Don’t have a mantle? Maybe you don't have a fireplace, or you have a low profile model that hasn't got one. You don’t have to be left out of the loop when it comes to holiday decorations. Build a simple DIY fireplace mantle, and you don’t even need the fireplace to go with it to make your holiday decor complete.
You have lots of options when you want to make a DIY fireplace mantle. You can always get raw wood and make your own floating shelf, but then you have to figure out what to do with it year-round.
You can even get crown molding and plywood and build a whole freestanding fake fireplace with a mantle across the top. But this a full scale DIY project, and sometimes the holidays are hard enough. There are simpler, quicker ways to build a mantle that can be taken down and put right back up again every holiday season.
Really, all you need is some hardware, a long piece of strong twine, and a 4x4. To simplify things make the length even with your studs if you can, so its 16, 32 or 48 inches long.
First, completely sand your 4x4 so it feels smooth. Stain it whatever color you want. Now, pick the top of the mantle and drill 2 eye bolts into either end. You want them 1-inch down from the top edge. Set screw-in hooks into the front of the wood, along the exposed edge, spacing them evenly apart.
Thread twine through both eyebolts. You’ll want to thread it twice to give yourself at least two strands of support. Drive a screw hook into the wall about 4 inches higher than you want the surface of the mantle. Make sure you place the nail in a wall stud or you’ll be sorry. Tie the twine tightly and hang it from the hooks.
The wide, flat part of the 4x4 will act as a shelf so you can display decorations at will. Meanwhile, the front of the mantle is perfect for hanging stockings. It’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas.
A less traditional version of the hanging mantle is the hanging branch. This creates a handsome rustic look. Just get yourself a thick, sturdy branch and trim away any excess pieces. You can use the eye bolts now as you did before, or just tie your twine around either end. Use ribbons to tie stockings directly to the branch. Spruce up this makeshift mantle, if you like, with greenery and other decorations.
If you're short on space and time, forget about the 4x4s and the branches, and get yourself a flat board like a 1x6. Paint it any holiday color you like, and then place your hooks evenly along the length. Drill holes in the back of the board so it can slide right onto existing picture hooks or new nails that you put in the wall. A flat mantle like this won’t stick out too far from the wall, so it won’t take any room from your living space.
DIY mantles are good for hanging other types of decoration too, so you're not limited to the holidays. Once you know how to make one, you can use the plans to add a quick shelf or seasonal decor to your wall at will.