Saturday, January 12, 2013

DIY Mantel Tutorial

I should preface this blog post by saying that by the time these posts make it to you all neat and tidy in all their glory, I've probably: yelled at my husband, talked in a tone that is less than becoming, suffered a few injuries, given and received a few dirty looks, and said enough swear words to send my grandmother to her grave. Twice.

This mantel, though GORGEOUS, was a pain in the ass. Plain and simple. It was taken apart a few times and reassembled, it was trimmed and re cut, and hanging it proved to be an interesting feat. However, all said and was worth it. (At least to me, because I didn't have to do much heavy lifting, sawing, drilling, cutting...etc. heh)

Oh,I should add the fact that Hubby hammered my thumb. As in smashed it...WITH THE HAMMER! HOLY OUCH!  You be the judge, but I think it was totally worth the blood, sweat and tears

Oh, P.S. Angles are hard y'all!

Here is my mantle in all it's Christmas glory! :D You'll notice the cute little letters. I'll explain those in a different post.

When I first started looking for a project, I knew I wanted something to dress up the one blank wall I have in our apartment. And when I found THIS gem, I knew all I needed was a little tweaking and it was going to be PERFECT! :)  I used her mantel shelf as inspiration and then do what I always do...I make it up! Then I show my husband what he will be building for me and he gives me this weary look, to which I respond by begging and telling him it's going to be super easy and he can TOTALLY do this. (Please see above about how the project actually know with the swearing and all. heh)

Now on to the tutorial. Some of the pictures really suck this time. Sorry about that.

This is what you need:
One- 1x6x6
One 8' piece of molding (you choose which design you like best)
Finishing nails
Table Saw
Coat Hooks-If you wish to have hooks on the front of your mantel shelf. I wanted them to hang stockings. :)
stain, paint or whatever you want to decorate.

If you go to Lowe's someone will be generous enough to show you what you need. In my case they were also generous enough to make the cuts I needed. :)
You are going to have both the 1x6x6 and the 1x8x8 cut into 4' pieces. I suggest cutting the molding yourself at home! (That is where we made our mistake, which made the assembly of the mantel a lot more difficult than it needed to be!)
 The 1x8x8 is going to be the bottom and the top of your mantel. The 1x6x6 is going to be the front and the 2 sides. In the picture above, I am showing you how to place the bottom(1x8x8) and the front(1x6x6) together. You need to run screws through the wood to hold it in place. I think we did 3-4 screws across.

You should have a little extra of the 1x6x6, this is for the sides! You should have enough to make the two sides of your mantel.

To attach the top, just screw it into the sides. We did two screws (And by we I mean Hubby.) one in the front and one in the back.

Now we get to the molding part. I should just tell you ahead of time, the angles part...ARE HARD. Technically you should be able to set your table saw to 45degrees, match up the cut angles to make a 90degree angle that fits perfectly around the edges of your shelf. HA!

 The moral of the story is, it doesn't need to be perfect to look awesome! When your shelf is hanging and decorated, you can't even tell that the corners are slightly off.

To attach the molding you use finishing nails. When you stain your mantle you can't even see where the nails were put in.

 To hang the shelf, I'm going to have you visit the original site. I'm sure I could explain it to you, but she took better pictures of this part. So go HERE. As you can see in the above picture, once the mantle is stained and finished, you can't even tell than angles are wonky.
 This is an up close of the hooks we used.

 And there you have it. Your very own mantel shelf. Though there were less than ideal circumstances, the husband and I forgave each other and this mantel turned out beautiful!

In fact, it turned out so beautiful that we decided to build one for my sister and her husband for Christmas! I should add real quick, that the second mantle shelf went together in an hour and the angles weren't nearly has difficult. Perhaps practice makes perfect. 

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