German Schmear

When we first moved into this house in June of 2020 I knew right away that I wanted to do the German schmear on the fireplace! If you know me the you know I love a good affordable DIY that transforms a space. I can’t wait to show you the good, bad and ugly of this process!

First things first, I decided to tackle this project this weekend because I found a great YouTube video by a gal who did a similar size fireplace to mine and she said she only spent $30. I think that if you have a traditional brick fireplace you probably could do this for $30. We found out that our stone fireplace had so many different dimensions and thicknesses that we needed WAY more material than for a flat surface to get full coverage.


List of materials:

putty knife / joint knife

white mortar or white caulk (we used premixed mortar)

wire brush to scrape off after it dries in thick areas for a more distressed look

Step by step:

First I vacuumed the brick and then wiped it down with a wet rag/sponge to get off an dust and cobwebs.

Then I began applying the mortar to the fireplace with the putty knife. I ended up using a dust pan to catch the extra mortar that fell and didn’t stick to the wall right away. This was really helpful because a good amount chunks up and falls off. By holding the dust pan below where I was applying the mortar I was able to catch and reuse a large amount of mortar.

The rock on our fireplace has about 20 different layers and thicknesses and I found that the one bucket of premixed mortar that the girl I found on YouTube used for her ENTIRE BRICK FIREPLACE, did about a fifth of my fireplace. That being said, if you have a traditional brick fireplace, you really can do this project for under 50 bucks. SAWEEET!


I went back to the store to get 4 more buckets of premixed mortar at $29.99 each


HAAYyy. Next I continued applying the mortar all over the fireplace rock until I got the level of coverage I wanted for the look I was shooting for. This took many moons – okay not really – but a few hours for sure

In terms of time commitment, I would expect it to take about 2-4 hours on a regular fireplace, but on ours it took about 7 hours with all the extra depths and textures. We really had to cram the mortar into some of the 3 inch deep cracks to completely cover the rock.

We let the mortar dry on the fireplace overnight and then I went back with a wire brush and rubbed the mortar off in some areas where I wanted the rock more exposed. Thankfully because of our rock’s texture, I actually did not end up doing this in many places because the rock naturally exposed itself.

I would 100% do this project again and highly recommend it as an affordable way to to transform a space if you are on a budget. (our all in price was $130 for all supplies and materials used)


Check out the YouTube video I made on the process here:

Let me know what you think and I’d be so grateful if you gave the YouTube video a like!



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