Mini Fireplace - Upcycled Materials




About: I like making little treats and pretty much doing anything crafty. I want to learn new techniques and share how I do what I do.

A fireplace can set a cozy mood in your room while giving off a "warm" glow.

This miniature fire place does all of the above. Our home didn't come with a fireplace so I decided to build one to display during Christmas. This started out as a fish tank stand.

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Step 1: Supplies

Keep in mind everyone's fireplace will look different since there isn't a group of standard materials to choose from.

All the material came from either Habitat Restore or an antique mall. The paint was just leftovers hanging out in the garage.

For starters you will need a fish tank stand that is good shape. You will be basically putting a box in side the tank stand that faces outwards and you are framing that out and building up on the stand to create a mantel.

Here is a list of material that you could use.

Fish tank stand

Wooden desk drawer - the size for filing

Various types of molding - base molding, crown molding, plinth blocks

Plastic tongue and groove bead board

Small decorative wooden shelf

White paint and or paint/primer

Black Flat spray paint



Wood Glue

White candles or - branches, clear glass vase and white LED Christmas lights.

Step 2: Prep and Paint

If your tank stand has a door in the front and center, remove that. I found it extremely helpful to elevate the tank on sawhorses for working.

Lightly sand all outer surfaces then wipe down with a damp paper towel.

You can use primer or a paint/primer combo and coat the outer surface with a coat of paint.

Let dry and repeat with one to two more coats.

Step 3: The Inner Box

Find a nice wooden box that will be approximately the correct size for your inner fireplace. It's okay if it's not exactly the same size and your opening because you will be framing out the front so that it has a finished appearance.

More than likely, even if you find a good wooden drawer or box there might be lip on the edge that wont allow the front to sent flush with your framework. This may require moving the drawer front and applying it separately then moving the three-sided drawer up.

Looking at the fireplace from the back, either use your removed drawer front or a flat piece of wood and cut it so that it doesn't hang out the back. You may need to raise it up so that the bottom of the box ends up meeting up with the bottom lip of the fire place. To do this just screw in some 1 x 4s or 1 x 2s. Once your box bottom is spray painted black screw it on top of the 1 x's. Spray paint the inside of the three-sided drawer part flat black. Once dry, align it to the edge of the front and toe nail screw it in. If the screws mess up your inside box just spray paint more flat black to hide the imperfections.

Step 4: Cut Trim Pieces

Cut all the trim pieces you will be using. Measure the area you will be placing them cut them and lay them out to get an idea of how you will be forming the mantel and framework.


Flat sheet-like material will just need some adhesive spread on the back and then pressed in place.

Some heavier pieces will require screws. Some will need both. If you end up gluing hold pieces in place with masking tape until set.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Add trim pieces as needed to make it look uniform.

If needed, coat everything one more time with white paint.

A white piece of shelving finishes off the top. It can be just placed, glued or screwed on.

Step 6: Lighting

Lighting can be some simple white (non lit) wax candles or led candles placed inside the fire place.

White Christmas lights mixed in with some sycamore logs looks nice as well.

To make the lit logs, you will need some logs cut shorter than the width of your fireplace, white led Christmas lights and a clear glass vase. Cut a hole in the back of the inner box using a drill and a 1-1/2" hole saw bit.

Shove some of the lights in the vase, they probably wont' all fit and then lay the logs and vase sideways in the fire place. Run the extra lights out the back of the fireplace and plug in.

When Christmas is over you could put the fireplace in a kids' playhouse or just leave up year round.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable.

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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago

    You can spend Christmas at mine, I'll get the fish tank ready!!! Great piece of work.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Love it! Would give a second life for orange "Halloween" LED lights.


    4 years ago

    Totally beautiful. I need one n want one. ♡♡♡