Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t say “whitewash.” That was the first thing I tried when I decided one day that I wanted to paint my brick fireplace. I took some white paint and mixed it with water to thin it out and then painted my brick. I should have taken picture…Oh Nap!! (as my 3-year-old says…he’s trying to say “snap” like his siblings) Anyway, it looked like I had taken my brick and put it in a photo editing software and turned the brightness setting way up. It just looked washed out. Maybe if I had nicer brick it would have looked better…but of course that was why I was painting the brick because it didn’t look good.
Let me back up a little. I knew what I was looking for. I wanted to look like those old walls that had been painted and then someone tried to take the paint off. Like this:
You can see in this picture, the original color of the brick is coming through. There is not much paint on the face of the brick. The paint is mostly in the grout lines and in any low spots on the brick. This is what happens when you paint a wall and then try to take it off. The paint remains in the low spots.
So I knew what I wasn’t looking for this:
In this picture you can see that the paint it more on the bricks and not in the grout lines.
Okay, so this doesn’t look too bad, mostly because the shape of the brick already has an old look to it (and the brick doesn’t look like it was laid perfectly straight which makes it look older). My brick was perfect rectangles with sharp corners, it did not look chipped away and aged. You can see the brick color isn’t coming through because it has a whitewash on it.
So how do you achieve the right look? Well, it’s simple you have to put the paint on and then take it back off.
First I painted the brick making sure to get the paint in all the low spots.
Me Painting Brick Fireplace
This step wouldn’t have taken too long if I hadn’t been experimenting with the whitewash look.
After you paint, let it dry. Then go back with a belt sander and sand the brick until you get the look you want.
I had some old sandpaper on my belt so I didn’t get too much paint off (I told you, I literally woke up one day and decided to do it so there was no preparation in going to the store and buying the right supplies). Here is a closeup:
Not the best picture b/c I need more light, but you can see how it’s starting to achieve that look.
Anyway, so I had decided that I wanted to take more paint off so my husband went to the store to get more sandpaper for me and he came back with FINE sandpaper. Which could have worked but I couldn’t bring myself to spend a lot of extra time sanding when I knew if I had COARSE sandpaper I’d be done if a few minutes. Sigh…oh well…. So here’s how it stands right now. I might take off more paint later:
Okay, so I haven’t really focused on the staging of the fireplace. I just grabbed some stuff from around the house to make it look better…another time.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
Thinking about doing some German Smear or White Wash your brick? I’ve been collecting info on it, you can see what I have so far here: