DIY Faux Fireplace With Faux Brick Chimney

7 Materials
4 Hours

I've been so inspired by all the faux fireplaces I've been seeing around and the creative ways people were using vintage fireplace mantels so I decided to try my hand at my own!

I found a piece of a mantel on Marketplace for $30 and immediately envisioned it as a fireplace! I scooped it up before it sold and sent hubby to work creating the faux fireplace of my dreams.

To start with, we made sure my mantel piece was level on the wall and nailed it into place using our pneumatic nail gun. Because the previous owner was crazy, and used three different types of trim in this room, we went ahead and swapped out the trim for a piece that matches the original trim in our farmhouse. This is not necessary to build your faux fireplace, we’re just trying to clean up the messes he made.Then we cut two pieces of common board to the length needed. Measure between your mantel and the top of your trim. Cut. And nail to the wall. We also had some decorative trim on hand and decided to add this to cover up our seams, as well as to give our faux fireplace more character.

On to my favorite part. Faux brick. I start by using just super inexpensive masking tape (.94″ wide) and using my level to create level lines across the insert of my faux fireplace. Next up, I started with the top row, and create my bricks by ripping my tape to the approximate length. Remember that brick isn’t perfect, so your taping doesn’t need to be either. Just make sure everything is level!

I always have joint compound on hand because I’ve used it many times to create faux brick. A large container of it is $10 at your local Walmart. Smear it all over the inside of your fireplace, on top of your tape. You don’t need to rush, but you do need to get this all done at the same time so you can remove your tape before the joint compound dries.

Once you’ve added all your joint compound, you need to remove the tape while the compound is still wet. Otherwise your tape will adhere to the wall, and you won’t get that 3D effect or the grout lines.This is messy and I do recommend having a trash bag nearby, as well as wearing gloves. I managed to only get one drop of compound on the floor and since it was still wet, it easily wiped up. If you’re doing this over carpet, you’ll want to put down a drop cloth of some sort.Let this dry overnight before attempting to paint! Once your joint compound is dry, you can start the fun part, painting.First up is painting your faux fireplace surround. I went with white to match the already painted and chippy mantel piece. Then you can get creative and start painting your brick. I just used a mixture of brown, creams, and grey acrylic paints to paint the bricks, used a white paint I had on hand for the grout lines, and then stippled my paintbrush in the white paint and whitewashed the entire brick insert. This part is totally up to you, and there is no “right” way to do it. After all, it is just paint. Don’t like it? Paint over it with new colors!

I am so happy with the effect this fireplace had on this room and this large wall! We originally had large open shelves here and it made the room seem small and cluttered! Now it seems bright and open!

Check out my blog post here to see more photos and some other fun projects we're working on!

Suggested materials:

  • Architectural Piece or Mantel
  • Common Board
  • Decorative Trim
See all materials

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Hayden Scharrer

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 16 questions
  • Terri Eskin King
    on Dec 23, 2018

    How was putting a nail for hanging? Did the compound fall apart?

    • Ashley
      on Sep 10, 2019

      Could you post a picture of your final results please? I have a beautiful antique mantle that I'm dying to use, but I definitely would rather have it raised, just not sure how to go about it.

  • Anna
    on Dec 24, 2018

    Beautifully done. Goes very well with a farm house. Lovely addition to your space. I'm wondering if I could save a step by adding paint directly to the joint compound. Any thoughts?

    • Jill Ron Pike
      on Jan 8, 2019

      The paint might change the consistency of the joint compound, making it thinner and lengthening the drying process. There are powdered pigments available though. You need very little powder, so the compound won't be too dry to work with.

  • Jaime Darr McClead
    on Dec 26, 2018

    So when u pulled the tape thru the thick, wet compound, there wasn't any blotching that had gotten under the tape or pieces that had drug when u pulled the tape off? Your lines just look extremely perfect, seems like one of those if it seems to good to be true that is because it probably is deals?? Lol....

    hope to hear back from u, I have already inserted and leveled my old antique mantle that I retrieved from a couple hundred year old farm house but didn't want to try this process without talking to you about the tape first....

    • SpudBread
      on Sep 2, 2019

      Save your self some trouble-- get "brick" paneling from the big box home stores -- and nail it up. You can always re-decorate it to change the appearance wih chalk paint, white wash, and all sorts of things, etc. The paneling styles vary from trditional brick looks to field stone etc. GOOD LUCK!

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