Stockings hanging at the fireplace are an iconic Christmas decoration. So if you don’t have a fireplace, you’re a little bit out of the decorating loop. Instead of going without, try building your own faux fireplace instead.
A Better Box
If you can build a box, you can absolutely build a faux fireplace design. It’s actually much simpler than it seems. A faux fireplace can be a permanent or a temporary installation, depending on your design needs and the materials you have at hand. There are two different ways to go about building a Christmas-like faux fireplace.
Light and Easy
Have extra boxes from your holiday shopping? Even something as simple as cardboard can be transformed into a faux fireplace. Create a long row of boxes. They will serve as your mantel, so choose boxes that have the same width. Use your longest boxes on the ends. Glue the boxes together.
Next, stack boxes at either end of the mantel. Stack the boxes upward in straight lines, building two columns of equal height. They’ll serve as the support for the faux mantel, so you want these columns straight and even. Use glue to secure the columns. Now, you’ll have a U made of boxes.
Wrap the entire U. Red wrapping paper or foil works well, but if you want to take the next step, use paper that looks like brick. Turn the fireplace right side up. Place a long box, open at the top, down over the top of the fireplace. Alternately, a lightweight shelf placed right on top of the fireplace will work well. This is your mantel. Wrap it in silver or gray wrapping paper to complete the look, and glue it into place.
Place your faux fireplace against the wall to create a Christmas look anywhere. Stockings can be hung with simple thumb tacks. This design cannot hold a lot of weight, however, so use caution when filling stockings and adding decorations to the mantel.
Solid and Simple
Use molding and plywood to create a simple faux fireplace that can be placed against almost any wall. For a detailed step-by-step, take a look at How to Make a Fake Fireplace, but here are the basics. Cut a squared off “U” out of plywood. This will be the structure of your fireplace. The dimensions depend on your space, but in this case let’s say it’s 3 feet high and 4 feet long. The mouth of the U is a 2-foot square. Cut 3 2-foot pieces of molding to go around the mouth (the “hearth”) and two 3-foot pieces to frame the outside of the U.
On the back of the U nail or screw 2x4s all around the perimeter. This will give it stability and depth. The 2-foot square you cut out of the plywood should be nailed to the back of the 2x4s behind the hearth, to create the back wall. Finally nail a 2x4 on the flat across the top to act as a mantel.
Paint or stain the “fireplace” in the color of your choice. The plywood behind the hearth should be black. Once all the paint is dry, place your faux fireplace wherever you like.
A faux fireplace can be used just at Christmastime or all year round to add a fun architectural detail to the home. Place LED candles or a basket of wood in the open center part of the fireplace to complete the effect. Hang the stockings and make it look so real even Santa gets confused.