Brick Making at Home
Brick making has been one of the oldest occupations dating back several centuries. About 5000 years ago bricks, were made to dry in the sun. Today that has changed and bricks are dried in huge ovens at very high temperatures. Brick making is not a very difficult task and can be a fun project to work on during the summer. With the right set of instructions and the proper material you can make your own bricks to decorate your outdoor path, or even a wall.
Step 1 – Collect Clay
Depending on where you live, you can find clay by digging the earth. You will have to dig a few feet deep to be able to get clay. If you notice the ground turns reddish, you probably are lucky and have found clay. If that does not happen, you can buy clay and get it transported to your home.
You will need some soil if you bought a load of clay. Let’s say you bought the clay, you will need a wheelbarrow of moist earth. You will have to dig below the topsoil to get what you are looking for.
Step 2 – Mixing the Clay and Soil
Take on bucket of clay and one bucket of soil to mix together. Make sure they are both the same quantity. Put both the clay and the soil in a large mixing container and mix it with a shovel.
Step 3 – Add Straw
Now you must add some straw to the clay and soil you have just mixed. The right ratio for mixing straw is 1 part straw for every 5 parts of clay and soil. Make sure you shred the straw properly before missing it together with the mixture.
Add a few cups of water to the mixture and mix it with your shovel. If the mixing container is big and stable enough you can get into it and stomp the mixture. This is how it was done in the past and it does not tire your arms.
Keep mixing it and adding water slowly, when you see the mixture has reached the thickness of dough for cookies, you can stop.
Step 4 – Fill into Molds
Fill the mixture into molds; pack it well so that there are no air pockets in the mixture. Level the top with a trowel and place it in the sun to dry for one or two days. Be sure to keep the bricks out of the rain.
Step 5 – Dry in the Shade
Place the brick molds in the shade to dry it completely, it will take a couple of weeks to dry completely. Or, you can also take the bricks to the local pottery and bake it in the kiln, to be sure it is completely dry. The drying process of a kiln will take approximately half a day.
Once you have given the bricks sufficient time to dry, you can use the bricks anywhere you want.