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DIY Rustic Mantel

Rustic mantels are all the rage these days. The texture, character and warmth they add to a fireplace is truly magical in my opinion, lol! Many mantels now are made with reclaimed beams found from old farms, a wood salvage yard or even a scrap wood pile in the middle of who knows where?? But, not everyone can get their hands on one of these unique pieces of wood...and not everyone can just go get in their truck and find that special diamond in the rough. We certainly know we couldn't find one...we tried for sure, but the few that we did come across were not quite deep enough or the right fit, or the seller was asking far too much for an old chunk of wood, so you know what we did....we decided to go through our own scrap wood pile in our garage and see if we could build something on our own...and boy did we ever! I love it so much more than anything else we could have found or purchased because we made it ourselves and now its become a special character piece to our home.

What you will need:

  • You decide on the width and length of your board depending on how deep and long your want your mantel, we bought a 1" x 8" knotty pine board from our local building supply store and used this to build our entire mantel

  • Brad Nails 18 guage 1 1/4"

  • Brad nail gun

  • L Brackets, we bought ours at Home Depot similar to these

  • Dry wall screws

  • Wood screws

  • Stain colour of your choice, I like Minwax brand

  • Stud finder

  • Wood Glue

*Before you get started be sure to check out my fireplace makeover videos on my Instagram for any further instructions.

Step 1:

Find your studs with your stud finder first and mark it on your wall. This is where you will place your L brackets. We used 2 L brackets to support the length of our mantel, but you may need more support depending on the length of your wood. Our mantel is 56" in length, 8" deep and 7" high. Mount your L brackets to the wall with dry wall screws.

Step 2:

Now you will assemble your mantel first as a rectangular frame before you mount it to your brackets. We simply cut all our boards edges at 45 degree angles with our table saw so that the wood could look more like a big chunk rather than something that was all pieced together. We joined all our pieces together with wood glue first, and then we used our Brad nailer.

45 degree angle cuts

Step 3:

Now that the frame of your mantel is assembled, you will lay it on top of your L brackets. Attach your top piece of wood through the underside L bracket using your wood screws.

Step 4:

Now you will need to add your wood face piece to your rectangular frame. All of your edges of the face piece should also be at 45 degree angles as well, but be sure to cut the angles the opposite way so everything will fit together properly with your frame. One thing I did before I added the face piece was I gave it a good beating with a hammer, power sander and nails to really add extra texture and rough it up a bit more. This is the side that's going to show, so you might want to give it some more character. Attach your face piece using your wood glue on the edges and by using your Brad nailer all along the edges until you feel it is secure.

Step 5:

So your mantel should be fully built and mounted by now. Now its time to stain. I did my first coat in Minwax Early American and then decided after looking at it more that I wanted to enhance more of the character and texture of the wood, so I quickly did a wipe on wipe off of Minwax Jacobean, which is a much darker stain, but settled into all the grooves very nicely and enhanced the right parts of the wood.

Applying Minwax Early American

After applying a light coat of Minwax Jacobean, you can really see the texture of the wood now that its darkened a bit.

I decided to not seal my mantel, but that is a personal choice. I wanted it to look like a reclaimed beam, so I didn't want to add any sheen to it what so ever.

So there you have it guys! A DIY rustic mantel made by our very own hands, and guess what you can do this too! It has added so much character and warmth to our fireplace, and I love how the wood plays off so nicely with the clean lines of the shiplap and subway tile.

So tell me below what you guys think of this DIY Mantel. Don't hesitate to ask any questions about this project! Have a great day guys!




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Katie T's Home
Katie T's Home

Hey Dale! The tutorial was super helpful! My husband and I are planning on building a house and I also love the look of the reclaimed farmhouse mantle. Currently we use our stove for heating in the winter, but because the mantle is solid, we don't have to worry about the heat warping it (Image and link below if you're interested in checking it out!). In the house we plan on building, we won't be using the stove for heating, but will probably still use it for ambience. If we did a mantle like what you have, do you think it will warp at all?


I LOVE THIS!!! Now, if I can just get my husband to do it!!! Looks awesome.

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