A fireplace without a mantel is functional but it is usually not very decorative. Make the fireplace a focal point in the room by building a mantel that features decorative accents. This provides you the opportunity to decorate the mantel for the seasons. The kids will finally have a place to hang their Christmas stockings for Santa!
You will need:
• Crown molding
• Dentil molding
• Decorative molding
• Stamped wooden decorations, prefabricated brackets, or precut and premitered mantel kit (alternatives to crown molding)
• Wood shelf
• Backer board
• Wood stain
• Nails or screws
• Miter saw
• Paring knife
Step 1: Put a backer board against the wall where the mantel will be located. This board provides a strong backing for the mantel and most products are water and mold resistant. Nail or screw the board into the wall with the drill.
Step 2: Since the mantel will be above the fireplace, install some decorative molding around the fireplace. This creates a surround for the firebox. You will install the mantel above this area.
Step 3: Attach the dentil molding to the bottom of the backer board using nails or screws.
Step 4: Cut the crown molding with the miter saw and set it in front of the dentil molding. Set the wood shelf on top. To give the edges of the shelf a finished look, use decorative molding. You can also place the decorative molding above the installed dentil molding for a unique look.
Step 5: To avoid having to make compound miter cuts required to install crown molding, use stamped wooden decorations or prefabricated brackets. For a beginner, a premitered, precut mantel kit is ideal.
Step 6: Leaving the mantel unfinished makes the area look bare and incomplete. Stain and finish your mantel by applying wood stain with the paintbrush.