Secondhand Fireplace Mantel Makeover

7 Materials
3 Days

Today, I'm sharing a project with you that was directly inspired by something I saw in an episode of Fixer Upper. It took me a few months to find the perfect piece to make it happen, but my patience and determination paid off — and now it's one of my favourite parts of our home.

I wound up finding a secondhand fireplace mantel at a shop near our house called Memory Lane Antiques. Not only had it been marked down a number of times, it was also the perfect shape and size for our bedroom — SCORE!

I began by quickly scuffing up the mantel with some sandpaper. I didn't spend too much time on this, but a small amount of sanding really improves the way milk paint adheres to a piece.

After mixing my paint and adding a bit of bonding agent, I covered the entire mantel and allowed it to dry according to the product directions.

Once I was happy with the way it looked, I added a solid layer of antiquing wax to the mantel — making sure to focus on its edges and ornamental details. I worked in the wax with a soft cloth and then wiped it off with another.

After allowing the paint and wax to cure, my husband and I secured the mantel to the wall at the foot of our bed. Over the course of a few months, I decorated it with sentimental pieces and unique finds from some of my favourite stores.

To find out more about working with milk paint, check out the Miss Mustard Seed website. It's such a fun product to use, and the results it can create are truly amazing.

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Katie Sara Creates
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  • Elisabeth Mackey Elisabeth Mackey on Jan 25, 2019

    Very nice! Did you use bonding agent because you didn't want the milk paint to crackle? I'm asking because I am about to use MMS milk paint on a vintage trunk and I would like it to chip more than your mantel. It looks beautiful by the way.

  • Francie Kat Francie Kat on Jan 26, 2019

    Absolutely beautiful! I can only imagine how happy you must feel looking at the wall at the foot of your bed.

    In a totally unrelated question... I have been looking for a wall wreath very much like the one over your mantle. I've looked everywhere-- online and in stores. Would you please guide me as to where I can purchase one? I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks so much!!

  • Jackie Jackie on Mar 22, 2019

    How do i paint an oak chipped bed

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  • Virginia S. Virginia S. on Dec 28, 2020

    The mantle adds an architectural feature where one did not exist before, which I love. How nice, and the milk paint you used makes it look antique and authentic. You could add even more interest by cutting out of slices of wood from a tree limb and gluing them to a backing for the interior of the mantel. I made a frame to a plain bathroom mirror doing that for my log cabin. Thank you for sharing your project.

    • Katie Sara Creates Katie Sara Creates on Dec 28, 2020

      Thank you so much, Virginia! I love the wood slices idea! I bet the mirror in your cabin looks great! 😊

  • Kevin Kevin on Mar 17, 2021

    You have done a GREAT job here!

    We LOVE a fireplace anyway you can get one!

    This is a beautiful "faux fireplace" very popular in the late 1950s most have a cut out in back for the baseboard.

    We have 2 of these found CHEAP on Craigslist and did our own thing with both.

    One faux fireplace has a space heater from Wayfair that looks like logs "a fire burning in the hearth" we switch OFF the heater to save a few bucks on the electric bill here.

    The other faux fireplace has original logs that came with the faux fireplace back in the 1950s I had them re-wired they hold 2 red light bulbs.

    Few if any rules with a faux fireplace have fun do your own thing.

    Our next faux fireplace might be a nautical theme for our sons room so he can display his awards, trophy's, etc on the mantle.


    • See 1 previous
    • Kevin Kevin on Apr 01, 2021


      "Frisbee Electric Fireplace Logs" by Red Barrel Studio, Wayfair $167.99 but there is always a deal some kind or discount i suspect you can get a better price.

      Best wishes,