Shane, Graystone on here, turned me onto this cool brick paneling from Lowes.
It's not too expensive, in fact, if you compare it with the final costs of time/labor/paint/hard coating of doing the brick into pink foam, it's about the same in price. And if you buy a LOT you can get some pretty nifty discounts. And it looks INCREDIBLE!
Oh and they're sold in 4x8 sheets, and are VERY sturdy.