If you would love to have the beauty of a hearth and mantle in every room but can’t afford the expense, why not learn how to build a fake fireplace that looks like the real thing and even glitters with candle flames. A fake fireplace is fairly easy to build, and you can decide how much money you want to invest depending on the kind of mantelpiece you wish to have. The more ornate the mantelpiece, the more expensive it will be to build a fake fireplace. But even with simple, inexpensive beams a fake fireplace can add luxurious beauty to a room. In short, you don’t have to give up on the dream of sitting by the fireplace whenever and wherever you please. So here’s everything you need to know about how to build a fake fireplace to suit any budget.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Build a Fake Fireplace Depending on Your Budget:
Profiled wood mantelpiece shelf and sides (if you have a larger budget)
Or, three 8×4 wood beams (if your budget is smaller)
Drill or screwdriver
2 right angle metal brackets
3 panel fireplace screen
Wood stain or paint depending on your mantelpiece preference
Here Are the Steps for Building a Fake Fireplace Suited to Any Budget
Step #1. Choose the Fake Fireplace Height
The first thing to decide when you build a fake fireplace is how high you wish your mantelpiece to sit. Use a pencil and long level to mark a horizontal line on the wall to match the length of the mantle shelf. Attach the right angle metal brackets just below the line so as to form a platform on which the mantelpiece can rest. Make sure to install the brackets on the very sides, so that once you build the fake fireplace sides beneath the mantelpiece shelf, the brackets will be covered. Use toggles to attach the mantelpiece to drywall, or wood screws to attach to the wall beams.
Step #2. Attach the Fake Fireplace Mantle Shelf
Place the mantelpiece over the brackets and connect them with wood screws. Use a lot of pressure on the drill or screwdriver in the end to drive the screws all the way in. This will prevent a gap from forming between the mantle sides and wall, once you finish building the fake fireplace frame.
Step #3. Build the Fake Fireplace Sides
Measure the distance from the installed mantelpiece shelf and the floor, and cut the mantle sides or beams to match this length. Make sure that the fit is very snug as this will reinforce the fake fireplace you are building. Slip them into place beneath the mantle in a manner that will cover the metal brackets. Hammer headless nails through the mantle shelf top straight into the legs, to secure them in place. Use wood putty to fill the tiny holes left in the mantelpiece and make them disappear. You have now finished building the fake fireplace frame and you may choose to paint or stain the mantle, just as you please.
Step #4. Make a Fake Fireplace Grate
The grate in traditional, wood-burning fireplaces would be dark with soot. Therefore, paint the area inside the mantelpiece frame in glossy black. You may choose to first create a small border around the grate and paint it a different shade so as to create an accent perimeter in the fake fireplace you are building.
Step #5. Create a Fire in Your Fake Fireplace
A large iron candelabra will be very beautiful when set against the black background of the grate. Enclose the candelabra with a 3 panel fireplace screen, curving the side panels to enclose the grate. This will add realism to the fake fireplace you built. You can also add a hearth rug and place a rocking chair by the fake fireplace. Decorate the mantelpiece with pictures and decorative items.
To add the impression of fake bricks around your grate, you can paint the pattern of faux bricks. See how in my article on remodeling an old fireplace on a budgets.