How to build a Faux Wood Mantle for $20

How to build a faux wood mantle for $20

For years I have been wanting to update our fireplace and it first started with a whitewash then limewashing it (blog post coming soon).  However even after doing that it still felt blah!  Since the brick is tiered I couldn’t fully encase it, but I could build a faux wood mantle that would rest on top.

Here is what it looked like before



The top of the brick mantle measures about 7.5 inches which is perfect because the actual lumber measurements are a little smaller than the size it’s listed as and I wouldn’t have to worry about ripping it. I headed to Lowes and picked up a piece of Common wood 2-in x 8-in x 8-ft;  Actually: 1.5-in x 7.25-in x 8-ft) for $8.00.  This is used primarily for framing homes and I cut it to the length I needed.  If you don’t have a saw either Lowes or Home Depot will cut it for you.   Why Common wood and not a quality wood like Cedar or Maple?  Because there are certain stains colors I like to use and I know exactly what they look like on Common wood.




For the face of the mantle, I used Common Whitewood 1-in x 6-in x 8ft; Actual: 0.75-in x 5.5-in x 8-ft.  It has a smoother surface than Common wood and generally has more natural detail to it.

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 4.34.39 PM

Faux Wood Mantle: Staining

My go-to stain colors in this order are Minwax Dark Walnut, Special Walnut, and Jacobean.  I tested the colors on the side of the wood that was not visible.  Dark Walnut was too dark, Special Walnut looked really dated and Jacobean was perfect!  I only used 1 coat and once that was dry I sealed it with two coats of Minwax Polyurethane in Clear Satin.

Faux Wood Mantle: Putting it all together

I made sure to cut the top piece longer than the fireplace so I had room to add the end caps and secured them with a nail gun.  You can also use L-Brackets but the nail holes are barely visible and once you fill them with wood putty you cannot even tell.



With the assistance of my youngest son, I attached the Whitewood to the face of the fireplace







On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this at a difficulty of 2. It was really easy to do, did not take a lot of time and completely transformed the look of the fireplace.

faux wood mantle

Source List

Artificial Olive Branches-Ballard Designs

Bookends and glass lantern-Decor Steals

Clock and jute lantern-Pier 1 imports

Milk Can and black wood sign on shutters-Pickens & Pallets on Facebook

Botanical 20″ Pillow covers in (I have the Boxwood, Eucalyptus and the Succulent) and scotch guarded them well! I love the botanical pillow covers and have them in other rooms of my house that you can see here and here.

Gingham Pillow Covers 20″-Ballard Designs

Maui Jute Rug in

Wall Ladder-home made

Buffalo Check Pillow Cover-Amazon


  • Vida

    Thank you for posting this. I wasn’t sure what wood to buy as I am currently doing the same project. I’ll be picking the same wood as yours turned out lovely. Thanks!

    • thefauxfarmhouse

      Hi Vida! I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to be able to build it so I went with the least expensive wood (Common Wood) from Lowes. Make sure you lay the wood flat on the ground before you buy it to make sure it’s straight. I had a little trouble lining mine up perfectly on one of the sides but it’s hidden and doesn’t bother me 🙂

    • thefauxfarmhouse

      Hi Nancy! I did not attach it. The faux beam just sits right on top of the brick. The brick mantle ledge is 7” wide so that is enough space that I don’t have to worry about if falling off/tipping forward. However I would never place anything large on it like a mirror leaning like so many do in fear that it could fall off.

  • Tina

    I love everything about this fireplace update! I am curious about the finish on the brick. Did you DIY it, or have it done professionally? I would love to redo my 1970’s red brick.

    • thefauxfarmhouse

      Thank you! This one here is a DIY whitewash. It was not as light as it shows here in the pic since it’s edited

      If you look at my Instagram account you will see a more updated pic where I used a Valspar Limewash from Lowes and I like it much better

  • Joanne Catzin

    Hi. I understand you did not attach the mantle to the brick, but if you had to (as I do) how would you do it?

    • thefauxfarmhouse

      I believe they make special Masonry screws that go into brick or the mortar. I would use google to see what you are able to find. I was lucky enough to already have the brick mantel for it it rest on.

    • Cristina

      I wish!!! It’s a Whitefield Pellet Stove. We installed a heat pump system this last summer as our main heat source and I would like to replace the pellet stove with an electric stove (we don’t have gas in our area).

      If the power goes out we can still use a generator to make the stove run and it will heat the entire house. That would not be the case with an electric stove. I think the most they can hear is 400sq ft

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