DIY Mantel

I **love** mantels.  They are a decorator’s dream during the different seasons and throughout the holidays.  However, my current mantel has a large TV above it, leaving me no room for the ideas staring back at me on Pinterest.  Recently, I’ve been taking a liking to the idea of a faux mantel (without fireplace).  You can add them wherever your heart desires and the space allows.  After searching numerous antique shops and browsing through Etsy, I couldn’t seem to find one that fit the bill for under $1,000.  Ouch.  When I was asking my dad about where he thought I should look, he surprised me by saying he could actually build one for me!  I was a bit skeptical because the mantel I was looking for was a rustic/shabby/vintage white color, which is hard to achieve.  But, I was itching for a project, so I decided it was a good idea.

We found the wood at a store called Recycling the Past.  We scored everything we needed for about $100.  Awesome, right?  I’d like to say I had a large part in the next phase, building the mantel, but I didn’t.  My dad put together the mantel, asking me here and there what I wanted, and before I knew it, it was done!  Here are some pictures of the process along the way….



The above picture was taken before we distressed it.  Notice the white is pretty smooth.  The below picture is after we whacked it with a hammer and other various sharp tools.  This was actually hysterical.  We had so much fun doing this!


image (4)

Next was sanding.  We took a belt sander I had bought for the Stair Reno and sanded all the wood down thoroughly.  We were ready to begin staining.  We didn’t really know how it would turn out, but since the look I was going for was old/worn, we weren’t really worried about making mistakes.

We started by staining all the wood (excluding the top piece) using MinWax Special Walnut Stain.  We left it on for 5 minutes, then wiped it with a cloth.  We did this twice.

stain 2

After that dried, we took RUST-OLEUM Driftwood Stain and painted it over top. This immediately transformed the wood into a pretty gray color.  We also wiped the stain off and repeated twice.


Once everything dried overnight, I sanded the wood with the belt sander again, revealing some of the darker stain below.  As a finishing touch, I mixed some white paint in with the Driftwood stain and sort of lightly brushed streaks of white throughout to lighten it up a bit.  I LOVED the way this look so I kept adding more and more white strokes.  Again, I sanded it, and the body of the mantel was complete.

The top piece was very porous.  We didn’t stain it Walnut because it would’ve gotten too dark.  We just used the gray/white mixture and painted it on pretty thick.  Then I sanded it and it was perfect. We left the wood piece directly under the top piece the natural wood color to bring more of a rustic touch to it.  I think it turned out great!


Now for the accessories.  This was my original inspiration pic I was swooning over:

mantel insp.

I went to a few antique shops looking for a similar mirror, but they are apparently hard to come by. Instead I picked up 2 antique mirrors that I LOVE! I started by layering those along with a silver vintage platter I found.  I added some lavender in an old pitcher and used some books I had lying around to rest on the mirrors.  I love the way it turned out.

mantel dash of decor

Notice the old, rusted bell hanging on the wall?  It really rings too!

Thanks for reading everyone!  Have a fabulous day!

Xo, Christine



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