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So I started out showing you how we added some IKEA Billy Bookcases on either side of the fireplace and how we are attempting to make them look built-in.  Then yesterday I showed you how we framed out the fireplace surround and added wood to the fireplace hearth.  Well today we are moving onto the mantel.  I would have loved to find an old piece of reclaimed wood.  But I didn’t have the time or energy to scour the world for what I wanted.  I achieved the same look using new wood.  While this isn’t a solid wood chunky mantel it is a wood mantel.  It is kind of like one of those chocolate bunnies you got in your Easter basket as a child.  You took a bite and realized it was hollow inside.  Did it make it any less yummy?  Nope not one bit.  I still ate every last morsel of that chocolate bunny.  The same is true of this mantel.  It isn’t any less awesome being hollow right?


I ended up using a 3/4” x 20” x 8’ stain grade panel from Lowes.  It is in their lumber department across from the stock lumber.  I picked up two of them at $36.94 each. I loved the grain of this wood in my mudroom lockers that I built because it looks more rustic than regular stock lumber.  So the total cost of the lumber for the mantel was less than $75.  So I ripped two boards to 11 1/4” (one for the top of the mantel and one for the bottom of the mantel).  Then I ripped a 7” board for the front of the mantel.  I cut the 7” board wider than the rest of the boards so that it would stick out past the Billy Bookcases.  If you don’t have a saw Lowes can totally cut them for you.

Then we just built a “U” shape with those boards.  The 7” piece being in front of the 11 1/4” pieces.  To give it some stability we cut several pieces 9” by 5 1/2” (the 5 1/2” cut is to accomodate a 2” x 4” in the back to hold it in place) and nailed them inside the mantel.

how to build a mantel

fireplace mantel how to

fireplace mantel diy

Here my father-in-law is holding the mantel so you can see what it looks like from the back before I stained it.

wood mantel

Once we got this put together I used a large nail and made holes, divots and scratches in the board to make it look older.  I also used a hammer to add some dents.

Once stained you can see how it brings out the imperfections.

rustic wood mantel

DIY fireplace wood mantel

Then I sanded the rough edges and then wiped it clean.  I added Minwax Pre-Wood Conditioner since it was pine.  I wiped that off after 10 minutes and then stained it with Minwax Special Walnut.  Once dry, I wiped it down and gave it 2 coats of Minwax Wipe-On poly (sanding between coats).

While that was drying we added a 2” x 4” to the back of the wall so we could attach the back of the mantel to it.  The bottom would rest on the fireplace surround we built (see yesterday’s post).

adding a wood mantel

Then we started adding stone to the fireplace!  When we got up to where the mantel goes we slipped the mantel in place and then nailed the back in place.  I love how the wood tones tie into the fireplace hearth wood we added.

Sneak peek (and a reflection of my father-in-law tuckered out from helping me all day Haha!)…

stone fireplace with wood mantel

Click here to continue on to read about our AirStone fireplace makeover.

And here are all the posts in this series for easy reference:

Family Room Makeover Part 1: Installing the IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-Ins

Family Room Makeover Part 2: Framing out the Fireplace

Family Room Makeover Part 3: Building a Hollow Rustic Mantel

Family Room Makeover Part 4: AirStone Fireplace Makeover

Family Room Makeover Part 5: Finishing Touches

Family Room Makeover Part 6: Styling the Built-ins


This post was sponsored by Lowes as part of my Lowes Creative Ideas ambassadorship that I have been a part of for the past two years.  All opinions are my own.

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  1. I am BEYOND in love with what you have done here! My husband and I will be attempting later this summer and I have a question. Will you please tell me where all of your TV cords, cable box cords, etc. are hidden?
    Thanks so much!

  2. We ran them all down through our basement and then popped them back up so we could put our cable box on the lower shelf of an end table. I hope that makes sense and would be glad to help more if you need it.

  3. How did you guys manage to get the front of the mantel. did you screw from the front and then hide the holes? I want to do this to my home this is a great idea!

  4. Hi JP, I am glad you like it! If you look at the tutorial, you can see how I attached a 2×4 onto the wall and then slid the u-shaped mantel piece that I built onto it and nailed it in on the back. I hope that helps!

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