How to use the German Schmear Technique on Stone

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If you are looking to add old world charm to your stone fireplace, this German Schmear technique is the perfect solution!

How to use the german schmear technique on stone

Thanks for stopping by today friends! I am so excited to finally be sharing my version of the ever famous “German Schmear”!

Last year I completed so many projects around here because I was in major nesting mode (pregnant with our third), but I didn’t take the time to share them with you all here on the blog. 

One of those projects (and perhaps my most favorite) was the makeover that I gave to our stone fireplace. 

The “German Schmear” technique is often associated with brick, and the first time I had ever seen it done was on a Fixer Upper episode on HGTV. The transformation was beautiful, and I just loved the old world feel that the mortar gave to the home’s exterior. 

german schmear inspo
Photo by Rachel Whyte via HGTV

In August of 2017, we updated our fireplace using Air Stone (you can read the full tutorial here). While I loved the stone, I felt like there was something missing. I was craving the look of stone that you might find in an old cottage or farmhouse that was hundreds of years old, and mine just wasn’t feeling that way for me. Here are a few photos – 

before german schmear technique
before german schmear
german schmear before photos

I did my research and read through several German Schmear tutorials, but most of them involved brick, which is primarily a flat surface. My stone is much more textured and rough, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about using this technique. Thankfully my husband came up with an awesome solution using tools that I already had on hand!

Here’s what I did – 

Supplies needed for the German Schmear Technique on Stone

Joint compound

Putty knife

Plastic ziplock bag

Scissors

Large paint brush

Sponge 

german schmear supplies needed

How to use the German Schmear Technique on Stone – Step 1

First, use your putty knife to scoop and add some joint compound into your plastic bag, just like you would frosting. I like to fold my bag down to prevent compound from getting all over the zipper. 

german schmear step 1 How to
german schmear step 1 DIY

How to use the German Schmear Technique on Stone – Step 2

Next, cut an opening at the corner of your bag that’s roughly a 1/2 inch wide. 

german schmear step 2

How to use the German Schmear Technique on Stone – Step 3

Squeeze your bag from the top (where the zipper is) and move along the joints and edges of each stone. Don’t worry about it being perfect! Just be sure you cover each seam with compound. 

german schmear step 3 DIY

How to use the German Schmear Technique on Stone – Step 4

This is where my husband came to the rescue! Rather than using a putty knife to schmear the compound across such an uneven surface, he suggested I use a large paintbrush to drag it across the stone. 

german schmear how to step 4

This. Was. GENIUS! The brush really allowed me to get into all the cracks and crevices, and it was so much more forgiving than the putty knife!

Just be aware that by using a brush, you will be covering most of your surface with the white compound, which will definitely lighten your stone. As my fireplace began to dry, I realized it was a little too light for my liking! 

In order to wipe some of the compound away, I simply used a wet sponge and a bowl of water to scrub areas where I wanted to see more of my stone. 

I actually have this entire process saved in my highlights under “stone makeover” on Instagram, if you’d like to check it out!

german schmear on stone before and after

And that’s it!! The result was so so beautiful, I just love the way my fireplace looks now!!

Here’s one last before and after – 

before german schmear
german schmear how to DIY on stone

It might just be personal preference, but to me the stone just looks softer and so much more aged now…

german schmear on stone tutorial
german schmear makeover
german schmear tutorial

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below! 

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How to use the german schmear on stone

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15 Comments

  1. I love this! I have read your tutorial on airstone. I wasn’t have with all the gaps. Then found this! I am now convinced this is what I will do. Thank you! Quick question…..what color airstone did you use? Thanks

    1. Aww Melissa I’m so happy it was a help you to you!! I believe the color I chose is in the tutorial…Birch Bluff I want to say is the name? Hope your fireplace turns out beautiful, I’m sure it will! 🙂

  2. I just came across your blog and Wow I’m speechless at how beautiful of a transformation this made!! I have also went and read all the other DIYS you and the hubby have done y’all make a great team I’d say! Really enjoy doing DIYS myself but I’m nowhere near this good.. So come to Oklahoma and help me out! Lol

    1. Hi Leah!! Oh my word, thank you haha!! You are so sweet!! Wish I could help all my sweet followers 🙂 Thanks again for leaving such a kind comment 🙂

      1. Hi Andrea,

        When you used the sealer did it leave any streaks? I am terrible at sealing with polycrylic but have typically tried using satin finish. Will the matte streak?

        1. I actually think the matte finish would streak less, the stone is a rough surface so I didn’t experience any issues really with streaking.

  3. We had quite a bit of airstone left over from a different project. We are adding a 2nd kitchen and I wanted to use the airstone but the look and colors just working working for me. I just found this and love it!!! Now to convince my husband this is perfect for the backsplash. We won’t have any upper cabinets, only open shelving. I’m excited!!

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