About the same time I was helping Sheena build her fireplace mantel for my February episode, I was also working on updating my mantel and fireplace area.
I can’t remember if it was working on her mantel that inspired me to update mine or if it just happened coincidentally at the same time. Either way, great minds think alike! And with all of these fireplace projects taking place on my blog during the month of February, I’ve dubbed it Fireplace February! (Not that other things won’t take place here, there are just several fireplace-related projects happening at the moment!)
While I was repairing my mantel to keep it from interfering with the front door, I also added some molding to the breastplate to dress it up a bit.
First I just got an 8 foot stick of some stock molding at the local home center. It cost about $5. Essentially I created a rectangular picture frame with it by cutting 45 degree angles on each end.
To get the lengths for each side of my “frame” I measured the overall distance of the breastplate of my mantel. I wanted the distance outside of the frame to be the same all the way around. But I didn’t want it to look squashed vertically, so I used that measurement to determine my margin. It is 7 3/4 inches, so I went with a 1 3/8 inch margin so there’d be enough space in the middle of the frame to make it look right. Then I subtracted 2 3/4 from the overall length, both horizontally and vertically, to get my cut measurements.
To start, I cut one end to 45 degrees by marking with my speed square. I knew I wanted the smaller profile edge of the molding to be the inside part of the frame, so my long ends were on the larger profile edge.
Then I turned the molding over to mark my length from long end to long end, using my speed square, again, to mark the angle.
After cutting one angle, I had to cut the angle going in the opposite direction before marking a new measurement so everything would match up.
Before assembling the 4 pieces together, I lightly sanded everything to get rid of the jagged ends.
Then I put a dab of glue on each joint and held them together. I lined the speed square up to make sure the corners were at 90 degree angles. I just eye-balled it, making sure the same amount of molding was showing up and down.
After the glue dried in the corners on one side, I repeated the process on the other 2 corners before bringing it inside.
Since the molding was so light and thin, I knew simple, ole wood glue would hold it in place. Before I glued it up, though, I marked 1 3/8 inches from the top, from the right, from the bottom, and from the left. That way when I applied a thin line of glue along the entire back side of my frame I could find where it was supposed to go without smearing glue all over the place and without getting out my level. I just had to keep it inside the marks!
Then I secured it with some lightweight painter’s tape until the glue had dried.
To finish her up, I applied caulk at every corner, and along the inside and outside of the molding frame against the breastplate to really make it look seamless!
I topped it off with 2 coats of paint, and it looked like it had always been there!
Such an easy (and cheap!) way to upgrade the look of an otherwise plain mantel. The next step in my fireplace update is a 2-parter involving getting rid of this hearth and putting some pretty, fresh tiles in its place.
This little living room of ours is coming along! We’ll be painting the rest of the walls soon so the accent wall can really stand out! Until then…
Thanks for Checking In! ~ Chelsea