Try this easy and inexpensive DIY tutorial to achieve a german schmear mortar wash on stone or brick fireplace for just a few dollars!
Welcome back to the One Room Challenge, a six week long room makeover challenge featuring twenty designers and hundreds of guest participants like myself.
We are already at week four which means there are only two weeks left! There’s still a lot on my to do list but I am over the moon happy how this week’s major DIY turned out.
Read on to find how out to create a german schmear fireplace makeover the cheap and easy way!
*This post is sponsored by some wonderful companies. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help make this blog possible.
Week One: Eclectic and Glam Inspiration for an Open Concept | Week Two: How to Update Furniture with Peel and Stick Wallpaper | Week Three: Small Dining Room Decorating Ideas | Week Four: DIY a German Smear Mortar Wash for Under $10 | Week Five: Stencil Your Foyer for a Beautiful Makeover | Week Six: Eclectic Glam Open Concept Living Areas
How to DIY a german smear fireplace the cheap and easy way!
Yep you saw that right! I created this lovely german smear fireplace update for under $10!!
German smear cost can be in the thousands so I was super excited to figure out how to do it for pennies. It’s also a great way to achieve a whitewash brick look without the paint.
First let me show you how it was when we moved in six months ago. The built in bookcase was a genius solution for this common Texas stone fireplace wall.
I painted out the built in bookcase white before the moving trucks even arrived and then later decorated it with our personal items.
Our house is pretty dark so just about every decision I make is one to try to improve the light in the space.
This side of the room was completely transformed with the mortar wash completed and thanks to a new “spitfire” fan from one of my wonderful sponsors Fanimation.
What you need for a german schmear /whitewash stone fireplace update:
- Joint compound (under $10)
- Gallon zip lock bag
- Putty knife or other similar tool
- Bucket of water and sponge for clean up
- Protective cloth and painter’s tape
After doing much research on the proper application of the german smear technique with mortar I decided I wanted something less messy, easier, and could use tools I had on hand.
I’ve been using joint compound to repair cracks in our dry wall and am familiar with it’s consistency and how it dries in a creamy white.
Since it is a permanent solution my back up plan was to paint over the joint compound if needed. Thankfully it worked out beautifully and I am thrilled with the finished results! Sometimes you just have to go for it.
You can rest easy in this simple technique now that I’ve done the leg work for you. 😉 Especially if you are unhappy with your stone or brick!
What to use for german smear:
For an inexpensive mortar wash try using joint compound which comes premixed and dries white.
How to apply a german smear mortar wash on your brick or stone using joint compound:
- Use a spatula or similar tool to scoop joint compound into a zip log back. Close and snip a tiny bit off one corner. (You can use the same method to apply mortar.)
- Hold and squeeze the bag like you would ice a cake! Fill in the grout lines as you work a section of your fireplace at a time.
- Smooth down the joint compound with your finger (wear gloves if you like!). I suggest filling in all of the grout lines letting the compound bleed over the edges a bit as it’s a lovely look on its own.
But you can lighten up things further by using your hand or spatula to spread joint compound on top of the stone or brick. Cover it all or leave some natural and some white.
It takes 24 hours for joint compound to dry (sometimes longer) but when applying thin layers it can dry much quicker.
Keep a bucket of water and sponge for quick clean ups and protect surrounding walls and floors by taping off the edge with painter’s tape and laying a cloth.
Isn’t it beautiful? I know german schmear is often associated with farmhouse but I’m going for more of a French parlor meets Jim Thompon’s house style.
You can find all of the scoop on that with my makeover plans and inspiration boards shared in week one.
Now that the stone is lighter I feel like the room with our gallery wall and freshly stenciled gray walls flow seamlessly together.
The great room layout definitely has a yin yang element with the other side of the living room featuring moody colors and a maximalist vibes. I still have much to do to unify everything including the dining area. Just two more weeks!
Now you know how to achieve a german smear/schmear mortar wash for just a few dollars, quick, and easy!
What is making the extent of this makeover possible? Some awesome sponsors that shouldn’t go unnoticed!
The to do list:
Reupholster grandparent’s armchairs with blue velvet and bird fabric Paint front picture window black Paint green focal wall Hang new window treatments and remove old blackouts in piano area Makeover music cabinet with removable wallpaper and paint Install new foyer light
- Stencil foyer walls with cheetah stencil and pearl metallic paint
- Add fringe to arch floor lamp
German smear technique on fireplace stone Hang curtains with rings Create a faux roman shade for the dining room with an existing window panel.
- Reupholster two barrel chairs in green velvet with green print, paint the the chairs frame dark
Purchase a new sofa
- Trim love seat with fringe
- Paint french doors trim black ? (Having second thoughts….)
- Add brass nailhead trim to black leather chair
- Sew lumbar pillow
- Reupholster two more dining chairs
- Add fringe to piano seat and maybe tuft
- Paint dining room wall
Stencil living room wall
- Paint buffet
- Add trim/moulding
if foundation issues are resolved
- Add rugs, lights, textiles, and art
- Paint front door
- Large tropical print art
- Style, style, style
It is seriously crunch time! Aside from the many DIYs on the to do list I need to experiment with a couple of different furniture arrangements and source art for the walls.
If I’m lucky I’ll find a cool taxidermy parrot or something! lol There’s no rest for the wicked so I better get to it!!
If you missed the first three posts you can find them below.
Thanks for stopping by! Remember to check out the feature designers and other guests participants for the One Room Challenge.