Learn how to build a DIY faux fireplace mantel surround to create a charming focal point in any room.
I’ve always loved how a fireplace mantel looks in a room. It adds so much character, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to the many creative ways you can style it. I spent months searching for a chippy vintage mantel, but had no luck, unless I wanted to pay $500 in shipping fees. And that wasn’t an option.
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Before my husband and I started this project, I searched for the perfect fireplace mantel surround on Pinterest for inspiration. I fell in love with quite a few, and took some features from each one to create my own. This sketch is based on the characteristics we wanted to incorporate. In the end, we decided to use pine boards rather than hemlock wood that was listed on the sketch.
- Compound Miter Saw
- Table Saw
- Brad Nailer
- Caulking Gun
- Tape Measure
- Putty Knife
- Mantel Top: Qty 1 – 2″x 10″x 6′ Pine Board
- Leg Column Face: Qty 2 – 1″x 6″x 6′ Pine Boards
- Leg Column Sides: Qty 4 – 1″x 4′”x 6′ Pine Boards
- Header Board: Qty 1 – 1″x 12″x 6′ Pine Board
- Backer Board: Qty 1 – 1/4″ Plywood, cut to fit
- Shiplap boards for fireplace opening: Qty 4 – 1″x 6″x 8′ Pine Boards
- 8′ Crown Molding
- Decorative moldings
- Hardwood Fluted Door Casing Set
- Rose Applique
- Brad Nails
- Wood Glue
- Wood Filler
- Wood Screws
We have a small bedroom, so we decreased the dimensions that we would have normally used. To accommodate the space we had, our faux fireplace mantel surround finished at 4’7″ wide, across the mantel top, and 5′ tall. But you can customize, using your own dimensions.
Step 1: Assemble Columns
Apply glue to the edge of the 1″x 4″ legs, and lay 1″x 6″ face board on top of the legs, nailing them down.
Install braces inside the leg box, as needed, to strengthen the columns. We put an end cap at the top and one at the bottom of leg column, to close it off.
Step 2: Attach the Apron Board Between the Columns
Nail a support board to each column, for the apron board. Add a 1″x 2″ across the bottom of the board to close off and add bulk.
A temporary support was added across the column legs. This maintained the surround’s shape during the building process. To allow for more exposure of the apron board, drop the board down from the top, 75% of the width of the crown molding. In this case, it was approximately 3″ from the top shelf.
Wrapping the Base of the Column Legs
Wrap the column bases with leftover pieces of 1″x 8″ pine.
Step 3: Attach the Mantel Shelf
After cutting to size, wrap the face of the mantel shelf with 2″ baseboard molding.
Attach the top shelf to the columns, using wood screws.
Step 4: Attach Crown Molding
Install crown molding under the top mantel shelf. It is easier to install the molding when the mantel is turned upside down.
Step 5: Add Decorative Molding
Install decorative molding above the column wrap at the base.
Attach the hardwood fluted door casing moldings on the columns themselves.
Step 6: Install Applique
Drill a small hole in the center of the applique.
Find the center of the apron board. Use a nail, tapping gently, to hold the applique in place. Apply glue, and hold in place with masking tape, until dry. At that time, remove the nail.
Finishing the Fireplace Mantel Surround
Caulk the joints, and fill the nail holes with wood putty.
You can choose to leave the firebox opening as it is. We were putting this in our bedroom, which has blue paint on the walls. I wanted to make the faux fireplace mantel surround look more complete, and added white shiplap, so the blue walls wouldn’t be seen in the opening. We attached 1/4″ plywood for a backer board, and painted it white. As an alternative to buying a sheet of 1/4″ plywood, you could add strips of 1″x 2″ pine, nailed to the inside of the columns. You would then attach the shiplap to it. This is the same method we used to install the apron board.
We used shiplap to add more interest to the piece. To install the shiplap, use the backer board as a support structure.
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This post has been shared with…
- Thursday Favorite Things hosted by Follow the Yellow Brick Home
- Make It Pretty Monday hosted by The Dedicated House