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17 Free DIY Fireplace Mantel Plans You Can Build Today (with Pictures)

Fireplace mantel

Fireplace mantel

Learning how to build a fireplace mantel is an excellent DIY project. It could be as simple as adding a new beam mantel above a fireplace or as complex as tearing out and replacing the entire section. The plans we’ve gathered here run the whole gamut. If you’re tired of looking at your old fireplace, these 17 designs will transform your living room, and you won’t have to pay a cent for any of the plans.

One important note before we get to the list: state and federal fire safety codes restrict what you can build around a fireplace. The U.S. government forbids flammable structures within 6 inches of the firebox in any direction and an extra inch for every 1/8 inch of material protruding from the mantel. Make sure you account for that when measuring for your fireplace project.

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The 17 Free DIY Fireplace Mantel Plans

1. Wood Mantel by This Old House

diy fireplace mantel out of wood
Photo Credit By: This Old House

This plan from the TV institution and home improvement brand This Old House teaches you how to build a classic mantel out of stock lumber. It’s a moderately challenging design that requires care and precision but looks great with almost any interior theme. Make sure to measure your mantel before you start.

Materials: Circular saw, Miter saw, Drill/driver, Brad nailer, Sandpaper

Tools Needed: Plywood, Nailing strips, Plywood cleats, Screws, Nails, Pilasters, Crown molding, Astragal molding, Shoe molding

2. Fireplace Surround and Mantel by Fix This Build That

diy fireplace surround and mantel
Photo Credit By: Fix This Build That

If you have a bare fireplace wall to decorate, check out this combination mantel and surround from Fix This Build That. Carpenter Brad Rodriguez originally designed it for a Ronald McDonald House, and it helps make a room feel comfortable and secure. Classic-looking woods like walnut and pine enhance the feeling.

Materials: Pocket hole jig, Face clamp, Right angle clamp, Table saw or circular saw, Miter saw, Orbital sander, Drill, Brad nailer

Tools Needed: MDF, Pine boards, Pine furring strip, Walnut boards, Pocket hole screws

3. Faux Fireplace Mantel Surround by Rogue Engineer

diy faux fireplace mantel surround
Photo Credit By: Rogue Engineer

Want to build a mantel as your next DIY project, but don’t have access to a fireplace? Look no further than this plan for a faux mantel by Rogue Engineer. Once you’ve installed it, put whatever you want in the space where the fire would usually be. For example, designer Jamison Rantz turned it into a creepy witch’s mantel for Halloween.

Materials: Miter saw, Table saw, Circular saw, Brad nailer, Tape measure, Pencil, Paintbrush or roller

Tools Needed: Plywood, Baseboard trim, Shoe molding, Crown molding, Shingle molding, Brad nails, Wood glue, Wood filler, Primer, Paint

4. Fireplace Mantel Shelf by Her Tool Belt

diy fireplace mantel shelf
Image Credit: Her Tool Belt

Amy of Her Tool Belt devised this plan for a simple shelf to liven up a blank fireplace wall. It’s a pretty forgiving design that leaves you free to deviate from the supplies list and choose a lumber that matches the rest of your furniture. As always, measure your space before heading to the store.

Materials: Miter saw, Brad nailer, Sander, Drill, Sandpaper, Brush

Tools Needed: Boards, Casing, Crown molding, Brad nails, Screws, Wood glue, Pre-stain conditioner, Stain, Polyurethane

5. Stone Fireplace Update With Live Edge Wood Mantel by Remodelaholic

diy stone fireplace update with live edge wood mantel
Image Credit: Remodelaholic

If you have a stone fireplace in your house that you’ve never liked, Remodelaholic has an idea for what you can do with it. This plan lets you update any stone fireplace by repainting the stone and brick while adding a new wood mantel. Painting stone is a bit of a taboo in the DIY world, but you might develop a taste for it after this project.

Materials: Rags, Pry bar, Hammer, Brush, Live edge wood, Sandpaper, Caulking gun

Tools Needed: TSP cleaner, Primer, Paint, Polyurethane, Construction adhesive

6. Fireplace Mantel and Tile Surround by Ron Hazelton

diy fireplace mantle and tile surround
Image Credit: Ron Hazelton

Ron Hazelton hosts a vast array of home improvement knowledge on his website, and this fireplace makeover is one of our favorites from all his projects. It’ll show you how to remove an ugly fireplace surround and replace it with a striking tiled mantelpiece. The project plan is in the video, but there’s also a transcript available directly beneath.

Materials: Tarpaulin, Utility knife, Pry bar, Putty knife, Grinder with brush, Circular saw, Foam brush, Pencil, Drill, Notched trowel, Scoring cutter, Sponges, Hammer

Tools Needed: Stain, Tiles, Mortar, Grout, Polyurethane, Lumber, Construction adhesive, Screws, Nails

7. Faux Rustic Beam Mantel by Toolbox Divas

diy rustic faux beam mantel
Image Credit: Toolbox Divas

This plan from Toolbox Divas is only called a “faux” rustic beam mantel because it’s not really rustic. In all other ways, it is a 100% real DIY home improvement. Timisha’s instructions will help you make your fireplace look like you salvaged it from an authentic pioneer homestead, even if you buy all the supplies at Home Depot.

Materials: Circular saw or table saw, Brad nailer, Orbital sander, Belt sander, Rotary tool, Drill, Layout tool

Tools Needed: Boards, Corbels, Concrete anchors, Wood glue, Wood filler, Wood dye, Polyurethane

8. Decorative Fireplace Mantel by Lee’s Wood Projects

diy decorative fireplace mantel
Image Credit: Lee’s Wood Projects

This elegant mantle plan from woodworker Lee Swindel is ideal for adding color and character to your fireplace. It’s a fairly involved project with a lot of precise cutting. The design is also easy to scale up or down if it doesn’t exactly fit your fireplace.

