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.
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.
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