This will be a departure from my usual blogs, as I walk you through the steps we took in applying the German Schmear (you might also see on Instagram #germansmear) technique to our fireplace. My husband and I are almost finished building our new house. We finished this project the day before the wood floor went in. Let me apologize for my video quality- I have never edited the video before so it is fragmented at best. I’ll make that my next project…videography.
We allowed ourselves months to study and practice, which was the smartest thing we did. We started out using the word whitewash to describe the look we wanted. It actually turned out to be the German Schmear (which I will refer to from this point on as GS because I find it taxing to use the full term).
Whitewashing has a very different outcome than what I was wanting, as well as materials used. For that method, you use half paint and half water. Another similar method is half limestone and half water. After testing this many times, we realized we either had to abandon the project or keep digging. We had an inspiration photo and I wasn’t going to settle for “close try.” Thankfully, I stumbled across the GS on Youtube (thank you to those of you who posted because you saved the day for us). Now I seem to find it everywhere but I think it must be the same concept as buying a car you believe is unique … it quickly becomes every other car on the road. I wanted to blog and post the video because I know how badly I was looking for just the right instructions. Hope this helps make your project perfect.
Materials: 50 pound bag of Type S ready-to-use white mortar, water, safety glasses(which we failed to use), thick waterproof rubber gloves, trowel, putty knife, paint scraper, new paint buckets to mix in, drop cloths, large paintbrush, water spray bottle, your best friend, snacks and some great music.
A side note about the mortar … we live in Kentucky and couldn’t find the white mortar and white sand mix anywhere. Luckily, I was driving to Texas, a few weeks ago, and picked some up at Home Depot for $11.30 a bag. So, check around before you get too set on doing this, because it must be this exact mortar mix. We used almost two bags, which included our practice tries on other brick seemed pretty artistic to me.
I practiced until I achieved the look we really liked. As much as I loved our inspiration photo, ours didn’t really come out looking the same. I do, however, love the way ours turned out. So, don’t be put off if you prefer more of the brick to show or any other variation, because you will determine that as you scrape the mortar and put your personality into it. It’s your brick wall, so, do it the way that makes you happiest. One of my friends commented on one of my videos that she thought of the word “peace” when she saw our outcome. I really like that.
In case you are into the origin of things I included a Wikipedia paragraph about the GS.
“Schmearis a word of Germanicorigin, equivalent to ‘smear’ or ‘spread’ (usually fat or butter). In some Germanic languages, the cognateof smear itself. The use and spelling schmear or shmear in American English is a direct loanword from Yiddish, where its original usage referred to cheese. In modern usage it has extended to anything that can be spread, such as cream cheesespread upon a bagel. In some cases, it refers to “an entire set or group of related things”, or the expression “the whole shmear”. As a slang term, the word shmir in Yiddish also refers to a slap on the face, primarily when disciplining young children. (Yikes, don’t ever do that)! It can also refer to bribery, as a “little extra” spread on top.”
Please check out the video at https://youtu.be/X7Pz2jchfus (copy and paste) and I believe it will be as clear as a German Schmear.