Old bricks lend themselves perfectly to a variety of fun and neat projects, especially if you plan to refinish them. Have your kids help with the painting or decoupaging if they are old enough, and get creative with your color choices and finish options. Just remember to work over a very large tarp, preferably outdoors: Kids and crafts are a prime recipe for a mess.
Prepping the Brick
Clean the bricks with soap, water and a brush if you plan to use it indoors or refinish it. Let the old bricks dry completely.
Cover an old brick in decorative fabric, securing it on the bottom by gluing the fabric to itself with no-sew glue, similar to how you would wrap a present. Personalize the project by using your child's outgrown clothes in a fun print instead of craft-store fabric.
Apply one coat of masonry primer to the brick and let it dry. Apply two to three coats of acrylic or latex paint in a color of your choice to create an opaque finish. Have your younger ones draw fun designs on the brick after the last full coat, using craft brushes and acrylic paint.
Apply white latex stain with a brush and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe away the excess to achieve a whitewashed effect.
Collect items to cover the brick. Some ideas include old photos, map pieces, magazine clippings or leaves. Make a project out of finding items to use: For the teenagers in the family, cut out or print off pictures of favorite musicians or fashions; your younger children can help you collect drawings of well-loved cartoon characters. Apply one coat of masonry primer to the entire brick and let it dry. Apply decoupage medium to the brick and onto the back of one of your decorative items. Smooth the piece onto the brick, using a roller brush to remove any creases or bubbles. Repeat this process until the brick is covered, and then apply three or more coats of decoupage medium to the entire brick to seal it.
Prepare the brick without refinishing it by gluing a piece of felt to the bottom. This step prevents the underside from scratching tables, shelving or floors.
Use a decorated or felt-bottomed old brick as a doorstop for interior or exterior doors.
Arrange refinished old bricks on shelving to act as bookends. Stack a few in different finishes for an eclectic look, or stand one on its end to showcase it and to provide a better barrier for books. Keep these out of reach of younger children: They can quickly become a too-heavy toy.
Place one or more old bricks under the corners of a side or coffee table to raise it off the floor. For longer tables, place bricks in the center between corners for stability, or build an entire side table using old bricks. Use these ideas outdoors and in areas where young children aren't playing and running around.
Build a bookcase with plywood and old bricks. Cut several pieces of plywood to the same size for shelving, about 13 inches deep if you plan to place books on the shelves. Stain or paint as desired. Place four sets of two to three bricks on the ground, stacked, and use liquid garden wall adhesive to secure each set together. Place the plywood on top so, that the corners rest on the bricks, securing the wood with adhesive as well. Add four more sets of two or more bricks, and then lay another piece of plywood on top, using the adhesive. Repeat this process until the bookcase is as tall as you want it. Install these shelves in your teenager's bedroom, but not in your 4-year-old child's.
Construct a planter outdoors with bricks. Arrange the bricks in a square or rectangle outside, leaving the center open. Build it up with additional bricks and liquid wall adhesive until the planter is at least a foot tall. Fill it with potting soil and plant flowers or bushes inside. Have your kids choose the plants and help take care of them after they help refinish the bricks that built the planter. Watering a few pansies once a week is an ideal first chore for younger children.
Use the bricks as edging around your garden beds, play area or patio. Use hand-decorated bricks around your sandbox to personalize the space and give younger children a sense of ownership.