Building a "Faux" Fireplace

Last week I blogged about some “PINS” which I pinned on Pinterest and have been dreaming and scheming about ever since.

UPDATE: In 2019, I updated this faux fireplace with a paint makeover. Check that out here. You can see a photo of the faux fireplace after the paint makeover below.

To read about my new 2016 faux fireplace, click here. Below is a photo of my 2016 faux fireplace.

To read about my third faux fireplace, click here. Below is a photo of my last faux fireplace.

There’s something so, what should I say, sweet or cozy about a fireplace.  But what do you do if you don’t have a real fireplace?  What about if you don’t have room for a real one and can’t afford an electric one, but you have all the scraps of wood and your Dad has a shop with all the tools you need?


You build yourself a “faux” fireplace/mantel or whatever you want to call it.  My 3 year-old niece was watching me build it and she even guessed what it was.  She came up to me and said, “is that a fireplace you’re building?”.  So it must have looked somewhat convincing. :)

I was trying something out here with the mantel that I didn’t end up doing, just so this doesn’t confuse you too much. :)


I drew up different patterns and tried different ideas out.  I knew it couldn’t be much wider than 45″ and not much deeper than 8″.  My living room isn’t huge and I didn’t want it to get too cluttered.

I had a bunch of 3/4″ good one side plywood on hand.  I cut the mantel, sides and front from this.  The bottom I used a 2×10 which I cut down to the right length.

Some of the wood was a little poor so I boxed it in at the bottom as you can see here.  I just cut pieces of plywood and covered the bottom front and side and topped it with trim.  Now you’ll never know how beat up the wood was!

Please ignore the horrible saw horse with a big red “X” on it.  My little brother did that when he was younger…not sure what the reason was…probably just a phase :) …I didn’t notice that it was sitting right there, but I was using it.

The only supplies I actually had to buy was the pine casing and the pre-painted pine quarter round…and of course some nails for the finish nailer .  This project took me part of one evening and half a Saturday to finish.  It might have gone faster if I would have had my plan completed instead of figuring out every detail as I went along.

Here you can see I was attaching the pine tongue and groove with a finish nailer.

This shows a close up of the top of the mantel.  So far so good, I’m thinking…

It looks much better once the back is closed off and that eye sore is gone!  I hadn’t known for sure if I wanted the back closed off or not, but I thought it might make it look more real and I can always paint the back darker later on.

I just used plain casing and quarter round.  Our local building store didn’t have any fancy schmancy supplies on hand and I really didn’t feel like waiting and ordering them in.  So I figured it was ok to have it more plain…

My Dad did carpentry all my growing up years so I got him to help me with a few things, namely cutting the 45 degree angles and attaching the casing and quarter round.  It’s so handy to have someone around to help with things like this!  Thanks so much Dad!!!  I owe you BIG time!

I primed everything and let it dry which I find is the absolute hardest thing to do…the PATIENCE part is what gets me!  We have a fan in the ceiling which was going so I think that helped. :)

This is the back.  I really didn’t want to show it to you, but in order to keep it “real life” I’m going to show you the back and you can just ignore all the errors…

The primer is dry and ready for the real paint job!  This is the fun part…except for the drying time of course…but now it’s soooo close to being finished.

I don’t have any pictures of the next part, but I just took some brown craft paint and dabbed it on the edges and basically anywhere else I thought might look nice.  I painted two coats with left over paint from my house remodeling project.  Once the two coats were dry, I sanded the edges and tried to distress the whole mantel a little bit.  I sealed it with two coats of clear polyurethane and joy of all joys!!!!  It was FINISHED!

Yeah!!  Can you believe it?!  Me either!

So what is your opinion on this?  Is a “faux” fireplace OK?

I’m more than thrilled with mine as it seems to just complete the room.  I’m not happy with the decor I put together for it, but it’s coming…I usually shuffle things around from room to room throughout the year, so I’ll eventually come up with something I like.  Right now I need a pumpkin and some gourds, maybe a fall bouquet as well.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a happy Wednesday!



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  1. JENN says:

    Looks awesome!!!

  2. ANA says:

    It looks totally amazing! Your 3 years old niece told me all about you building a “big fireplace” ?
    I have to share this.

  1. I just found your blog via the faux-fireplace pic on a google search. Its beautiful! I already have my husband gearing up to make it. This one said,” MAKE ME”! LOL I have looked at so many pics and plans. This is truly the one for my (Florida) living room. Thank you!

    • Hi Becky,

      Thank you for stopping by and I’m thrilled that my own version of a “faux fireplace” inspired you to build your own! There are so many designs and styles out there and to be honest I really had no idea how mine would turn out or if I would even like it. I think someday I might build a thicker mantel shelf but for now I love it! Good luck with the building and designing, I’m sure it will turn out beautifully!

  2. I have been running myself ragged trying to find a fake fireplace to buy for an outdoor scene under my gazebo for christmas. i searched the internet but i keep getting lead back to electric faux fireplaces. what i am looking for is what you have built and i have no idea where to find these or where to start looking. have you built anymore and are you trying to sell them??? email me

  3. This is what I want to do around my large air intake in the living room wall…close the the floor w ave a huge air intake for the air conditioner, and it is overhead with an ugly is about the size of the opening for a fireplace, so I thought I could build a surround for it….will let you know if it works!!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      This sounds like a great idea! Good luck with your project and I’m sure it’ll turn out beautiful! I’ll be waiting to hear how it looks…

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