Materials: Jointer, Table saw, Radial arm saw, Miter saw, Wood planer, Nail gun, Sandpaper, Orbital sander, Brush, Stud finder

Tools Needed: Black walnut planks, Douglas fir planks, Wood glue, Wood dough, Stain, Polyurethane, Finish nails

9. Fireplace Mantel by DIY Network

diy fireplace mantel
Image Credit: Hgtv

DIY Network’s mantel replacement provides several incredible home improvement learning opportunities. You’ll get to practice handling the demolition, marking your house for new additions, and creating a new mantel for your space. This plan has relatively low material and time requirements. After half a day of work, you can relax by the fire in the evening.

Materials: Level, Pry bar, Screwdriver/drill, Paintbrush, Tape measure, Pencil, Miter saw, Sandpaper

Tools Needed: Crown molding, Trim, 2×4 board, Brackets, Finish nails, Screws

10. Wood Beam Mantel by Designing Vibes

diy wood beam mantel
Image Credit: Designing Vibes

Here is another simple DIY wooden beam mantel from Erica van Slyke of Designing Vibes. It’s a fantastic entry point for those who might be intimidated by crown molding and nailing strips. This plan is also great on a budget and can be finished for around $30.

Materials: Circular saw or miter saw, Trigger clamps, Nail gun, Foam brush

Tools Needed: Common board, Nails, Wood stain

11. Fireplace Mantel Extension by HGTV

diy fireplace mantel extension
Image Credit: HGTV

With this design from HGTV’s weekend projects series, you can take a mantel you like and make it more striking by extending it up to the ceiling. The plan uses fiberboard for most of the extension and includes an optional decorative wooden medallion, but the extension can be decorated any way you like.

Materials: Circular saw, Jig saw, Miter saw, Tape measure, Level, Brushes, Screw gun, Nail gun

Tools Needed: Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), Molding, Wooden medallion, Primer, Paint, Wood screws, Wood glue, Nails, Wood filler, Putty

12. Faux Fireplace with Mantel by Rocky Hedge Farm

diy faux fireplace with mantel
Image Credit: Rocky Hedge Farm

Rocky Hedge Farm is a rustic blog about turning an impersonal manufactured house into a home with comfort and character. This faux fireplace is a great touch for any blank wall, requires only basic tools, and can be built entirely out of salvaged lumber.

Materials: Circular or miter saw, Nail gun

Tools Needed: Scrap lumber, Nails

13. Fireplace Mantel by Chatfield Court

diy fireplace mantel
Image Credit: Chatfield Court

This DIY design by Chatfield Court is a solution for anybody with a TV or monitor that’s too big to fit on their regular mantel. With these plans, you can add a solid beam that looks natural and gives your TV and other devices a place to sit. The author recommends white pine, but you can choose another lumber that fits better with your scheme.

Materials: Saw (if your board isn’t cut to fit), Drill/screwdriver, Brush, Caulking gun

Tools Needed: Cut lumber, Screws, Primer, Paint, Caulk

14. Fireplace Mantel by A Blossoming Life

diy fireplace mantel
Image Credit: A Blossoming Life

A Blossoming Life offers an excellent step-by-step walkthrough of building a new fireplace mantel. The author is adamant that she’d never used a saw before the day she built her mantel, making this an exceptionally beginner-friendly design with lots of helpful advice included.

Materials: Nail gun, Drill, Miter saw, Circular saw

Tools Needed: Boards, Nails, Wood glue

15. Fireplace Mantel by The Idea Room

diy fireplace mantel
Image Credit: The Idea Room

Amy of The Idea Room used this design to spruce up a brick fireplace wall in her basement. It’s a complete mantel and surround that improves upon a bare firebox. A word of warning, though: at its current measurements, it doesn’t permit the fireplace to be lit (see the intro to this article), so you’ll want to size it up if you actually have fires.

Materials: Clamps, Tape measure, Staple gun, Nail gun, Caulking gun, Sandpaper, Brush

Tools Needed: MDF boards, Staples, Nails, Caulk, Primer, Paint

16. Fireplace Surround and Mantel by HGTV

diy new fireplace surround and mantel
Image Credit: Hgtv

This HGTV design features a complete fireplace surround and mantel with a secret ingredient: staircase posts to give it a dash of colonial flair. It requires moderate skills and looks best in whitewash.

Materials: Screw gun, Brushes, rollers, paint sprayer, Caulk gun, Tape measure, Level, Finish nailer, Compressor, Table saw, Miter saw, Power drill, Hammer, Sandpaper

Tools Needed: Newel posts, MDF, Screws, Paint, Crown molding, Shims, Caulk, Nails

17. Faux Railroad Tie Mantel by Scavenger Chic

diy railroad tie mantel
Image Credit: Scavenger Chic

To close out this list, we have a unique spin on the faux-rustic trend, courtesy of Scavenger Chic. With this plan, you’ll learn how to build a fireplace mantel that looks exactly like you made it out of an old railroad tie. The fun part is that you get to “distress” your faux railroad tie by hitting it with a hammer, screwdriver, or meat tenderizer.

Materials: Drill/screwdriver, Tape measure, Sander, Brush, Rag, Level, Power saw, Stud finder

Tools Needed: Aged boards, Screws, Dowel, Wood glue, Wax, Paint


Adding a mantle to your fireplace or replacing an existing one can improve your home’s interior design. Although a professional installation can be pricey, several of the plans we featured don’t require specialized tools or advanced skills. However, it helps to have someone assist you in the construction, especially when you attach the mantel to the wall. We hope you enjoyed reading our DIY fireplace mantle guide and found a design that fits your home.

Featured Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay


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