While designing our house, one of the things that got the axe was our fireplace. It was competing for wall space with the gazillion windows and French doors I had planned, and my husband didn’t want to hang the tv high over a fireplace. He didn’t ask for much, so I conceded. All in all, it’s not a huge deal, but coming from a home with 3 fireplaces, I was suddenly longing for mantels to decorate. It got even worse at Christmas when I had no place to hang stockings. And then last Christmas, my mom made these beautiful stockings at my request, and I knew they needed a special spot. Enter these faux mantel plans from Ana White. I knew I could easily make one and give us a place for our Christmas decor, and I could make it movable so that I could move it when we took down our Christmas decorations. Truth be told, it’s been sitting there since last Christmas!
The one thing I struggled with was the hearth. I wanted to cover it up, because I didn’t want it to look too fake with a wall showing through, but then what could I cover it with so that it didn’t look too cheesy?;) I found lots of great ideas, such as a log insert. I still love the idea, but I wasn’t sure how well I could execute it. I then saw this herringbone design, and I loved the vibe it brought. So in the center, I tacked on a piece of luan and painted it black so it would disappear behind any cracks/mistakes in the herringbone (details on that here!)
44″ w x 51″ h x 5 1/2″ d
2 4×4 @ 48″ – outer legs
1 2×4 @ 42 1/2″ – support under mantel
1 2×6 @ 46″ – mantel
2 2×4 @ 36 3/4″ – interior legs
2 1×2 @ 35 1/2″ – face
2 1×2 @ 8 1/4″ – face trim
1 1×12 @ 35 1/2″ – face trim
Piece of plywood (optional) ~ 30×38
Note: The 2×6 mantel is rather narrow. I have since added a 2×8 on top of the 2×6.
To allow my piece to lay flush against the wall, I notched out the bottom of the 4×4 legs to allow room for my baseboard. I then inset the face and 2×4 supports by 1/2″. If you do not wish to do to that, you may simply attach the 4×4 legs flush to the back of the piece.
- Begin by trimming out the 1×12 face with the 1×2 trim. The trim should be flush to the outside edges of the 1×12. Attach the 1x2s to the 1×12 with wood glue and nails through the back of the 1×12 into the 1x2s.
- Flip the face upside down. Attach the 2×4 interior legs to the face as shown below using pocket screws from the 1×12 into the 2×4.
- Attach 4×4 legs to the outside of the interior legs. Drill halfway into the 4×4 with a bit fitted to the screw head. Drill the remaining way with a bit fitted for the screw shaft. The interior legs and face are inset 1/2″ from the back of the 4×4 to allow for the baseboard.
- Attach the 2×4 mantel support to the top of the piece using screws and glue.
- Attach the 2×6 mantel to the 2×4 mantel support using screws and glue.
- Attach the plywood to the back with nails and glue.
Note: The 2×6 mantel is not deep. I wanted to be sure it didn’t project out too much. I’ve since added a 2×8 on top of the 2×6 mantel.