The humble fireplace has come a long way. Once merely a means of cooking up grub and keeping rooms warm, it's now a ceremonial focal point that symbolizes the cozy comforts of winter—and a wood mantel gives the hearth even more warmth.

Though there's no shortage of pre-made mantels on the market, we're DIYers at heart, so we set out to build one from off-the-shelf lumber.

We opted for a traditional-looking design that goes with many types of decor. Made of ¾-inch veneer plywood, our mantel is layered with elegant pilasters that are wrapped with stock moldings and baseboard, and topped with a trimmed-out shelf.

As with any fireplace project, safety is paramount. National codes require at least 6 inches of clearance all around the firebox and an additional 1 inch for every inch a mantel protrudes from the surface; local codes might be stricter. So tailor your design or pick your product accordingly. A cardboard template can help you determine whether a mantel is the right size and scale for your space. And make sure to secure it properly to the fireplace—find complete instructions at thisold Install one soon, and you'll love how it frames your favorite gathering spot.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • drill
    • brad nailer
      Brad nailer

    Shopping List

    1. 1x1

    2. ¾-inch veneer plywood

    3. 1x5

    4. ½x¾-inch shoe molding

    5. Crown molding

    6. Astragal molding7. Doorstop molding

    8. Integrated baseboard

    9. Wood glue

    10. 1 -inch trim-head screws

    11. 1 ½-inch finishing nails