Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mantle made easy!

I thought I'd share this easy little project that we did when we started re-doing the fireplace. Excuse me for any incomplete thoughts, as I've locked Elvis up in his kennel and he is steadily barking away in hopes of sudden freedom.

We had a very nice mantle to begin with. However, it just wasn't what we wanted.

It was too small, not the right color, blah-di-blah.

So Kennedy and I decided we would make our own. We like the look of reclaimed wood, but honestly, where can I find reclaimed railroad ties to build a mantle out of? I've scoured the internet for local reclaimed wood places, but couldn't find any that weren't selling it in bulk. Noooooo thanks!

All that to say, we decided to distress our own wood to make it look old. It was a fun process.

First, we got some 1x8 pieces of wood. We only needed two 6ft pieces (or was it 8ft?).

Then, we got some tools. Hammers, nails, screws, and some gravel.

Here is my darling dear husband with two hands full of gravel. We laid the wood pieces down on top of the gravel, then jumped around on it. The wood was soft enough that the gravel scratched and dented it up. We also scraped screws and hammers across the surface.

Next, we cut the wood down to size. In our case, we measured where the mantle could "wrap" around the fireplace brick to cover the sides.

Here it is in phase one. You can't tell in the picture, but the corners were cut at 45 degree angles so they could meet pretty seamlessly.

Then we added a top piece.

This took a couple of tries to get the wood cut to fit exactly. It involved putting it together, realizing the piece was a hair too long, taking it apart, cutting it, re-putting it together....

You get the idea. It was frustrating.

Then, we took some ebony stain, and stained that sucker.

We applied a few coats, then it was done! Ready to hang!

I won't bore you with details, but basically we attached a 1x1 piece of wood to the brick using masonry screws. Then we set the mantle on that piece of wood and screwed it in. Easy!

See? It was so easy, Kennedy yawned while screwing it in.

Hope that was helpful! Now go forth and build new fireplace mantles for yourselves!

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