Ugly Mantel to Bedroom Beautiful!

by Sandy
7 Materials
2 Days
I was driving down road one day and saw a yard sale with furniture. Obviously I had to stop! Duh. I was trying to flirt with guy who lives there (who was soo cute) and suddenly I saw this really dilapidated mantel sitting on side of garage all wet from the rain. I gasped and fell to my knees! (Well almost) I had to have it. The cute owner wanted $50, but I convinced him $35 was more reasonable. His husband agreed (uh oh)! She was all mine. They even delivered it for free!
Ugh! Lots of work ahead.
Sorry to say this old girl spent a few months in my den before I could get to her. I had a vision though. After an insane amount of scrubbing and sanding and wood filler and more sanding, I nearly gave up. But NO! I felt her screaming "make me pretty again". So I put my arm in a sling and continued to slug it out with her imperfections.
Finally time to paint! I wish I could say that was the easiest part, but alas NOPE. I painted it three different colors of chalk paint and didn't care for any of them. Crap! Lol I finally ended up with walmart brand Waverly acrylic Plaster color, which was so much better as it had a slight luster to the finish and went on great! Perfecto!

Then I went to my wood stack and found a 1/4" piece of wood and cut it to fit in the U-shape in the middle of the mantel. Then I went to Hobby Lobby and found some great pleather fabric and some foam batting. I glued the batting to the wood, then stapled the pleather over that and tucked it all in nicely. Then I got a roll of studded nail heads and tacked those on to give definition. Holy cow! I'm actually seeing my vision come to light! Then I decided I needed to add boards on each side to even it out with top of the mantel. So off to Peddlers I go. I cut the board in half and then attached them to sides with liquid wood and wood glue.
Picture of pleather up close and personal. it.
Foam batting glued to wood piece and then covered with pleather. Measure it to the exact area you are going to insert it in. Easy enough.
Even on a roll, this stuff was crazy hard to install by myself. Not impossible, but hard. I lost one fingernail over it, but it's worth it!
I'm roaring to the finish line and then I look at it and think... too plain for all this hard work! We need some major BLING here old girl. So I added a cute stencil in gold on the top. Now we're talking!
And now....introducing MABEL! Isn't she a beauty?! She is now smooth and even on both her sides with a comfy backrest and a stylish pretty bLing top. The two doors with stained glass behind my night stands are perfect with the new mantel. I actually found these in my mom's garage attic a couple of years ago and brought them back to life. I love, love, love them!
I painted that picture above the bed yesterday, but not sure about it yet. Well, that's my story of Mabel and me. All my friends and family thought I was a crazy old woman for buying her and putting in all the work, but they didn't have the vision I did. Now they all want their own Mabel and want me to do one just like this one. Uh...I don't think so! Lol
Before picture. Not bad, but I was getting tired of old headboard. Then last week my side rail split in half and I landed on the floor. It was the push I needed to get this project moving. So glad I did!
The mantel makes the room so much cozier and warm looking, don't you think? It's very comfortable and secure to the wall. The best part is that I can redecorate on top every day if I want and not worry about nail holes! So if you are lucky enough to find an old mantel, snatched it up! If I can do this project all on my own, you can too.
Suggested materials:
  • Mantel   (Yards ale $35)
  • Piece of trim for sides and board for batting   (Peddlers $3)
  • Pleather for back rest   (Hobby Lobby $10)
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 7 questions
  • Chelley Chelley on Oct 13, 2016
    Ooops i meant the wall hanging with the S on it. How did you make that?

  • Mookie Mookie on Oct 14, 2016
    I was wondering if you bought the stain glass and made it or is it a window or door? I love it and would like to have something like it.

  • Janet Janet on Oct 27, 2016
    The added "bling"- where did it go? I must be dotty!

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3 of 128 comments
  • Kristy Caldwell Kristy Caldwell on Jun 19, 2017
    Absolutely Beautiful! I love the shutters. I may have to try that myself.

    • Sandy Sandy on Jun 19, 2017
      Thanks! You should do it. I've had them up for about 4 years and I still get tons of compliments on them. I've literally had people come to my door and ask to see my mantel headboard and stain glass doors! Lol You can usually find some at your local Habitat for Humanity Restore pretty cheap. Do it! Lol

  • Cynthia Cynthia on Mar 09, 2019

    Way love this! Fab idea & great implementation :D !!