose from one of two options:

  • Option 1: Paint the top of the brick white. Let the paint dry completely. Use a ruler and a graphite pencil to draw faint lines to represent the pages of the book on the top of the brick. Use an extra-fine gray or black marker to delineate the pencil lines you've drawn.
  • Option 2: Paint the top of the brick white. While the white paint is still wet, paint a few black streaks and blend the white and black paint in a stripe pattern until you achieve the desired effect.
Add pages to the top of the bricks/books.
Matthew Ashman

Spray a thin layer of clear sealant to your new brick book after the paint is completely dry. Be sure to spray in a well-ventilated area.

Spray the sealant.
Matthew Ashman

Display your books along a path in your yard or position them in the garden amongst your vegetables or flowers.

Arrange the bricks/books in the yard or garden.
Matthew Ashman

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