DIY German Smear

DIY German Smear

How I changed my living room from dark, old man cave. To bright, light cottage in two days .

I love doing projects in my home. I feel I am constantly rearranging furniture and decor and when I want something done it normally happens that day (who likes to wait)!  I decided I wanted to German smear our fireplace. Don’t get me wrong I love red brick but I wanted a light farm cottage  look for our formal living room.

So of coarse I go to the internet and research, HOW TO GERMAN SMEAR?  It did not look that easy and really messy. Which is the last type of project you want with a two & three year old and two dogs….

So I kept researching to see if there was a way to do it with out having to make mortar. Mortar is a mixture of cement, lime, sand and water. If the ratio is wrong the mortar with fail and crumble. I was never good at math soooooo I needed to find another option.

There were a few different ways I could do

White Wash- This is a technique which uses 50% water and 50% white latex paint. This would have been the easiest route to take. The problem was I wanted a textured look and white wash wouldn’t give me that rustic cottage feel. To me it was painted brick and I knew I definitely didn’t want that.

SOOO back to the drawing board I went.

Option 2 was to use Joint Compound. Thats right people drywall.

So I immediately went to Home Depot because like I said I can’t wait for any thing. I picked up a small container of Joint compound, rubber gloves, painters tape, wire brush and flat edged putty knife. Came home, made dinner, bathed the kiddos and put them to bed. Then, I went to the garage because it is all brick and tried a test spot.


**I bought joint compound that was pink in color because they SAID it would dry white. FAIL!!!!!! Lucky I did it in the garage, right? I would have people coming over and saying ” OH a princess fireplace, YAY”.

Went back to @homedepot. By now it’s 8:30pm but I am not giving up. Went through ALL the different Joint Compounds and found one that is white in color and DRIES WHITE!



Place painter tape around all edges of the fireplace. I love @Frogtape! I feel a lot of painters tape either lift up or it bleeds through. Frog tape literally never moves until you want it to!

Taped fireplace

Next, take a bucket of warm water and a sponge and wipe down bricks to remove any dirt.

Then start smearing!! There are multiple ways you can go about this… Most people use a putty knife. We are not most people, so we used our hands and a kitchen spatula! Yep, what you make a cake with. Guess what,  it worked perfectly! I love the spatula because it felt like a paint brush. I could create the movement and texture I wanted! Just like icing a cake!

** Smear it on thick and make sure to get into the grout. Let it dry over night.

Next day take your wire brush and put your back into! ALSO WEAR A MASK!!!!!! You don’t want to be breathing it sheetrock.

This part can get tiring so make sure you have a partner to trade of with.

This is when you can get creative! There is no right or wrong… to much or to little. It is all in how you want it to look!



And here is our finished project.

Perfectly imperfect!

IMG_0354 2





1 Comment

  1. Mikey
    July 4, 2021 / 1:32 pm

    Beautiful! I wonder if you could have started the brushing before it was completely dry? Less hard on your back, but may have taken off too much product? Looks great!

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