I’ve posted our DIY fireplace mantle several weeks ago, but I thought it would be fun to see where we started and share some detail pictures as well. Last year, shortly after we moved in, I sprayed the gold on the fire screen black with a high heat spray paint. Then I lightened our brick with a faux german schmear which was basically dry brushing the brick with paint. I still think I’m going to do a real german schmear with plaster but for now the faux works.
For the mantle, we used two premium pine 1x6x8 boards and we did an inch overhang on either side of our fireplace which left us with a mantle just over 6ft. We used premium because we’ve had some problems with the cheaper (select) wood warping because our local improvement stores always have wood with a high moisture content. I actually liked the select wood for this project because it has knots and I wanted it rustic but we rather not have a wonky mantle, haha. Even with going with the premium grade wood, we still were at around $20 for this mantle. I say that’s a win!
We used the cut pieces for the end caps. If you miter the edges it will look more like a solid beam, but again, I like the rustic look of seeing the raw cut edges. Because the premium wood is so smooth and perfect, I got to take my aggression out on it and bang it up a little. Ha, take that wood!
I took a hammer to it, wire brush, hit it with a chain, and made my favorite little divots by chiseling with a flathead screwdriver and hammer. I love how it turned out! I then finished the piece with Varathane Early American stain lightly, but make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies I created, and rubbed off right away. Topping it with Varathane Gray and wiping it off immediately after. Oh and I should also add that I always condition my wood before staining with Minwax Pre-Stain wood conditioner, it makes the world of difference in the consistency of your staining.
Wood automatically warms up a space and when something is made by us in our home, it warms my heart too. I love our handmade items and they tend to stick around compared to the store bought that I eventually get sick of and sell off. This little project goes to show that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a house a home. If you show your house love, it will love you back, and we love our little home.