A fireplace was definitely not our list of “must haves” when we were house shopping. We considered it more of a novelty than anything else. I must admit though, when I walked into our house for the first time my eyes were immediately drawn to the fireplace. It is the first thing that you see when you walk in the house and definitely the focal point of the living room. I loved the look of the brick and the how it provided a natural separation from the kitchen and living room while still maintaining the open feel that I fell in love with.
Although I loved the fireplace, it was missing a mantel. Where was I supposed to hang my Christmas stockings? I knew I wanted a chunky piece of wood that was antique looking and worn to break up the cold brick, but where could I buy a piece of wood that big, how much would it cost, and how would I hang it? I knew there had to be a DIY alternative. I quickly turned to Pinterest for some inspiration and adapted some plans from Addicted 2 Decorating, Designing Vibes, and Shanty 2 Chic.
We took some measurements put together a list and off to Home Depot we went. It took a couple hours to get all the supplies, because who actually sticks to their list? Building the actual mantel took no more than a few hours, cost under 50 dollars, and I couldn’t be happier with the results! I absolutely love how it turned out! It completely changed the look and feel of the fireplace and decorating for every season is now one of my favorites!
Here’s how you can build your own! *Contains Affiliate links
- One 1x8x10 ft. Common Board
- One 1x6x6 ft. Common Board
- One 2x4x8 ft. Pine
- Franklin International 5004 Titebond-2 Premium Wood Glue, 16-Ounce
- Wood Clamps
- 1.25 in. finishing nails for use with nail gun or
- Hammer and finishing nails
- Wood Stain ()
- Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System
- 1.5 in. Kreg Jig Screws
- Three 1x2x4 1/4 in wedge anchors for masonry by Red Head
- Four 2 in. Spax wood screws
- Wood filler
I knew that I wanted the mantel to take up most of the length of the fireplace and I wanted to ensure that it was deep enough to actually put decorations on it. Thus it couldn’t be to thin. The magic length for our fireplace turned out to
be about55 in. long. I decided to go with 8 in. common board for the top and bottom and 6 in. common board for the front. All of the wood was 1 in. thick. *make sure to measure before cutting wood as wood sizes vary.
- Take the 1x8x10 common board and cut 2 pieces that are each about 53.5 long. These will be your top and bottom pieces.
- I wanted to make this look like a solid piece of wood as much as possible so I wanted the front
piece to cover all of the joints. Take the 1x6x6 common board and cut a section that is 55 in. long. I used my miter saw so when
I made this cut I did it at a 45 degree angle to make the joint appear seamless. However, if you don’t have
a miter saw you can still do this with only straight cuts.
- Take what is left from the 1x6x6 common board and cut two 8 in. pieces, these will be your
end caps. I also used my miter saw on these pieces to cut one of the 6 in. sides for each piece at
a 45 degree angle.
- Take the top and bottom pieces and drill 3/4 in pocket holes across one side. Space the holes approximately 12 inches apart from each other.
- Apply a strip of Titebond wood glue to the top and bottom pieces. Place them onto the front piece and connect the pieces using 1.25 in Kreg Jig screws.
- Take your end caps and apply Titebond wood glue to the three
sides. Place the end caps on the end and connect them by using your nail gun and 1.25 inch finishing nails.
- Fill in all of the gaps with wood filler to make them look seamless. Let the filler dry thoroughly, then sand the mantel really well. Sand the joints to make the mantel appear like one solid piece. Using a chain and other odd tools hit the mantel to make it appear distressed.
- Once sanded and distressed take the mantel and apply stain with a rag. Let dry.
How to Hang the Mantel on Brick
- While the mantel is drying you can prepare the bracket which will hold the mantel to the
- Take the 2×4 and cut a
piece approximately 50 in. in length, this will be your backboard. Cut an additional 5 pieces each approximately 6
in. in length, these will be your posts. I chose 50 inches because this was small enough for the mantel fit over without issue but long enough to provide substantial support for the mantel and all of the items that I was looking forward to placing on it.
- Take each of the 6 in. pieces and make two 1.75 in pocket holes on the same side of each piece. Space each of the posts evenly on the backboard mine were just over 8 inches apart. Attach the posts to the backboard using Titebond wood glue and 2.25 in Kreg Jig screws.
- Once complete figure out the center of the fireplace. Use the masonry wedge anchors to attach the backboard to the fireplace. Take the mantel and slide it over the backboard use a couple of 2 in. wood screws to secure the back of the mantel to the backboard.
And there you have it! A custom mantel for less than 50 bucks and a little bit of elbow grease! I love how it looks and it is so fun to decorate!
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