Sunday, November 6, 2016

Faux Brick–German Smear

As long as I can remember I’ve loved interior brick walls.  I gravitate to anything brick, stone and wood.
Since I’ve never lived in any house that would have an interior brick wall, at some point I’d have to create my own.

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Faux brick panels seem to be very popular these days.  I’ve seen them used many times and in many ways.  I’ve never quite liked the visible seams though.  Some people just use them as they are.  Some paint them.  But I can always see the seam.

The German Smear technique is what we’ll be doing on panels that are being installed in the bedroom, behind the bed.

The entire bedroom makeover will be revealed shortly but for now let’s cover the brick wall.

Our panels are being attached to the drywall with both nails and adhesive.

These panels are called Carriage House Paneling and are found at Home Depot. 

As great as they are, they end up looking like this when put together. Can’t deal with that.

German smear 1

The seams aren’t very noticeable in this picture below but you can definitely see them in person.

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I’m using simple ready mixed Drywall Compound.  It doesn't have to stand up to the exterior elements so this works fine.
I applied the compound with a taping knife.
To scrape some excess compound off the bricks use a scraper.
First, I started on the seams.  I filled the seams with a thin coat of compound and allowed it to dry. Already the seams began to disappear.

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My tools are slightly dirtier than those pictured above.  I managed to get it all over myself.
Since you wont be able to dip that taping knife in the bucket, use the scraper to get it onto the knife.

german smear 4

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There really isn’t any technique to it but I did try to vary the degree of pressure when applying it to the wall.  This allows some areas to get more compound and some to get much less.  Because of the dark wood bedroom furniture I decided to leave the walls a little on the whiter side.

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When you’ve got it all covered, stand back and see where you can scrape some off.  Allow some of the color beneath to show through.  I didn’t really care if I got it all the joints, after all  its supposed to look like plaster that’s aged and fallen off the brick.

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Unlike most Smear techniques I left some rough patches and scraper marks.  Those marks lend an air of authenticity and make the wall more 3D.  When you see this wall upon entering the room, you honestly believe this is brick.  Even up close you need to touch to it in order to tell.   I think smoothing the compound out would make the wall appear too flat.  I actually like the way the light catches the rough spots.

german smear 8

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So here is a sneak preview of the room makeover.   Take notice of the new sconces.  Yes, those are outdoor lanterns.   Love these new lights in the bedroom.

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Next up, the rest of the bedroom makeover!



  1. Wow! What a great idea! Can't wait to see it all.

  2. Looks gorgeous, where did you get the paneling, it looks so real.

    1. As stated above the panels are from Home Depot. You can also get slightly different ones at Lowes

  3. Thanks for the perfect idea for my (too) new cabin.

  4. I wonder if you could do this for a kitchen backsplash?

    1. YES!!! BUT seal it with a couple of coats of Polycrylic so that it is durable and wipe-able!!

  5. where did you purchase the lanterns?are they led or regular type bulbs?

  6. where did you purchase the lanterns?are they led?or regular bulbs?love the look

    1. I bought the lanterns at a store called Universal Lighting in Toronto. Any lighting store or Home Depot, Lowes, etc will have outdoor lanterns. You'd be surprised how much you have to choose from when you include outdoor lamps as well as indoor.
      The bulbs are regular bulbs as I like the lighting much better than LED Bulbs.

  7. Absolutely love this idea! Since this has been completed for a while, Did you have any of the drywall compound flake or dust off the wall? Did you use a sealant after the compound dried? Thanks!

    1. You could definitely seal it if you wanted to. But you'd have to use a spray sealer and in a matte finish. I have not sealed mine, and I have no issue with anything flaking off or rubbing off. I suppose if you were to rub the wall hard with your hand or rub it with anything else it would scrape off, but then if you rubbed a wall with anything hard, you'd probably leave a mark too. The wall is behind a bed and will basically never be touched. If I want to clean it off once in a while, I can move the bed and dust it down with a very soft broom.

  8. Totally in love with this look Lisa! I have a question b/c I am considering trying this in my own, does the drywall compound end up giving it more of a gray look, or is it truly white once dry? Just want to make sure it really looks white when it's done :) Was so excited to see your pin :)

    1. The drywall compound is definitely white. Not a stark unnatural white, but a soft white. I think I know what you want as I wanted to make sure it wasn't grey as well. The compound I used, (as pictured above) is the perfect white!

  9. I love it! I like the variation and the texture. Super pretty! I'm thinking of doing this in our stairway up to a bonus room in our garage. Love it!

  10. Love the look! Since you're adding depth on the wall, do you think you'd need a crown moulding?

  11. Love this looks like it was a lot of fun too

  12. Looks great. Did you caulk the seams between the boards or did the compound resolve that for you?

  13. I love those brick walls and bedroom. Please come visit me:)

  14. Curious how this is holding up over time? Did you use anything to seal it? I just did something similar over my fireplace brick and I’m debating how to seal. Thanks!


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