I spent months searching for a chippy vintage fireplace mantel for my bedroom. Unfortunately, I had no luck finding one in our local area, unless I wanted to pay $500 in shipping fees. And that wasn’t an option! So we decided to build one of our own based on my favorite Pinterest inspiration.
DIY Faux Fireplace Mantel Surround
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.
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.
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.
Wrap the Base of the Column Legs
Wrap the column bases with leftover pieces of 1″x 8″ pine.
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.
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.
Add Decorative Molding
Install decorative molding above the column wrap at the base.
Attach the hardwood fluted door casing moldings on the columns themselves.
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, or create a decorative piece to cover 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.
You can see the full tutorial to make this faux fireplace mantel surround, or to see the painting technique I used over at my blog, Shiplap and Shells.