Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

This post, Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Prep4Gathering #CollectiveBias

Hello! I am super excited about today’s post. Finally, I’m crossing off a long-awaited project from my wish list. And it is all part of my preparation for the family gatherings over the holidays. I know you have all heard of spring cleaning, but I dig even deeper in the fall.

I love to decorate for the holidays and have a home that is festive and cozy for family and friends to stop in for a visit or a party. Before I start decorating, a clean house is a must.  But it is not just my living spaces that need to be in tip-top shape, it is my kitchen and bathrooms too. With a house filled to the brim with family, you can’t leave a nook or cranny uncleaned, because you just know that great-aunt Bessie will point out the spot you missed. So, I make sure I stock up on great cleaning supplies like Pledge® Spray products, Scrubbing Bubbles® products, and Windex® Outdoor Cleaner. They get the job done and make easy work of it too.

Another way I ready my home for holiday parties, is with some sort of project to freshen up the decor, or make a home improvement. Last year it was new valances; this year, it is my mantel makeover.

We have a pretty stone-faced fireplace in our home, but for some reason, it has (or had) a tiny little mantel that was good for almost nothing. So, today, I am going to show you how we transformed that ugly hunk of wood into a mantel that makes a statement.

Mantel Makeover

An Easy DIY Home Improvement Project

The old so-called-mantel looked like somebody shoved a 2″ x 4″ atop the stones and gave it excessively thick coats of paint. It certainly did not become the crowning glory of the fireplace. But, with a few supplies from The Home Depot, some simple tools, and a minimal budget, my dreams came true. And just in time to decorate for the holidays too!

Tools and Supplies:

  • Lumber
  • Crown Moulding (or another type of moulding or trim)
  • Miter Box and Miter Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Scraper
  • Measuring  Tape
  • Moulding Adhesive
  • Screws and Finish Nails (or a type of liquid nails)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Sand Paper
  • Putty
  • Paint or Stain

DIY Mantel Makeover How-To:

  • Remove old trim and get down to the mantel wood that you will use as your base.
  • Check the level of your starting mantel, so you know what you need to do to make your new mantel square and level.

  • Attach spacer boards if needed to make the mantel wider or deeper.
  • You can see above, we used a 2″ x 4″ as a spacer, and also 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ milled common pine pieces as the backer. These boards made our mantel larger and were the width size of the moulding we chose.
  • Attach the backer to the spacer. We drilled pilot holes and used screws to keep the wood from splitting. We also floated those boards to make our mantel level and square, since the old mantel was not. Squaring these pieces is easier for moulding placement.
  • Attach the top mantel board using three counter-sunk screws and some finish nails into the old mantel wood. Be sure to use a nail set to push them down below the surface, so you do not dimple your mantel shelf.

  • Carefully measure and cut moulding, one piece at a time. Test fit. Make sure you measure EACH individual piece, as dimensions will most likely differ due to wavy walls, etc. Our mouldings all fit square, so we cut 45-degree angles to make a square corner.
  • Once satisfied with the fit, we used a 10-minute moulding adhesive to glue our moulding pieces to the backer boards and top mantel board. We chose a water-based adhesive for easy clean-up. Use Painter’s Tape to hold mouldings in place while they dry.
  • Clean excess adhesive with a scraper and a damp paper towel. If you do this right away it is easier than trying to do it after it dries.
  • We had two separate mouldings, a 3-1/2″ moulding on the lower part of the mantle covering the backer boards, and a 3/4″ moulding trim to edge the top mantel board. If you have access to a router, you could always route your own details.

  • Putty the screw and nail holes, so there are no divots in the shelf surface.
  • Once putty and moulding adhesive are dry, sand smooth.
  • Prime and paint, or stain.

A Few Tips:

  • Buy DRY wood, not wet. It will help prevent warping and twisting. You can tell the difference between wet and dry wood by color and weight. Dry wood will be lighter in color and lighter in weight. Wet wood is darker and heavier.

  • Cut the pieces to an approximate length and sand all pieces before putting it together. Try your best to avoid cutting through any knots in the wood.
  • Moulding adhesive allows you wiggle room to adjust placement before it sets.
  • You could use a type of liquid nails to float the entire mantel to level instead of screws or nails if your starting base has the dimensions you want.

If you have a larger size mantel, you may not want or need the 2″ x 4″ spacer that we used. The contractor for our mantel must have gnawed out the wood using a beaver and an ax, and apparently didn’t own a level either.

Now, onto the really fun part, the decorating! Since I am preparing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the family gatherings that go along with them, I wanted something festive with a seasonal scent — the Glade® Apple Cinnamon Candle is perfect. It smells like hot apple cider on the stovetop, and the color is gorgeous too.

I picked up my candle at The Home Depot while we were gathering our supplies for the mantel project. I also grabbed the Pledge® Multisurface – Antibacterial. Won’t that come in handy for turkey day! It gently cleans your kitchen countertops. You can never be too safe with those raw turkey juices and the messes you know will happen. I use Windex® Original Glass Cleaner all the time for mirrors, windows, and vinyl blinds, and I was excited to try the Windex® Outdoor Cleaner — amazing! The outside windows are always so much harder to clean, and this product is made specifically for this grimy job. The Home Depot and SC Johnson have made prepping for the holidays a snap. With the right supplies, it is always easier to get your sense of humor on and be prepared to entertain your family and friends.

I know my guest will be comfortable in my clean home, and I am excited for them to see my beautiful fireplace. Just look how pretty my new mantel turned out, and it cost me less than $50. I am so pleased!

So here’s to family gatherings for the holidays! Remember to feel joy, laugh a lot, and be prepared for life’s little messes. #Prep4Gathering







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