The most satisfying part of this project was putting it all together. Lathering up the wall, placing bricks and then going to town with the smear!

So first things first, you need to measure your bricks and see how much of a gap you want to leave for the grout. Our bricks ended up being about 11 and one-eighths inch long so we decided on a 3/8 inch spacer for the grout. I especially loved the T shaped spacers, you can find them at Home Depot, Lowes or even on Amazon here.

Once you get the spacers, you’ll need an adhesive. We went with the OmniGrip brand because it was already mixed and ready to go! We got a trowel with good teeth so as we were spreading the adhesive on the wall it would add more suction.

We also made a strike-through line down the middle of the brick to be extra sure it was secure.

(my sweet hubby is pretty specific about making things very sturdy while we’re doing these projects. Good thing, cause I’m too easy going about it. ;))

If you have multiple different colored bricks as we did, here’s a black and white picture of the variation in the placement that we did. We kept it pretty random and clustered, and I love how it turned out! Especially the groupings of white bricks, that was my favorite with the finished product it really brought in negative space.

We also made a soldier line above the fireplace which I hadn’t thought about until we began installing but I’m so glad I ended up doing because it would not have turned out as good as it did!

Why do I tell you this? ‘Cause you may have ideas mid way through your project and if it’ll create a better end result, roll with it!

Also, if you are getting flustered with your pattern and want to stay organized, lay it out in rows kind of like this picture below. It helped me especially if I had to leave the project for the night or go pick up our little girl from the babysitter and had to return to the project later.

Now, once you’re done laying brick in place the fun and messy part begins.

First off you’ll want to cover everything with plastic and tape. If you’re smarter than us, you’ve probably already done this before you were laying the brick, but you live and learn!

Then, if you are planning ahead, order some premixed grout off of Amazon, we used the Bright White color by SimpleGrout. If you aren’t planning ahead, head to your local hardware store to grab a gallon or even two! We used two gallons and one pint-sized one to cover all of our brick.

The only way you can be sure to have enough of the color you want would be to order it ahead, just so you know! They were out at one point for us so we had to wait a day til the next restock was supposed to happen at our home depot.

Next, go to town with your trowel! I recommend using a trowel with a better handle to maneuver with like this one. Get a good amount of grout on the end of the trowel, then as you press the grout inside the spaces between the brick, smear the excess up, down and sideways to create a different direction of texture each time you stroke.

Don’t worry about getting it all over some bricks, and only on a little bit of other bricks, the varied amount of white gives it that vintage and industrial feel that makes it so beautiful!

Your wrists will get tired, so be sure to take a few breaks, and get other people to help if you can! If you switch off the person doing the grout you will have even more variation and less uniform! Exactly what you’re looking for to imitate a German Smear.

Once you’re done, I’d suggest taking some sandpaper to smooth out some areas and leave other areas more rough. We took an electric sandpaper tool to our wall to really smooth it out in some areas and it added a smooth finishing touch so the kiddos don’t get scratched every time they touch the wall.

Voila! The finished product!

If there are any other questions, leave them in the comments below! This project took us a couple weeks, but we loved the accomplished feeling after we were done! We felt like we could take on any project, so now, on to finishing our basement!


This Lost Mama

2 Comments on DIY Thin Brick Wall Installation and German Smear

    • I got these bricks on from someone who was selling in the classifieds. They were all the red brick, then I stained them individually with the stain kit I have linked in the article. Hope this helps!

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