Faux Beam Fireplace Mantle

by Sarah
3 Materials
4 Hours
Do you have that space in your home that is a little blah but technically OK? Like the space is functional but just not what you want? And you kind of have to give yourself permission to change it up? That’s how I felt about this fireplace located in my living room, lovingly called the “sitting and talking room” by my children. Enter the faux beam fireplace mantle! Read on to see how easy it is to create one of your own.
The fireplace overall wasn’t bad but it was relatively bland. I had  whitewashed the brick when we first moved in which made a significant difference …but it always felt like it was lacking something. The mantle was too wimpy and the space above looked squatty. To counteract the issues I had with this poor helpless fireplace, I decided to beef up the mantle with some reclaimed wood and add some height with molding above (which I will talk more about in another post).
Supply List and CostLength of time for project: 4 hoursCost: $0 with reclaimed wood and stain I had on hand. Less than $50 if you buy all new wood and stain.
  • What you’ll need:
  • (2) 1x10x12 pieces of wood (the width and length may vary depending on your fireplace and the look you want to achieve. I used 1×10 boards and then ripped them down to about 1x 8.5 with a length extending about 1 inch past the end of my current mantle on each side).
  • Exact cuts for my mantle: top board 73″ L x 8.5″ H- one long side straight, one long side beveled, both short sides beveled; front board 73″ L x 8.5″ H -one long side straight, one long side beveled, both short sides beveled; side boards 8.5″ L x 8.5″H- top and front edge beveled, bottom and back edge straight
  • Table saw- to cut long edge bevels
  • Miter saw- to cut short edge bevels
  • wood glue
  • Nail gun
  • Screw driver and 1.5″ screws to secure faux beam mantle to existing mantle
  • wood stain- I used  Varathane Dark Walnut
What I learned: Cutting bevel cuts on the table saw isn’t nearly as scary as I thought! Obviously, a good level of respect for all woodworking equipment is recommended. Oh also, and very important, be sure to add extra length to account for the bevel cut! Make your calculations to the inside edge. You can see a bit more in action on my saved  Instagram Highlights .
In order to make the fireplace a bit more substantial, I wanted to add a new thicker mantle. The old mantle was a thin white piece of wood maybe about an inch thick. Rather than rip that off and buy a true beam (heavy/expensive), I did some brainstorming and decided to create a faux beam fireplace mantle slipcover of sorts.I was lucky enough to have some reclaimed wood on hand to use for this project. This wood is beautiful and has lots of texture. That said, never fear, you could make something very similar using box store wood and just beating it up a bit.
The ProcessNow to get to how it was done! This whole process was new to me so I was admittedly nervous because A) I hate using my tablesaw and B) I was going to use my tablesaw a bit differently than I had in the past.Beveled EdgesTo create a more seamless beam I needed to cut my wood at a 45° bevel. To do this was actually pretty easy once I got over my fear of trying it. You set the table saw at a 45° angle and just run the long edges through, the same way you would typically rip down a long board. The shorter side bevel cuts were done using my miter saw. One long edge of each piece was left straight (one for the top mantle where it goes against the wall and the other along the bottom front. The bottom front could also be beveled if you want to make a full box that closes off the front- I actually skipped this step and you can’t even tell!).
AssemblyThe beveled edges were put together using wood glue and a nail gun (I put the nails in what would be the top of the mantle and angled down into the front board). The sides were attached the same way (beveled on the top and front edges, straight along the bottom and back). I created my mantle with a top, a front, and two sides, but left the bottom open. I was planning to add a bottom later but now that I have it fixed in my living room, you honestly can’t tell that the bottom is not there. So I may just skip that tedious step. I suggest watching my  instagram highlights to see a little more of the process in action.
StainOnce the faux beam slip cover is assembled, it is time for staining. I used a new stain this time because I wanted something a little bit warmer and not as dark as what I had used in previous projects. This piece is obviously bigger than what I had before and I didn’t want it to overwhelm the space. Once the stain was dry I applied a top coat of polyurethane just to protect it a little bit more.
InstallNow it is time for installation! And this part could not be easier. I just placed it right on top of the old mantle and put a few screws along the top back edge so that they cannot be be seen and the mantle could be removed in the future if need be. And at this point it is completely done. I must say, it looks really amazing and taking the time to do the beveled edges so that it looks like a beam is totally worth it! Much better than seeing the seams of a butt end joint.
End ResultI did add some shiplap and crown molding above which I will create another post for in the future. I feel like this really finished off the fireplace by adding some great height and brightness. So stay tuned for that and I hope you enjoy your faux beam fireplace mantle slip cover!
Suggested materials:
  • 1x10x12 wood board   (Home Depot)
  • Wood glue   (Home Depot)
  • Stain   (Home depot)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Renee Renee on Jan 29, 2020

    Where can I find your video on the shiplap as well ? I love this !!

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3 of 5 comments
  • Linda steaples Linda steaples on Jan 29, 2020


    • Sarah Sarah on Jan 29, 2020

      So great! I hope you love it in your house as much as I do in mine!

  • Christina Aleridge Christina Aleridge on Feb 15, 2020

    Very nice...what a difference,looks so much better than before!