I have a challenging fireplace.
While I love my fireplace rock, it’s dark and tricky to work with. Add in the fact that the scale of the fireplace is large, makes working with it even more of a challenge. Most everything disappears into thin air if the accessories aren’t equally hefty.
I did however desire something new for the fireplace mantel this year to help brighten things up, so when I came across Pretty Handy Girl’s barn door she made, I was immediately inspired! Thanks Brittany!
And here is my version!
I found the wood and hinges at that great junkin’ bonanza next door I told you about HERE. Free stock! Doesn’t get any better than that.
~ Decorating tips for a dark fireplace ~
Mini lights are your best friend. They glow like candlelight yet are much safer than flames. I set them in place first,
then decorate around them. The greens are hiding the light strings but you can be sure, the lights were making a big difference! The curvy glass jar filled with pinecones catches the light to offer a nice contrast to the rust.
See that rusty star burst thing? I have a special post coming up about that! It was sent from Iris over at Treasuring The Journey. LOVE it Iris!
My chosen theme this year is ‘vintage whatcha already got’ so the Pepsi bottle makes an appearance to help catch some light. The lights behind the ripply glass have a pretty neat effect. Plus it can even serve to hold a candle if desired.
This galvanized bucket (thanks Vic!) is holding a live evergreen branch in water. The burlap was simply cut and placed to appear like a rootball was present.
And there you have yourself a merry little junkin’ Christmas! For free.
Would you like to make an old gate too? It’s so easy!
~ How I did it ~
Tools I used:
- palm sander
- cordless drill with screw fittings and small drill bit
- circular miter saw
- 2 hinges
- a pull handle (not shown)
- screws gone wild in a magnetic bowl
1. Decide on the size.
I started with these precut cedar boards I had. They were the perfect height, so I simply decided on a width.
A little trial with something in front and I deemed it 5 boards wide.
2. Dry fit the boards.
Lay out your design so you know where you need to make your cuts.
3. Mark your cut areas with a pencil.
4. Make your cuts with a circular miter saw.
While any saw will do, I highly recommend one of these! Don’t own one? Ask Santa. I couldn’t live without mine. If you upgraded to one that pulls towards you to engage in longer cuts, I’ll trade ya…
5. Dry fit once again with your cut pieces.
6. Lightly sand the boards.
I desired texture on these boards for a distressed look, so I went over them with the palm sander very lightly just to take the ‘slivers’ out. If you go overboard on this one, you’ll end up with brand new boards, so just decide what look you’re after prior to sanding.
I also like sanding outdoors and find this collapsible table totally invaluable for lickety split setups.
7. Decide on the screws and drill you will use.
While you can use nails, my personal preference is screws. If you mess up, it’s easier to fix. Plus with this method, your mounting will be hidden.
Ensure your screws are more shallow than your overlapping boards by simply holding them to the side to check. (see diagram below)
Predrilling holes is a good idea so your boards don’t split on you. Choose a drill with a diameter slightly under the screw thickness. I used one alot smaller because the right one was ‘missing.’
8. To attach your boards, simply slide the works towards you over the edge of the table and get your son to work below. (predrill all, then screw all)
If there’s an easier way dear real woodworking friends, please speak! I always move the boards if I try to flip them over so this was just easier for me.
9. Paint if desired.
While the gate was pretty cute left in it’s natural state, I required something abit lighter for my space, so I went with white.
I LOVE working with ceiling paint! It’s got a finish that is amazing, and I never bother to prime. This stuff has body. Pretty amazing stuff.
I chose to paint just down the middle of the boards so I didn’t have to sand away as much for a distressed finish. I wanted lots of wood exposed.
10. Sand your finish as desired.
Ceiling paint dries quickly, so you have to work fast. If you let it cure for too long, the finish is tough as nails and you just have to work harder.
The gate turned out exactly the way I envisioned it,
and it looks great with all the distressed whites upstairs. Love it!
I’ll be tweaking the mantel after I put up my tree. I really prefer to work on them together and my tree is still buried deeeep under the stairs. (I may hold out for a real one this year!)
So stay tuned for the permanent update. Coming soon!
Now to make some free junkin’ tree ornaments… hmmm..
How do you deal with a dark fireplace?
I’ll take any tips I can get!
Kim over at Us in Otto was inspired and made her own!