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Adding an Inexpensive Wood Fireplace Mantel for $10

You know how you look at something in your house, and over and over you wonder how it would look if you mixed it up a bit? For about a year now, I had the idea of adding an inexpensive wood fireplace mantel  to the top of my faux surround for some contrast with all of the white. I went back and forth between whether or not I wanted to spend some money on a nice piece of barnwood, or big chunk of rectangular oak, or if I wanted to go a little bit less expensive route. I decided for now to go the less expensive route and pick up an $8 board at the home improvement store. I thought it would be a good way to test out if I liked the look or not.

Creating a fireplace mantel from common board

I just picked up a 1 x 8 common board, and cut it so it had a slight overhang on the sides of my current mantel by about an inch. I didn’t have any stain on hand, so I mixed craft paint as a stain. I used Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna, and a little Yellow Ochre to get the wood stain look I was going for.

Staining common board with paint

I used a slightly damp paper towel to rub the paint into the wood, spreading it evenly.

Paint used as stain alternative for raw wood

Once the paint was rubbed in and I had the color I wanted, I let it dry. After it was completely dry, I used a matte varnish to seal the inexpensive wood mantel, and deepen the color.

Faux fireplace mantel

It was weird to see our mantel so completely empty.

Adding wood as a mantel to the faux fireplace

I placed the board on top, and added a couple of screws to hold it in place, and it was done!

Stop back on Wednesday, and you can see how it looks all put together. I am joining a group of bloggers for a fall mantel tour!




  1. i use paint as a stain replacement all the time in my projects!!! used the umber too!! or if i want it lighter just regular brown… deluded in water it gives the same effect, and to me is easier to work with!! can’t wait to see it all finished!!

  2. Looking forward to Wednesday and your fall mantel tour! Love the piece of wood you chose, it definitely adds an antique vibe to your home and the paint makes it appear modern. I’ve always been a fan of budget friendly projects and the way how they transform any room with ease is one of the reasons.

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