Want to create the look of a built-in fireplace? Here a step-by-step project on how to create a faux fireplace surround for your mantel.
Did you hear that? I think I literally heard the house laughing.
It’s giggling and making plans for a party with figs and cheese and wine from the vineyards.
The prodigal mantel that once was discarded has now returned home.
See this mantel in this picture?
Wait until you see what it looked like when it showed up.
A little bedraggled. A little sad. A little tired and worn.
And then? I went all Statue of Liberty on it and welcomed it home.
Here’s how to rescue a mantel and how to build a faux fireplace surround.
Here’s what the mantel looked like when it showed up.
Or. Wait. I think I have a picture of the before before.
Where it all started.
I found it.
Here’s where the mantel’s journey began.
It was in the upstairs bedroom and I needed to move it to put the bed on the wall where it was.
And when we took it off the wall it kind of fell apart.
Pieces of the mantel unattached themselves and pieces of tile unattached themselves and the mantel looked like a shell of it’s former glory.
We reattached the wood and took off the remaining tile and retiled the inside surround.
And it looked fine.
It looked sufficient.
But it never really looked built-in.
It never really looked like it belonged at the party. It reminded me of a wallflower standing against the wall (or in the mantel’s case it was more like leaning) waiting for someone to ask it to dance.
It’s the belle of the ball.
It’s built-in now.
It’s custom looking.
It looks like it’s always been there.
Now I get it.
Before you e-mail me to tell me that is a lot of white—I understand it. I see the white, too and I have some other plans for it that will add some color. I was craving a little simplicty for summer—but there are color days ahead.
I was so excited about how it turned out that I wanted to start with sharing how we built-it in.
And the best part?
It was so much simpler than it looks.
Here’s how to build a faux fireplace surround.
how to build a faux fireplace surround
1″x 5″ pine boards
1″ x 4″ pine boards
Step 1: attach the mantel to the wall
You want to secure the mantel to the wall before you begin building a faux surround.
Our walls are shiplap underneath the paneling, so we just simply screwed the mantel into the wall.
Step 2: Cut a piece of plywood
We cut our plywood to extend from the ceiling to the top of the mantel.
The plywood was the exact width of the top of the mantel.
If there are a few small gaps when you do this—no worries—you can caulk in the gaps later.
We nailed the plywood into the wall.
Step 3: frame out the edge of the mantel
We knew that we wouldn’t be adding crown molding to the top because there was already existing molding that extended down with a 1″ x 4″ board.
First, we framed out the edges of the entire fireplace with 1″ x 5″ boards.
You can see the board here running the entire length of the mantel and plywood on top of the mantel.
Step 4: add a frame to the top of the mantel
Next, we framed the plywood out the space over the mantel with 1″x 4″ pine boards.
We did not miter the edges of the boards to build the frame.
You can see here how the boards abut each other without mitering.
We cut the horizontal boards first and then added another shorter vertical board to complete the frame.
Step 5: add the bead molding
To match the rest of the mantel, we added this bead molding inside the frame.
We did miter this molding to give it a custom look.
We inset the molding into the edge of the frame.
Step 6: Cover the hole in the top
There was a hole in the top of the mantel from an old electrical outlet.
We just added a board to the top of the mantel to hide it.
Step 6: caulk and paint
Caulk is your friend.
It makes the entire project look custom and built in and glazes over any mistakes that you might make along the way.
We painted the mantel and surround SW Extra White.
I love how it turned out.
I love how it fits in with the rest of the family room.
The entire project took us a day from start to two coats of paint.
And the house and I are so happy….
….that the prodigal mantel has come home.
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