I bought this Mantel in an Ebay auction, can't remember what I paid for it but it wasn't very much.. the shipping was more because it came from the UK. :/
It's made of plaster I think and it's a bit banged up with chips out of it and edges broken off.
But I don't really care, I liked the fairly simple traditional style and given my house is going to be a bit shabby, I just think it adds rustic charm. :)
In my imagination my house has been around for a long time and had many owners and the fireplaces have had a few bangs as the little people moved their furniture in and out.
I could just prop this fireplace up against the wall and be done with it, but that doesn't make my realism loving heart sing. So now I needed to build it a chimney breast and hearth.
I started by making a chimney breast out of foam core. I used the dimensions of the mantel plus half an inch on each side for the the face of the breast. Then I decided how deep I wanted the firebox to be and cut sides to match (about an inch because I have a particular phoenix miniatures insert in mind).
I measured the inner dimensions of the mantel and cut out the hearth space by marking the middle point of the chimney breast an marking half the width of the inner dimensions of the mantel outwards off this mark. This way the hole is centred on the chimney breast.
It's pretty rough, but it doesn't have to be pretty because it will be covered with card-stock and the mantel will cover the rest.
I did cut mitred corners because I wasn't sure what kind of finish I was going to give it at the time and I filled in any imperfections with spackle and gave it a sand. The mitred corners were relatively easy to make because I have a Foam Werks bevel cutter which does the job with ease. Any mistakes were operator error.. lol
Next I made the fire box to fit inside the hearth using the cut out piece from the mantel face as the back and then measuring the side walls of the chimney breast for the sides.
I then started bricking it with egg carton bricks. You'll note my fire box has a "lid".. this is not because I want the chimney to be bricked up, but because I don't want anyone to be able to see up the fireplace chimney breast as this will be where I hide most of my wiring for the house. It's really just to give the illusion of the bricking continuing up the chimney.
It's good to have a little selection of bricks to choose from as you go. And there is my pile of deconstructed egg cartons. ;)
With chimney breast and Mantel in place... for a look at progress and to make sure everything is straight.
Firebox back done. :)
The shims between the roof & the sides are just to give the roof a bit of height and an angle so that it's not massively obvious when put together. Remember it's supposed to be an illusion ;)
And with sides complete and breast and mantel in place. I think it's turning out well. :)
Next up is painting the bricks. I gave them a base coat of burnt sienna stippled on and then used a black wash to soot them up. This fire place has been used... alot!
I'm not worried about the little spots that don't have paint, it kind of looks like left over mortar on the bricks. I like that, it adds an old brick feel.
I still need to seal this and then grout. Not sure what I'm going to use for that. Either paperclay or spackle are most likely. Once I have that done, I'll used some dark washes to dirty it up too.
Here's what it looks like all together. I love it! :D
And in the house.
Ignore the "marble" hearth.. it's just a place marker. I still need to make a proper one. That should be interesting! :)
And here it is with wallpaper, dirty grout and my polymer clay "marble" hearth. I'll tell you how I made that in another post. 😉