Ever dream of transforming your fireplace from builder-grade basic to a charming, rustic focal point? A rustic whitewash fireplace finish can be just the magic touch to add warmth and character to your space. This project combines a touch of the German Schmear technique with a classic whitewash to create a depth and texture that elevates your fireplace from ordinary to extraordinary.

The best part? This transformation is surprisingly simple and budget-friendly! Follow along as we guide you through the steps to create a stunning rustic whitewash fireplace that will become the heart and soul of your cozy haven.

Supplies for Your Rustic Whitewash Fireplace:

For this project you will need:

  • Pre-mixed White Grout: We used Custom Building Products Grout from Home Depot
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Drop Clothe
  • A Rag
  • Large Putty Knife or Trowel
  • White Paint
  • A Paint Brush

How to Start Your Rustic Whitewash Brick Fireplace

Prepping for Perfection: Clean Canvas & Protected Zone

Before unleashing the whitewash magic, let’s prep our fireplace for a flawless transformation! First things first: clean the brick. Grab a damp cloth (no soaking!) and gently wipe away dust and grime. For stubborn areas, use a mild dish soap and water solution, rinsing thoroughly and letting the brick dry completely (at least 24 hours!).

Next, it’s time to shield the surrounding area. Use painter’s tape to create a barrier around the fireplace and lay down a drop cloth to catch any drips. Don’t skimp on the tape or drop cloth coverage – a little prevention goes a long way! Now that we have a clean canvas and a protected zone, we’re ready to dive into the whitewashing process.

rustic whitewash fireplace diy
Fireplace Makeover Before & After

Let’s Get Textured: The German Schmear Magic

Now comes the fun part – adding some rustic charm with the German Schmear technique! This step creates a beautiful textured base for our whitewash.

Here’s the lowdown:

  1. Grout with a Twist: Grab your grout and add a small amount of water. We’re not looking for a soupy mess, but a consistency that’s easier to spread. Think creamy peanut butter!
  2. Become a Schmear Master: Using a large putty knife or even a rag, apply the grout mixture across the brick in small sections. Work your way across the fireplace, building up the texture you desire. Remember, the more grout you apply, the more dramatic the texture will be.
  3. Patience is a Virtue: Once you’ve finished applying the grout, let it dry completely for 1-2 days. This allows the brick to absorb the color and water, giving you a clearer picture of the final look.

Pro Tip Alert! Check out the pictures below – these show the fireplace 24 hours after the grout application. See how the brick transformed from red to a cool, almost purple hue? While I loved the variation, I craved a whiter final look. This is where the beauty of DIY comes in – you can customize it to your taste! Stay tuned to see how we achieve the perfect whitewashed finish.

Kitchen Fireplace side, after spreading the white grout for rustic look

Rustic Whitewash Fireplace Technique: The Finishing Touch

The German Schmear has laid a beautiful textured foundation, and now it’s time to complete the transformation with our whitewash magic! Get ready to create a final look that balances rustic charm with a touch of brightness.

1. Mixing Your Whitewash:

First, grab your white paint and pour some into a separate container. Here’s where the fun customization begins! Depending on the level of coverage and amount of pure white paint you want on your fireplace, you are going to dilute the paint accordingly.

Think of it like this:

  • 50/50 Water to Paint: This creates a light and airy whitewash, perfect for a subtle touch of brightness.
  • 25/75 Water to Paint: This offers a thicker application, providing more coverage and a more opaque white.

Remember: The brick will absorb some of the paint, so the final color will be a tad lighter than it appears when wet. To avoid any surprises, experiment on a small, inconspicuous area of brick before tackling the entire fireplace. You can always go back and add more to certain areas or do a second coat.

2. Applying the Whitewash:

Now that you have your perfect whitewash concoction mixed up, it’s time grab your paintbrush. Gently glide the brush across each brick and grout line, coating them with the diluted paint.

Here’s where you can truly customize your DIY project:

  • Blending with a Rag: Use a rag to wipe away some of the freshly applied whitewash, creating a blended effect for a more natural look. The more diluted your mixture is (the more water) the easier the liquid will drip and run down the fireplace. I used the rag a lot to blot and catch some of the excess fluid.
  • Highlighter Magic: Want to highlight specific areas? Leave a touch more whitewash on those bricks for a bit of variety.

The texture from the German Schmear technique will naturally add variation to the final look, while the whitewash acts as a brightening agent. It was the perfect combination for the fireplace I had envisioned!

3. Achieving Your Rustic Vision:

The beauty of DIY is that you get to personalize! Craving a super rustic, unfinished vibe? You can either stop after completing the German Schmear step or go even lighter with your whitewash solution (think 75/25 water to paint). For a more polished look, apply a second coat of a slightly thicker whitewash mixture.

The Key Takeaway: Experiment on a hidden area to perfect your technique! This project is all about creating a fireplace that reflects your unique style. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with the whitewash!

rustic whitewash fireplace
The fireplace after using the German Schmear and White Wash Technique
The Finished Fireplace Makeover

The Grand Finale: A Fireplace Fit for Cozy Nights

There you have it! With a touch of planning and some creative flair, you’ve transformed your fireplace from builder-grade basic to a charming focal point that embodies rustic warmth. Remember, the beauty of DIY lies in its ability to be customized to your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with the whitewash technique to achieve the perfect balance between texture and brightness.

For an extra dose of fireplace inspiration, check out our previous blog post, DIY Fireplace Transformation in One Day – Building an Over Mantel. In this article, you’ll learn how to build an over mantel that complements your whitewashed masterpiece – in one day!

So grab your paintbrush, get creative, and get ready to transform your living space into something beautiful, that you love!

For another great DIY project, Staircase Makeover, click here!

Once you finish your fireplace, you can add this Black and White Floral Print Giveaway! This perfect print can be easily added to your mantel or foyer decor!

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