We Lived Happily Ever After: DIY Rustic Chippy Faux Fireplace Mantel

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DIY Rustic Chippy Faux Fireplace Mantel


Hey! I can't believe I am finally sharing my DIY fireplace with you guys! It feels like forever ago since I started building it.


I thought it would be an appropriate tutorial to share since I just shared my Holiday Master Bedroom.


I am just in love with how it turned out, and now I think every house deserves it's own fireplace. Real or fake!




Right after Hurricane Matthew hit us, it was kind of cold over here on the coast... and I was craving cozy things. So I started playing with the scrap wood in our garage and started building a fireplace frame. It was kinda crazy, but I was like, "It will either be AMAZING or terrible."

I built the "pillars" out of 2x4's, and most of the front is shelving boards with some pallets. This is it picture from behind so you can get a look at the basic structure.


Once I had the front of the mantle assembled, I brought it outside and used Amy Howard's Better With Age to bring out the natural oxidization of the wood. The more tannins in the wood (oak) the more it changes color. So each piece of wood will turn out a little differently depending on the type of wood it is.


After 2-3 rounds of Better With Age, I was seriously tempted to keep it in it's raw glory... buy you all know that anything in my house is destined to become white at some point, right? Lol! And the aged wood would still show through with the chippy milk paint plans I had for this piece.


At this point, we needed to anchor it to the wall. I should have finished painting it outside first, but I wanted to see it as a whole piece before committing to painting it or not. 

Silas screwed a 2x4 into the wall, and built a secondary frame around it. This allowed us to secure the whole piece to the studs in the wall. It was a very similar process to my Mantel Shelf. You just want to make sure a piece this heavy is not going anywhere.

After he created the second frame, we screwed the rest of the mantle to the anchored boards. It will be easy enough to take off when we move someday. Some disassembly required. :)


Next we added a false back made of pallets to the opening. Jason wanted to help his Daddy build. :)


Here's what it looked like once the back was in.


I was planning on using milk paint on this piece, but I wanted it to have a chippy texture. So in order to prevent the paint from soaking into the raw wood too much, I used some Cracked Gesso to give it an authentic antique texture. 


Make sure to mix (and refrigerate) it the night before you use it. Then let it become room temperature & strain out any foam with a cheese cloth.


Once it's dry, lightly sand it until it starts turning white.


Next I got out the Milk Paint. The color I used was Strasbourg White.


I had to do several coats, letting it dry completely in-between layers.


Here it is after the first coat.


I think I did like 3 coats completely. Once it was dry and solid looking, I waited for it to star chipping. Haha! I couldn't wait! To my dismay, it bonded a little too well with the wood, so I had to get my scraper (putty knife) out and manually rub it in the areas I wanted distressed. This part it my favorite. I love going over the edges, and imagining where real authentic pieces would have wear and tear.

My husband isn't as in love with the chippy paint look, so I didn't go too crazy with my distressing. 


Now my room actually feels complete! I wish it was a real wood burning fireplace, as I miss our old wood stove from our newly married cabin days, but this one looks the part.


So there you have it.  Check back soon for more holiday tutorials coming to a blog near you!

See more of my Holiday Series Below:

I was provided paint & supplies for this post in exchange for using them in a project. This post included affiliate links, but I only share things that I LOVE & think you will too. :)



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