HOW TO MAKE A DIY WOOD MANTEL

I know it’s (pre) spring, but now is the time to think ahead to next fall and the warmth of a fireplace! Recently, my husband, and I took advantage of a rainy weekend and built a wood mantel for under $75. It transformed our fireplace and

And, on a weekend.

My plan to figure out how to build a wood mantel began in my childhood. I remember the prep involved with a wood-burning fire.

My dad fanned the flames (literally) while my mom added pinecone firestarters to give the smolder a little more kick.

And, for 32 minutes, we enjoyed a wood-burning fire. Looking back, it was no surprise our family was one of the first on the block to convert our wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace.

One of the reasons we bought our brownstone in the suburbs home was it came with a finished lower level (basement). And, it had a dual-sided fireplace.

Dual-sided fireplaces were like a two-for-one. We got the benefit of one fireplace on both sides of two rooms.

HOW TO MAKE A MANTEL IN A WEEKEND

How to Make a Wood Mantel | Before

This is a rough image of the original fireplace and mantel. The white mantel and tile were not the vibe we were going for in our Colorado basement. Not to mention this design screamed a 2002 builder-grade fireplace.

But, the bones of the fireplace and surrounding builtins were solid.

It just needed an update. You can see the before and after of the fireplace tile squares to this stacked stone fireplace update.

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With the resurfaced stacked stone front, my attention went to the fireplace mantel. This drives my husband crazy because I am always one project ahead of him.

The white mantel was too fancy for the space. I wanted a wood mantel but not too rustic. Living in Colorado we have to tone down the log cabin and bear images that come to mind of those, not from Colorado.  #wink 

The only problem with a dual fireplace is it’s best when both sides match. So when we updated one side we made a duplicate fireplace mantel on the opposite side. We did the same process when we replaced the tiles with stacked stone. And when I updated my college boys’ rooms.

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The coolest part of this mantel was the trip to a specialty lumber store.***  My husband loves this kind of thing so he took the lead to find the knotty alder wood. 

DIY FIREPLACE MANTEL

We searched multiple ways to attach the mantel.

We started here and Googled our way around the how-to details.

WOOD MANTEL SUPPLIES

  • Knotty Alder Wood 1×8′
  • Furring Strips
  • We built the mantel to resemble a 3 sided box with the back open to make it easy to attach above the fireplace.
EASY DIY TO BUILD A FIREPLACE MANTEL
  • We used 1x8x3 for the three sides of the box.
  • We used the furring strips to create smaller wood blocks to nail the pieces together  (from the open-ended backside).
  • Short finishing nails so the nails would not pop through the front.
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MANTEL INSTALL DETAILS

  • Use a 2×4 (shorter by 5″ on each side of the mantel’s length and then attach this wood to the studs.
  • The finished mantel attaches to the 2×4 (because the opposite side of the mantel’s face is open)
  • This makes for a much easier installation with an open back side.
  • Finish with making pilot holes on the top of the mantel and then screw into the 2×4.
  • We finished with Jacobean stain (my fav)

I would love if you pinned one of these images. If you like one-hour projects I would ask you to join my Saturday-only newsletter called the Weekend Edit- an easy-breezy read over a cup of coffee or tea. You can sign up here.

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4 Comments

  1. That’s brilliant that you made a box so it would be easy to hang! I’m always worried about how to hang heavy beams like that! You are such an inspiration and love your new blog title!

    Happy day!
    karianne

  2. wow, you rocked this! We have a fireplace and it rarely gets used. But I love decorating the mantel. xo

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