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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26 Fabulous and Easy DIY Projects Round Up

I am so excited to bring you this fabulous and easy DIY Projects Round Up today! After a year as a regular contributor, Michelle James, is moving on to other things. We are incredibly sad. She is an amazing friend, talented blogger, and an inventive DIYer. Today, as a way of saying thank you for all of her many posts, I am presenting a year’s worth of DIY projects created by Michelle James Designs. Thanks, Michelle, we love you!

 

26 Fabulous & Easy DIY Projects

A Year’s Worth of Creativity in One Sensational Round Up!

 

Here are 26 creative DIY projects that you will love. Michelle takes care of your home inside and out with decor and organization. And, she has great seasonal, entertaining, and gift giving ideas too. And I’ve compiled all her posts into this one sensational round up.

Make your guest feel special.

Guest Room:
Guest Room Essentials
Warm & Cozy Guest Room Throw Blankets
Charging Station For Your Guest Room

 

Fall:
Fall Wine Labels & Free Printables

 

Add some personal touches for the holidays.

Christmas:
Holiday Foil Pillow Cover DIY
Holiday Tags – Free Printables
How-To Create A Christmas Topiary

 

Entertain with style!

Entertaining:
DIY Napkin Rings With Beads
DIY Double Tiered Tray
Retro Napkin Holder

 

Organize:
Recipe Card Organization & Free Download
Make A DIY Custom Wire Basket

 

Valentine’s Day:
Easy Valentines Ideas

 

Create unique and lovely home decor.

Home Decor:
Spice Rack To Cool Vase
Painting Mason Jars With Chalk Paint DIY
DIY Wooden Beach Marquee Sign
Framed Seasonal Art
Coordinates Sign DIY
5 Reasons To Love Coffee & Free Printables
Farmhouse Scale Makeover
Farmhouse Style Wood & Metal Vase Decor

 

Outdoor:
DIY Outdoor Lighting From Discount Store Vases
DIY Wooden Garden Sign

 

Bedroom:
Pillow Shams – Easy Peasy

 

Gift Ideas:
Wine & Chocolate Gift Jar
S’mores & Popcorn Camping Gift – DIY

I hope you enjoyed this round up, and will give these amazing projects a try. Be sure to share them, and let me know how they turned out!

 

Find more wonderful and creative DIY ideas at Michelle’s blog, Michelle James Designs. Visit her, and tel her, “Hi!” from me.

 


 

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Solar Lamp DIY – Light Your Outdoor Living Space

Make your summer nights beautiful by creating your own outdoor ambiance with this Solar Lamp DIY project.

 

Solar Lamp DIY

Add Some Style to Your Outdoor Living

 

I have been wanting to make a solar lamp for our backyard patio area for a long time. So, I kept an eye out for the perfect base to accomplish my goal. Luke and I stumbled upon a tall candlestick with a concrete base that we thought would work perfectly.

Gather What You Need:

Since this lamp is tall and will be outside (where you may get a breeze), we needed a heavy base to support the lamp. We found our base on clearance at one of our favorite craft and hobby stores. You could also find a heavy candlestick or lamp base at a thrift store or garage sale.

We picked up a hanging plant basket, a solar yard lamp, and a long screw with a washer to complete our project needs list. Choose a yard lamp and planter basket that fit the proportions of your base stand. We already had a can of black spray paint, some fine-to-medium sandpaper, and a couple pieces of scrap wood. You will also need zip ties, a pair of vice grips, saw, miter box, and a drill.

Make A Plan:

The first step in our project was to assess our components and come up with a plan that would work the best to provide stability and durability. Make sure you measure everything, so you can be sure to have the proper length screw(s), etc. for your project. Having a solid plan helps the work go together faster.

Get Started with the Fitting Process:

We removed the glass candle holder (I used that for something else later). As you can see in the first photo, our glass candleholder sat down inside a metal dish attached to our stand. A second metal piece inside the glass allowed for a screw to hold the glass to the stand. This second piece turned over and fit perfectly over the first piece. We made a wood block to fill the space to give strength and stability to support our yard lamp and planter basket. We marked it with an “X” to find the center for drilling a hole for the screw.

Take the stem off your solar yard lamp. Measure the stub on the lamp that the stem fits over. Then, decide how tall you want your lamp to be with the planter basket shade on it. Once you have the proper height, measure and cut the stem. We used a saw and miter box.

Now, you want to find a scrap of wood that you can cut (and file if needed) to fit snugly inside the stem. This will add strength to your stem to support the weight of the lamp head and planter basket. You want to cut this wood to a length where your screw will go from the top of the wood and screw into the base of your lamp. This screw is what holds the lamp together. Make sure there is plenty of room for the screw head and lamp stub to fit easily into the stem. Drill a hole all the way through the scrap wood (length-wise). Then, shove the wood scrap inside the stem, it should be tight.

Getting the Lampshade Ready:

A wire hanging planter basket makes a great lampshade for your solar lamp (use the coconut liner for another garden basket). The one problem with the basket is the bottom wire supports. They will cut across the solar panel of the lamp. Those wires need to be removed. A pair of vice grips makes this an easy job. Just a little wiggle and jiggle, and you’re done. Watch this quick video:

 

How simple is that?

 

Test Fit:

It is always important to test fit any project. Get the bugs out, and make any tweaks and adjustments that are needed, before you put on the final paint and polish.

Start by making sure your base is ready to add the solar lamp. For us, that meant having the wood block in place inside the metal dish. Then, take the screw, with the washer, and place it through the solar lamp stem. Tighten the screw, attaching it to the base. Notice the wood does not fill the entire stem, so there is room for the screw head and the lamp stub. Place the solar lamp stub into the stem.

Set planter basket upside down on top of the solar lamp, to create a lampshade. Decide where you will need to drill the lamp cap to place zip ties for attaching the lampshade.

Attach the Lampshade:

Since we did not paint the planter basket, we attached the lamp shade to the solar lamp cap. We had a square cap, so we drilled holes on either side of each corner edge, and threaded the zip ties through. We used white for the pictures for you, so they would be easier to see.

Time for Paint:

Rough-up the base and all pieces that need painting with some fine-to-medium sandpaper, so the paint will stick well. Spray in short, even bursts at a distance of about 12 inches. Make sure everything dries thoroughly before assembling the lamp.

You can see that we changed out the white zip ties for black ones for our finished product.

I know you will enjoy this solar lamp as much as we do. It was a fun project to create, and we are getting lots of use out of it. Impress your family and friends!

Looking for another fun idea for outdoor entertaining? Check out my DIY – Bug Umbrellas For Party Drinks!

 

 

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