Picture of desktop fireplace
Having your computer monitor play a video of a roaring fire is good, but somehow I felt like it lacked the authenticity of a real fire. Though seeing a video of a fire evokes some feelings of nostalgia, I was always brought back to reality when I glanced to the side of the screen and saw some reminder that I was only viewing a technological reproduction of the genuine article. 

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:
  • wood saw
  • wood glue
  • glue gun
  • sandpaper           

Ready to make your own cozy fireplace out of your computer monitor? Let's go!

Step 1: Design + measure

Picture of design + measure
I designed my frame to be removable, the frame slips in place over the top of the monitor and covers the entire front and top - there's a small ledge on the backside to keep it secured to the monitor when installed.

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. 
BrittLiv2 years ago
Great ible! I really like the gifs, that you've been making lately is there an Instructable somewhere on how to make them?
mikeasaurus (author)  BrittLiv2 years ago
I also just published: make an animated GIF to help you out!
mikeasaurus (author)  BrittLiv2 years ago
Thanks! I use the same process described here to turn photos into GIFs, and use iWisoft to convert video.
First, I like the idea, your frame looks very nice. But i have some serious issues with the whole project. My cognitive dissonance meter was in the red zone.

The mass of the control box was too great, but that great wad of cardboard and wire is fine? Never mind the bare circuit board inviting unintended grounding incidents.

You put the nice frame around your monitor, but couldn't be bothered to have a nice stand to support the monitor?

Bottom line: Nice idea, Nice I'tble but your presentation sucks.

mikeasaurus (author)  phillipnolan2 years ago
You should make your own and show me how it's properly done then.
. . . someday. . .
I'm just curious to know, how exactly does the presentation suck? And the project ended up working well, so why your issues?
While the project itself is a nice idea, and fairly nicely done, the surroundings are trashy. -- read and think about my comment. In effect 'saurus put a gold ring in a pig's snout.
Cool! but...
I would have made an extra 'foot' on the frame over the whole width of it, so that the foot of the monitor isn't visible anymore.
That way you wouldn't even have to make the frame hang on the monitor.

To be safe I would 'never' put an electric circuit with that high a voltage open and reachable like you did.
You should have left the circuit in the box. You could have made a hole in the box where the switch is, or you could have connected another safe switch to it.

Other than that it's just a great idea.
sunshiine2 years ago
This is perfect! No mess and no fuss. You also made the frame removable! The sound of a crackling fire would send it over the top! I love it.
nwlaurie2 years ago
I love it. As a semi-retired PC repairer I have a number of old laptops lying under the workbench that aren't much use for computing but could handle this perfectly well.
I suppose, just for fun, you could video nice fireplaces when you see them and build up a library of 'favourite fireplace' loops and so ring the changes a bit.
suayres2 years ago
It's funny how primal our reaction to fire is. I'm going to have to see if I can get my husband to whip one together for me. (I don't trust myself using any kind of tools, short of knives for cooking--and I've damaged myself more than a few times with those!) thanks for the instructable. I feel its siren call....
onemoroni12 years ago
Nice instructable. This is very creative and effective.
h09bakerc2 years ago
This is a good fire place www.mediafire.com/?hagvp47dhyzgsaa
J-Ri2 years ago
Very awesome job!

It would be cool if you could make the lights brighten and dim at the same rate the fire does. Maybe measure the brightness of each frame and have an Arduino (or similar) connected via USB to control the lights?
gijoebob2 years ago
How about a video of a fireplace with cooking bacon?

bajablue2 years ago
lol... too clever!!! ;-D
depotdevoid2 years ago
Cool! This reminds me of the old laptop I turned into a digital picture frame, only classier. The lights are a really nice touch!
wilgubeast2 years ago
Looks hot.
fbuth2 years ago
I'll send condolences to Mrs. Saurus. Live 120V AC on those Diodes in a blind location behind the monitor.
rimar20002 years ago
Nice idea. Years ago here there was some heaters, natural gas fueled, which had appearance of campfire of logs, they were very effective by the feeling they produced, rather than by the heat that they gave
Haha! I love it! I want my monitor to look like that :D
iceng2 years ago
Great ible and most excellent pictures.