Easy DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial

DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial
DIY German Smear Brick

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Want to give the old outdated brick in your home a stunning update without breaking the bank? Then you’re in the right place! In this post I will share with you exactly how I transformed my dark and dingy fireplace to a bright, airy and modern look! Here I will walk you through how I did it with this easy DIY German Smear Brick Tutorial! The best part, is I was able to do it for under $40- best $40 I’ve ever spent!

I am a sucker for white brick walls. In our last rental house, I put up white brick wall paper in one of the rooms and it looked so real and gorgeous! (see picture below! Yep, that’s wallpaper behind me!)

So when we moved into our new home, I was thrilled to find that it had a fireplace and REAL brick wall! The only problem was that the brick was ultra dark red and the fireplace was shiny outdated gold. I really wanted to brighten it up and obviously make it more modern, but since this was also a leased home, I wasn’t sure if I was technically allowed to make big changes to the house. (But I did know I can paint things as long as I select a neutral color, soooo better to beg forgiveness than ask permission right?)

So I waited until my husband was gone (naturally), did some research (not much because I basically wing all my DIY projects), got my supplies, and within 2 hours my grungy, outdated fireplace was transformed to something that looked like it belonged in a Magnolia magazine! (Maybe I’m getting cocky, but it definitely looks loads better!)

So, I won’t keep you waiting any longer! Here’s exactly how I did a DIY German Smear to my fireplace in less than two hours for under $40:

What You need to Know:

Before you do this project, you should probably first make sure you actually want a German Smear! There are other similar options, such as white washing your fireplace, but they each have very different looks. So please make sure this is the route you want to go!

What You Need:

Paint: I used this chalk paint and oh my gosh, I am in love with how well it turned out! It provides the texture and chalky finish of caulk without the painstaking work of having to actually apply it! Just make sure you have enough paint based on how much brick you’re working with. I used 2 __ oz cans, and still had probably a fourth of a can left over. However, I also painted the tile on the hearth completely white and I had to do like 4 coatings because it was a weird texture, so that’s why I used so much paint. 

Paint brush

Broom or any kind of brush to clean off the brick first

How to German Smear:

My method was super simple: I dipped the brush in the paint and slapped a liberal amount in the spaces between the bricks. Then I would brush over the bricks themselves with the leftover paint.

Yep, that’s it!

This method caused a thicker coating in between and on the edges of the bricks, and a lighter coating towards the middle of each brick. (Replicating what it would look like if the bricks were actually pasted together with white caulk.)

The best thing about this look, is that you pretty much can’t mess it up! Each brick is supposed to look different, so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes or it being a meticulous process. Just slap it on there and smear it around!

Tips for Successful German Smearing:

For faster, smoother painting, be sure to clean off the brick before you begin. I just brushed my wall off with my broom. 

Start in a more inconspicuous area until you get your method down. 

Start with a lighter coat of paint until you get a feel for how it looks. You can always add more paint if you want it thicker, but better play it safe and make sure it looks the way you want than accidentally overdoing it!

More DIY Projects

If you like easy, do it yourself projects, be sure to stick around! From vegetable pot gardens to industrial bookshelves, I am working on some really easy & affordable projects that I will share all my secrets on here with you!

In the meantime, if you like self sufficient living and working with your hands, check out one of my most popular posts on How to Make Your own Homemade Sourdough Bread! I’ve had so many people get back to me and tell me they were able to make their own delicious bread following my easy recipe! Let me know what you think!


I absolutely love how this project turned out, and in case you are wondering, my husband likes it too (even though he was pretty grumpy about it when he came home and saw it for the first time! Sorry not sorry, hehe).

I added the finishing touches to my brick wall by adding a barn wood mantle above the fireplace. The barn wood is actually from the horse barn that my dad build when I was growing up. I love having a little piece of my country home with us as we live in the cities.

I’m really glad I did it- if I have to look at this wall the next several years, I want it to make me happy inside! Plus, it’s going to provide the perfect background to my Instagram pictures (because we know it’s all about the gram haha just kidding- sort of). I’d love to hear in the comments below how it turns out for you if you try it! Happy German Smearing!