- A quick decorative fireplace made out of corrugated cardboard
Just for fun
We moved house to a new build house which is much warmer, but as with most newer properties does not have a fireplace. We missed having one, especially now at Christmas.
New houses have quite boring rooms so one with a bit of character would be nice. The tree helped but it was not enough. Putting nails in the walls for lights etc was ok in the old house but not in pristine new plaster. So a non fixed fireplace seemed the perfect answer.
We saw this site showing amazing Christmas fireplaces, here.
Having seen the price of an
arched one like on the site above I decided to make one out of cardboard, especially as it was probably only going to be temporary anyway.
The corrugated card I used was free from a local card supply business. They had a batch with light damage on the corners so I was told that I could help myself.
Step 1: Construction
The card size was 44 x 51 inches. If I had needed to I could have hot glued smaller section together say from a cardboard box or two, it still works.
I used a pencil and string to make the semi circles and cut the shapes out with a craft knife. It's worth putting in a new blade. Corrugated card tears easily where the corrugations are in the same direction as the cut.
Don't forget to put something under the card that will not matter if it gets damaged, or that will blunt the blade. The knife should cut easily. Don't try to go through in one go, it works better in a few goes and your knife will follow the path of the first cut, if you are careful.
I was lucky in that I guessed the sizes of my fireplace and they worked. It's not too big or too small for the room. You may have to change the scale to suit your room. I saw my first one as a prototype and so I was prepared for some adjustments, after all its only card. So I was a little surprised when I got it right in one go.
Step 2: Some Details
The arc size for the half
circle is 33 inches in diameter. The arc starts 8 inches above the base
The height of the mid section is 36 inches depth is 10 inches
The base is 21 inches deep x 3 inches high
The top shelf depth is 10 inches, its height is 2 inches
The whole thing was made in three sections. The base, the arched part and the top shelf. Then it was hot glued together, adding braces where it seemed necessary. You can see all of the ones I added, I could have gone further but I wanted it in place and decorated.
Being made of cardboard meant that we could try the fireplace in lots of places to see how it looks and feels. Although made as a sort of joke everyone seems to like it. This means that I can now one day make one in wood or plaster board, confident that it works where it is going and is the right scale for the room it is going into.
Step 3: Gluing and Stability
Use cardboard that is 2 layer. When folding the card crease it first with a blunt edge like the handle of a spoon. A piece of wood put along where you intend the crease to go will help it follow your line. The cardboard can be fixed together quickly and easily with a hot glue gun. The structure needs lots of braces hidden behind to keep it stable and strong enough to support the weight of the decorations.
Keep in mind the limitations of corrugated cardboard, it won't hold heavy solid items like globes. Don't put anything heavy on the top shelf, though it is surprising what cardboard can do when it is constructed right. The same thing with water filled jugs or plant containers. Moisture and cardboard are not friends anyway
To curve the card for the arc just cut part the way through the card (through the first later of corrugations) and then fold. You can see the cuts in the pictures, about 3/4 of an inch apart, or every 3 to 4 corrugations.
If you need a hot glue gun you may find that the 10 watt ones from your local hardware store are a bit disappointing. For not much more money find one with around 40 watts which are much better. Take care not to get the hot glue on yourself as a decent hot glue gun can hurt. If you do get some hot glue on you run your finger, or whatever, under the cold tap for a while, this helps a lot and usually stops blisters forming. If your careful you won't have any problems though.
Step 4: Decorating and Fire Safety
It was interesting decorating it. It has been adjusted/rearranged a few times, but then this is the fun part for you and others. I referred to the site mentioned earlier for ideas.
I did consider painting it but the colour of cardboard is quite warm and goes with the magnolia walls well so I didn't bother. I did consider sponging it so it looks like marble for a while but I changed my mind.
Remember that this item is only decorative and is flammable, so NO CANDLES or anything likely to get hot. There is a silk fake flame effect in the centre of the fire. This looks really good. Maybe I might try to make a larger one of these one day to fill the space better
Be careful as some lights get very hot.
I have a Upvc window sill with random cream coloured dints all over it from Christmas lights that I used a few years ago, I only found out this problem when I was putting the decorations away. I kept wondering what that strange smell was that occasionally drifted across the kitchen! Now I know what hot Upvc smells like. So I am extra careful now.
If in doubt don't use it.
All my current lights hardly get even slightly warm.