Dress Up Your Living Room With A DIY Fireplace Mantel

Grab your tool kit! This fun project from Mobile, Alabama-based Checking In With Chelsea is a fantastic upgrade to any living space. Join Chelsea Lipford Wolf as she helps a friend create an inexpensive fireplace mantel using plywood (and, inspires us to build our own!). This clean, shaker-style mantel instantly modernizes a darker room, and Chelsea's even shared step-by-step instructions of how to recreate this DIY in your own home.


[MUSIC] Hi, I'm Chelsea, welcome to the show. I hope you've got your work gloves handy for this one. I'm over at my friend Sheena's house, and like me she's a blogger and always has a lot of projects going on. But today's project is pretty ambitious. So, I'm here to help her out. And you gotta love a woman who knows what she wants. I wanna build a new mantle. And as much as I love this shelf, Can I get rid of that? Yes. Okay. It's not just my style. It's too curvy. So I just wanna lose it completely and then I wanna build A full mantle with two columns down the side. Okay. About up to this height. So I pulled this picture off of Pinterest. Okay. [CROSSTALK] Style that I want, yep. Okay well it looks like a lot of work, but I think we can handle it. Let me throw a sketch together and then we get started. [MUSIC] Sheena and I settled on this Shaker style that will compliment her decor and simplify the build. Since this is a larger project, we're gonna tackle it in three steps. First, let's remove the old mantle. It's not as heavy as I'd think it'd be. And look, I guess that's what it was mounted to. We can use that for our mantle that we put up. Great. I think We'll measure everything, and then we can start priming the wood. [MUSIC] We're using tinted primer, so we'll only need one top coat. [MUSIC] After the primer dries, we're ready to start cutting parts. We're gonna use a pencil, tape measure, speed square, and a circular saw. [MUSIC] [SOUND] All right, let's lay this out and we can put it together. The next step is assembly. We're putting together the legs first. Then we'll tackle the breast plate and mantel. For this step, we'll need a hammer, nails, speed square, measuring tape, and wood glue. And this will [UNKNOWN] here. And then that little block that you have right there. And this, we can put that in right there, and you kinda get an idea of what it'll look like. What do you think? Looks great. Laying everything out this way will help assure we're assembling the parts correctly. Nailing from the back when possible will reduce the number of nail heads we'll have to putty later. To build these legs, you'll need two 1x2s, one 1x6, three 1x4s, and quarter-inch plywood. [MUSIC] Okay. [MUSIC] Oof, let's do it again. Now we move back outside to tackle the breastplate. It's made from one 1x2, one 1x4 and the same quarter inch plywood as before. All right, so we need to make our breast plate that goes into the center. And then we'll attach that to the legs before we put it up and mount it to the wall. So, let's measure these, and we'll get these cut. We'll use a tape measure, pencil, speed square, circular saw, and a level for our straight edge. I'll mark seven here. Seven down here rule and a level down here to take a straight line and then we will cut it up and then we'll measure it from the same side [BLANK_AUDIO] This mark that's here, right? Yeah. [MUSIC] Okay, let her rule, you used to circle the saw before right? I haven't, actually. Well today is your lucky day, then. We'll just cut one of these. If you wanna pick that up, don't push the button. Okay, I'm doing this. Of course. [MUSIC] Seems like the perfect time to dive right in. All right, so we'll lay the shoe flat on the board. Okay. And we're gonna line the blade up on our mark. Okay. So you want it to be on that side. So hug it, yeah. OKay, all right, so leave it there, don't push it yet. I'm going to **** this up against it. So back the saw up, push the button, and then push it up against the speed square as you go straight. God, cool, got it. Ready? Yeah. [MUSIC] Woo hoo. All right, perfect. Now that Sheena has the hang of the circular saw, and under close supervision of Sebastian, we finished cutting the parts for the breast plate. Now let's put them together. We're gonna use the hammer, nails, wood glue, and our speed square. So if glue comes out like that, you just wipe it with your finger, and that's okay? Yeah, we're gonna be putting caulk in those joints anyway, so. So it really doesn't matter. Yeah. No, perfect right there. Good, all right, okay. Now we're ready for the next step. Now that it is assembled, we can attach the breast plate to the legs. Okay, all right, now it's your turn, okay. Do the top first? Do the bottom. Now you're showing off. [LAUGH] That one would have been a lot easier for you. So there is a space here. [MUSIC] The nail should close it up. Alright you guys stand back over there and I'll put it up and you can see what it looks like. Awesome. Is that what you envisioned? It's coming together. All right, now we can mount it. After a successful test bit, we add the two by six nailers to the face of the fire place. Then we can finish the bottom by adding the sides to the leg. All right, ready to put it up there? Yep. We can nail it in place. Think your husband's gonna be impressed with your carpentry skills? [LAUGH] [LAUGH] Very impressed. Is he gonna believe that you did it? Maybe he'll let me use his tools. We have video proof that you can handle it. Yeah. All right, let's- Time for the mantle, it's made of two 1x8s, and one 1x2. [MUSIC] To attach it, we'll need a tape measure, hammer, nails and our wood glue. All right, that's three inches. Scoot it to the right a tad. That's good. [MUSIC] [SOUND] [MUSIC] That run up, cuts, can't fix on my side. Okay good. After nailing the top piece of the mantel, we attach this band, along the edge, to make it look like one piece. We made minor cuts at the corners, for nice finished look. [MUSIC] Now we cut our trail from the bottom. We will be painting it at no time. [MUSIC] Finally, we start the finishing details. We're gonna use a hammer, a nail set, caulk, putty, and sand paper. We'll start with sanding the entire surface. I would have never known to do this. A little extra time ensures the paint will stick and the finished product will look awesome. We're gonna set all the nail heads below the surface, using a hammer and nail set. Then caulk all the joints in putty on the nail holes. [MUSIC] Wiping the caulk with a damp sponge will make it smooth and minimize the clean up. What I love about building something myself is making it exactly the way I want it, just like this. I love your idea of hiding the cords in this, now we just have to execute it. I think, you know we have we left a hole here so now we just need a place for the cords to come out at the bottom. So we can use this whole saw that's attached to the drill. We're using an inch and a half hole saw, so there's plenty of room for wires to pass through. Sheena doesn't like the look of those TV wires and running them behind the bricks is too hard. There we go, perfect. We're adding a strip of Velcro to make sure the panel stays in place. Hiding the cables behind the mantel is an easy solution that's gonna work great. [SOUND] Like a glove. Okay, what do you think. Does it look like the picture you imagined? It looks so good. It looks the same and it looks different. It looks like our own custom rendition of that in the picture. It's definitely customized. Mm-hm. Well, all we have to do is the last step, get it painted. The paint we're using has zero VOCs, so it's okay to use while the kids are around. [BLANK_AUDIO] Sheena, I'm impressed. You've used this tray for a lot of paint projects. Yeah, it's a little art project in itself. You can keep your memories of your Paint projects. [LAUGH] I love this color. Hopefully it looks good on your mantle! [LAUGH] If not, you can repaint it! [LAUGH] The great thing about paint. You want to cut in around the bricks? Or I guess, you can do that half and I can do this half? Or what? Sure. [MUSIC] When painting large flat surfaces, I like to end with long brush strokes for a smooth finish. [MUSIC] Our mantel project turned out great. And while it's larger than something I typically do. You can see that it's a manageable project with a little help and a little patience. Okay, Sheena. I never would have thought to put a mantel on a brick fireplace like that. But it turned out really good. I love it. It looks really good. It looks like it's been here since the house was built. Nice clean lines, and looks really good. Then I think we did a good job. [BLANK_AUDIO]
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