I decided to enclose my monitor with a frame to look like a real fireplace mantle piece, and added in some slowly pulsating lights behind to mimic the soft glow of a burning fire. The entire frame and light assembly slips onto my monitor and can easily be removed after I've finished sipping my hot cocoa.
After having my desktop fireplace running for a few days, I can say that there's a psychological reaction to seeing the fire and feeling the ambiance the back lights give. I feel a warming sensation over my face and body as I type. The feeling is sublime.
Here's what I used to make mine:
Ready to make your own cozy fireplace out of your computer monitor? Let's go!
Step 1: Design + measure
I took the overall dimensions of the monitor, along with the thickness, and made sure to make note of the distance between bottom of monitor and bottom of stand.
For my design I chose:
|4x corners||- Corner Block (3/4" X 2-1/2" X 2-1/2")|
|1x crown||- Fiberboard Chairrail (5/8" x 1 3/4")|
|1x counter||- MDF Base (1/2" X 3 1/2")|
|1x kick||- MDF Base (1/2" X 3 1/2")|
|2x sides||- MDF Casing (11/16" X 3 1/2")|
There was a scrap bin near where I was cutting, so I used something like a window stool as a retainer on the back of the frame to keep it on the monitor. Each section was cut to roughly the correct length, allowing for final trimming to take place at home where I can verify dimensions with the monitor.
Step 3: Fit and glue components
Next, two corner pieces were attached the the kick and then clamped. These two clamped section were left to dry overnight.
After the side pieces were glued into place connecting the top and bottom portions of the frame. Using more glue, in select areas inside the frame I used scrap wood shims to beef up the connections.
Step 4: Prime + paint
Protecting the area you are working in, a coat of primer was sprayed and left to dry for about 20 minutes. If you're happy with the coverage you can start applying your paint. Areas that require primer need to be touched up and left to dry.
Cover all visible areas of the frame with white paint. The paint was left to dry for about 40 minutes and then another coat was applied. In all about 4 coats were applied to achieve the finish I wanted.
Step 5: Adding LEDs
Though this box was small, the enclosure was a little too large for my liking, so I removed the circuit board from the enclosure to reduce volume. The control box was mounted on the back of the mantle piece in an empty area under the monitor. The strands of LED's were then hot glued all around the back of the frame. Excess LED strands were gathered and wrapped around a scrap of cardboard to keep them all together. This bundle will be hidden behind the monitor once the frame was installed.
The frame was then installed onto the monitor and the plug for the lights was then fed behind the desk and plugged in.
Step 6: Fireplace
All that's left now is to turn down the lights, lean back and enjoy the feel of my desktop fireplace.