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How To Make a Faux Fireplace Mantel Surround

Fireplace mantels always add so much character and charm to a room. And I had just the space for one. I’ll show you how I built this DIY faux fireplace mantel surround for my bedroom. Step-by-step instructions are below.

I’ve always loved how a fireplace mantel cozies up a room. It amazes me how you can completely transform a space with its warmth and charm, 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!

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

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fireplace mantel decorating for fall

DIY Faux Fireplace Mantel Surround

Before my husband and I started this project, I found some much-needed inspiration for a perfect fireplace mantel on Pinterest.

By taking certain details from each picture I found, I was able to create my very own beautiful vintage-inspired faux mantel.

sketch of the mantel

This sketch is based on all the characteristics we wanted to incorporate.

Fireplace Mantel Tools and Materials

To accommodate the space we had, our faux fireplace mantel surround finished at 4’7″ wide, across the mantel top, and 5′ tall.

My bedroom is incredibly small, so we decreased the dimensions that we would have normally used. Of course, you can adjust these measurements based on the space that is available to you.

Required Tools & Materials

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Faux Fireplace Mantel Step-By-Step

We decided to build this off-site, in our garage, and then attach it to the bedroom wall when completed.

Step 1: Assemble Columns

Apply glue to the edge of the 1″x 4″ legs, and lay a 1″x 6″ face board on top of the legs, nailing them down.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

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 the leg column, to close it off.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

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.

fireplace structure

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.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Step 3: Wrap the Base of the Column Legs

Wrap the column bases with leftover pieces of 1″x 8″ pine.

attaching the mantel shelf

Step 4: Attach the Mantel Shelf

After cutting to size, wrap the face of the mantel shelf with 2″ baseboard molding.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Attach the top shelf to the columns, using wood screws.

mantel form made
adding crown molding

Step 5: 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.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Step 6: Add Decorative Molding

Install decorative molding above the column wrap at the base.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Attach the hardwood fluted door casing moldings on the columns themselves.

adding applique

Step 7: Install Applique

Drill a small hole in the center of the applique.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

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.

caulking the joints

Step 8: Finishing the Fireplace Mantel Surround

Caulk the joints, and fill the nail holes with wood putty.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround

Fireplace Opening

You can choose to leave the firebox opening as it is or create a decorative piece to cover the opening.

We were putting this in our bedroom, where our wall color was a shade of blue. I wanted to make the faux fireplace mantel surround look more complete, so I added white shiplap, so the blue walls wouldn’t be seen through 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.

making a faux fireplace mantel surround
painting the mantel

After finishing our project, we brought the fireplace surround from the garage to the bedroom. It’s important to ensure the mantel is solidly attached to the wall, by either using wall anchors or by hitting a stud.

faux fireplace mantel

I didn’t add the painting step to this post, because there are so many painting techniques you can use. We used a layered chippy paint method on our fireplace mantel surround. I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find this DIY idea interesting.

Until next time,

Happy DIYing!

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how to make a faux fireplace mantel surround

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  1. Looking to do something similar in my bedroom. I love how yours turned out — totally thought it was an old mantel you redid. Where did you get that metal piece inside the fireplace in front of the shiplap? I love that detail!

  2. Idk if maybe I missed it. But how much was everything? Looking to make something similar. Great work!!

  3. This fireplace mantel is beautiful. I thought you were going to say you found this piece.

    You created a beautiful piece.


  4. This is gorgeous! It looks absolutely perfect in your bedroom. I might have to add this project to my own list of “master bedroom projects.” 😉 I often look at fireplace surrounds when I go to antique stores. I never considered just making one myself! I’m also glad you included a link to the paint method you used. I love it!

    1. I have always wanted to buy one, so much easier. But they can be so expensive. This was actually a lot of fun to make.

  5. Gorgeous DIY faux fireplace mantel surround. Your attention to every detail is what made this project perfect in every way. I love the finish you used on it.
    Have a great week,

  6. What a great idea Kim! So great that you could pay tribute to you lovely home and create such fun ambiance to it at the same time . Love it friend

    1. Thank you so much Chas! It turned out better than I thought it would. so fun to be hopping with you ladies.

  7. Kim, when I first saw the picture I thought you have found a vintage one and repaired it. I cannot believe you were able to achieve this vintage look with new wood! Just amazing! And I love the rose molding as well. But what made this so special is your use of the shiplap and staging it with the metal piece and the basket. What a charming focal point! Thank you so much for sharing and I am happy to hop with you.

    1. That’s the best compliment of all Mary, the fact that you thought it was already made. I was so nervous to see how it was going to turn out, we had no plan to go off of. My husband is seriously such a sport. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I always love hopping with you ladies.

  8. This turned out so adorable I can’t wait to try one. If only I could think of a blank wall. Your drawing of the project is so helpful. Great tutorial. It is fun hopping with you. Your home is so cozy in every photo, I love to get the chance to see it.

    1. You are so sweet Andrea. I’m so glad you like it. I hear exactly what you’re saying about finding a blank wall. This was literally the only wall I had that was open, and it was even a tight space. It’s always fun hopping with you.

  9. Oh, I love this! I’ve been wanting to do something similar in my bedroom. We currently have an electric fireplace, but it doesn’t fit my style. You’ve give me some ideas about how I might create a surround to jazz it up! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Oh, and your mirror above it! I’ve been looking hard for something similar at thrift and antique stores! It’s beautiful!

    Niky @ The Hosue on Silverado
    PS. I’d love it if you’d share at Sundays on Silverado Link Party, too!

    1. Thank you so much Niky! I’m so glad you like it, and I can’t wait to see what you end up doing. I will definitely go over and share at your link party. Thanks for the invite.

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