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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 3: Wrap the Base of the Column Legs
Wrap the column bases with leftover pieces of 1″x 8″ pine.
Step 4: 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 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.
Step 6: 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 7: 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.
Step 8: 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 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.
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.
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,
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