Home Decor How-to: Make a Holiday Mantle. Fireplace Not Required

Introduction: Home Decor How-to: Make a Holiday Mantle. Fireplace Not Required

About: MyFixitUpLife is a husband-and-wife’s home improvement obsessed lifestyle. Mark and Theresa are constantly fixing something up.

Want a sock-knockin’ home decor how-to you can love all year? Check out MyFixitUpLife’s mega mantle. One look and you’ll say: That’s the background for our holiday card. Or if you’re on Santa’s naughty list you might think something else. But that’s none of my business. Here’s how we mega-ed this one.

First, we super-sized the molding, using a big dentil crown, a spandrel (which sounds like an ’80s band) and some corbels. Then we tooled up with the miter saw, hand saw, finish nailer, and some screws while Theresa detailed her dazzle with pineapples and wall art.

Design. From Jump Street the design is intended to draw attention without being gaudy. And to be functional. Two of the big drivers on sizing this, if you can believe it, were the TV and the cable box projection from the wall. They have to go somewhere. How else will we ignore each other on the holiday? We also centered it in the room and made room for Theresa’s dazzling wall art creation.

Build. For the crown, I cut two front pieces to accept the keystone and two returns (the pieces that go back to the wall). The spandrel is a little smaller than the crown and returns back to the wall. I used a 1×6 to fill in the space under the crown and another 1×6 to fill in under the spandrel. Little blocks compound cut to match the keystone cover small gaps. A 1×12 filler and some shims make up the top shelf. But that’s detail, let’s get to the mega-.

Step 1: To Get a Full Dentil on the Corner...

cut through two of them at a 45-degree angle. Sighting down the blade—on crowns big and small—helps accuracy.

P.S. No I’m not mind-melding with my miter saw. Actually, I am. I’m sighting down the blade to make sure I hit the mark just right so I cut a dentil right on the corner.

Step 2: Cut the Front Pieces.

Center the keystone between dentil blocks. Add a little glue to the returns and fasten with a finish nailer and 2 1/2-inch nails.

Use a rasp to smooth the hand-saw cuts. Note that channel in the back of the molding. We’re using that next.

Step 3: We Used the Channel in the Molding to Add Some Framing.

No crown molding holds itself up. This helps keep everything together and gives us something to fasten to the wall. After this the rest happens upside down. What?!

Two 2×4′s glued and nailed in the channel are the frame.

Step 4: Build Upside Down.

From here on out, this heavy-up home decor mega mantle is best built upside down with smartly placed screws.

We install the filler, the spandrel and the corbels using 2-inch drywall screws pre-drilled and countersunk. Little dabs of glue help.

Step 5: This Time for the Corbels.

More upside down screwing. Gotta be sneaky to hide the fasteners.

We centered the corbels directly over a spandrel circle. Looks nice.

Step 6: Paint Your Mantle

Spraying this paint with our Wagner power sprayer rocked. We used the fine spray and did a few light coats. It delivered a tight finish.

Step 7: Get Ready to Hang It!

You need some serious meat to hang on to this heavy duty home decor. A 2×4 cleat set nice and level does the trick here. And some deck screws—right into the wall studs. Booya!

A 2×4 cleat screwed to the wall studs catches the 2×4 frame inside the molding for a seamless hang up.

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Mantle!

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    7 years ago

    This is so pretty! And welcome to the gun show! :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work! This is an excellent project.

    I have to admit though, I'm sorta more inspired by the arms on display here. Geez man. I need to put down this soda and go pump some iron!