We wanted a fireplace mantel surround that resembled stone or a cast stone European style fireplace, but without the price! See how we built our new mantel area for the living room focal point.
*This post is sponsored by Kreg Jig, to bring awareness to their new digital learning platform called Kreg Academy. Be sure to check it out! I’m grateful to this wonderful company for helping me bring you this content.
WATCH THIS POST
Get more details from Mr. TIDBITS himself, as he explains his process for building this mantel piece.
Our old wood mantel that we put in our home 3 years ago has always been off for me. I bought it before this room was even complete and I thought it was perfect for the French Farmhouse style that I thought was going to be the main vibe of this home.
As styles do, mine has changed and adapted as we have worked on each room in this new home. I tend to lean now more towards an Old World European vibe, and the raw wood texture of that mantel wasn’t working well for this space.
I continually dreamt up one day finding an old stone mantel or even buying a cast stone – but the dream surround never showed up in a price I was willing to pay. They average from $3000-$4000, and we have way more priorities in this house than spending that much on a fireplace surround!
I finally had the thought to just see what we could build out of wood, to get us the same look. I didn’t necessarily want to “fake it” to make it, but I did hope we could achieve a look better than what was there, for a fraction of the cost.
In the end, we think we spent less than $200 on this new mantel, that was still even cheaper than the original wood one I had bought.
After looking over my pinterest board, Mr. TIDBITS sketched up a plan for what he thought he could build for us, and we put our minds together to figure out how to make it happen.
I really enjoyed watching the hubs figure out how to build this project. It amazed me that he could just go out to the garage, play around, try things, and put scraps of wood together to configure this better-than-my-original-plan fireplace surround.
He has really had to learn woodworking this way – with lots of trial and error and just digging in. He is so skilled now, and I love watching him create!
If you feel a desire or know someone who would like to learn more about building and woodworking, I highly recommend you take a look at Kreg Academy. Their new Foundations of Building Series has everything you need to learn the basics of building and will fast track your skills so you can also design and build with confidence what you would like for your home and family. I’m so excited Kreg now offers this platform and I hope you’ll take a look!
PROCESS FOR BUILDING A DIY FIREPLACE SURROUND AND MANTEL PIECE
This isn’t going to be a step by step tutorial, per se, but I grabbed what images I could of Kevin while he built this and hope it will help by seeing his process. If you need even more details, the video I recorded above does a better job with him explaining his process.
Kevin brought in wood and freehanded a curve for the legs, and took it out to the shop to refine the shape a bit better. Once we took a look and thought it through he went ahead and cut the pieces out.
He used 1×8 boards for the frame and a 2×10 for the top. He used ¼ sheetrock and ¼ inch particle board for the curved portions.
He wanted to hide as many screws as he could to make a smoother finish in the end, so he used Kreg’s new pocket hole jig to prep holes for the final assembly.
He assembled the legs together with wood glue, clamps and screws.
He cut out the curved piece for the top, applied crown molding and the top mantel board. It was looking and fitting good at this point!
After everything was built he used an all purpose joint compound to cover all the wood surfaces and gave it the smooth rounded look that we were looking for. He made sure to caulk all the joints beforehand so the joint compound wouldn’t crack as things moved over time.
FINISHING OUR DIY FIREPLACE MANTEL SURROUND
To finish it off, I wanted to try what we already had on hand, to see if I could get the faux stone look I was hoping for. We used Pure & Originals Fresco Lime wash paint that I had left over from our kids room, in the color Coffee Cream.
I thought it would make for a nice warm white to coordinate and contrast with the textured Roman clay or Marrakech paint that is on the wall. I’ve got a post all about that paint, if you want to learn more.
Once Kevin primed and painted on the Fresco paint, and I was completely happy with the color and texture.
I love the curves we added. This room, or house even, is pretty boxy so I’m always looking for ways to add some curves to each space.
I think it goes great with the travertine tiles that he installed inside the faux fireplace. We’ve got this set up to someday be able to put in an electric fireplace or even wood burning if we wanted to, but for now, I feel like we’ve finally nailed the look we want for this room. I’m excited to decorate the mantel for all the Holidays.
While I have you in my living room, I’ll show you some of the “pre Holiday” decor I placed up since we will host Thanksgiving.
I didn’t want to go overboard “Christmas” just yet, but wanted it to feel slightly festive so I added touches of green and red on our 100 year old piano that I got for free.
Now that this space feels better to me, I’m thinking it is time to finish off the Frame TV with one of those fancy frames – but we will see if that becomes a priority!
Thanks so much for joining me today! I had fun showing you our most recent house project! I’d love to hear if you like the new look, or the old one.