How to Build a Shaker Style Fireplace Surround & Mantle

6 Materials
4 Days

We LOVE fireplaces. We love the way they anchor a room and add charm, character and architectural detail. There is nothing better than cozying up with a blanket by the fireplace on a chilly day. There is something magical about a fire. It beckons to a simpler time, gathering around the fire as a family and sharing stories.

My youngest grandson loves sitting by the fire! It can be 90 degrees outside and the A/C is on and he wants to turn on the fireplace and cuddle up in a blanket! If you look closely at this photo you will see that the patriotic decor is on the shelves, the fireplace is on and we are cuddled up reading a book. Yep, it’s July and he wants a fire!

We began by drawing out the design plan on the wall so we could visualize it.

Pro tip: Our markings on the wall were 1″ smaller than our desired design to accommodate the thickness of the drywall.

We built the framework for the fireplace out of 2 x 4 lumber. You may also notice PVC pipe behind the framing. This was Steve’s idea for running cables and wiring for gaming, surround sound and cable. Once again he is the brains behind every project.

Once all the framing was complete as well as running the gas line for the fireplace it was time for the drywall. When the drywall was all up, it was time to tape and mud the seams and screws.

We mapped out the design on the wall for the mantle and surround. You can see here the sketch of the surround and mantle areas. This helped to know exactly how to cut each piece of wood.

Tools and supplies we used to build the mantle & surround:

  1. table saw or circular saw
  2. pneumatic finish nail gun
  3. wood glue
  4. 2 x 4 lumber
  5. 3/4″ 4 x 8 MDF wood panel
  6. 3 1/2″ base moulding
  7. 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ flat trim
  8. 8″ x 1″ flat moulding board
  9. crown moulding

For the fireplace surround we used 3/4″ MDF panels. We chose MDF because it paints up beautifully and it is more economical.

We cut each piece pictured in the diagram.

  1. 53″ x 7″ (note that the bottom section of this is 6″ wide for 40 1/2″)
  2. 40 1/2″ x 6″
  3. 40 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

Assemble the surround boxes by running a bead of wood glue on the 2 sides of the 40 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ piece. Align this board so that it is flush with the 2 side panels as pictured. Using the pneumatic nail gun secure the sides.

Note: the seam of the wood will be on the front of the boxes. It will be covered later by the moulding.

We next secured the 2 boxes to the wall by lining them up with the pencil lines we had made on the wall. We attached them by securing some strips of wood to the wall into the studs, then nailing the boxes to the wood strips on the sides.

Next we cut a board (72 1/2″ x 7″) that will fit on top of the 2 side pieces. Secure into place with wood glue and nails.

Cut another board (72 1/2″ x 12 1/2″). Run a bead of glue along the bottom edge and the 2 sides and mount to the 2 side boards and the board that connects the 2 side columns. Secure with nails. Note: The seam should be on the front and it will be flush with the 2 side boards. This seam will be covered with moulding.

We then cut the board for the mantle top (74″ x 11″). To make the mantle top appear chunkier, we applied 1 1/2″ trim boards on 3 sides with a mitered cut on the 2 front corners. Secure the mantle top in place with wood glue and brads.

We used baseboard for all of the decorative craftsman/shaker details. I wanted to mimic the design of the custom shaker cabinets that are in our kitchen.

For all of the decorative trim we used a 3 1/2″ baseboard, mitered the corners and secured in place with wood glue and nails.

We cut a 5 1/2″ strip from the 3/4″ MDF panel to use against the chimney wall where it meets the ceiling. Cut the board longer than needed then hold it in place and draw lines on the back of the board where it meets the sides of the wall. Cut the boards on the marked lines and secure it in place using nails.

At the base of the 2 columns we used the 8″ x 1″ moulding board, trimmed to 7″ wide. We mitered the corners and installed this with wood glue and nails first.

Just below the top of the mantle we used a 1 1/2″ board behind the crown moulding piece. We use this same style of crown moulding at the top of the built in bookcases as well.

The final step is to caulk all of the seams and putty in the nail holes. Once it is all prepped it is ready for paint. We had a custom color paint mixed that matched the kitchen cupboards. Quick tip: Wait to install the tile around the fireplace until the painting is finished. This will save time masking off the tile. We used a traditional and classic white hexagon tile for the surround.

We are in LOVE with the way the fireplace and built-ins turned out! Do you like it? Was this tutorial helpful? Did we leave out any details? Please drop us a comment and let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you!

For more details on how we installed the fireplace and constructed the mantle and surround please check out our post at

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  2 questions
  • Mary Scheer Mary Scheer on Oct 15, 2019

    How much tile did you use? And how did you apply it?

  • Leeanne Leeanne on Oct 20, 2019

    Great job! Have you considered installing a custom beveled mirror in the inset part above the fireplace? It would really open up the room and the tv could still stay. Just a thought... :)

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