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Make a simple fireplace surround

It's easy to update a boring fireplace with a simple surround that adds a decorative finish and a more modern look.



2 table legs or balustrade posts*
16mm SupaWood (MDF)
3 x 25mm cut screws
Small panel pins
Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint
Paintbrush, foam roller or Bosch PFS paint spray system
Cornice or crown moulding
Wood filler
No More Nails glue
Tape measure
Spirit level
Drill/Driver and assorted drill and screw bits
Jigsaw, table saw and a mitre saw
Orbital sander and 220-grit sandpaper

*You can buy most of the supplies you need at your local Builders Warehouse. For the table legs or balustrade posts, shop online for secondhand bargains, recycle an old piece that you already have, or ask someone you know to 'turn' the legs for you.






1. To build the side columns for the new surround, use 16mm SupaWood to construct two rectangular boxes with open backs. Determine the size of your boxes by measuring the distance from the brick to the edge of the mantel and then from the mantel to the floor.

2. Lay a post onto the front of one of the boxes, opposite the open end. Centre the post on the box; mark its placement with a pencil. Remove the post and flip the box over. Drill 3mm pilot holes from the inside of the box. Flip the box back over and spread glue on the post where it will touch the box. Then attach the post to the box with screws from the underside.

Repeat the process for the other box. (Our newel post wasn’t as tall as our box, so we added a block wood with moulding to the bottom of the post.)

3. Sand the edges and seal any gaps and nail holes with the No More Nails.

4. The top mantel shelf is constructed by making a SupaWood box as you did for the columns, with a flat piece for the top [see image top] and then building up a decorative finish with cornice or crown moulding. The mantel shelf sits on top of the two panel sections.

5. Measure and mitre cut the cornice or crown moulding for the mantel.

6. Use small panel pins and a and hammer to attach the moulding to the SupaWood box and then apply No More Nails to seal gaps or nail holes.

7. Sand all the edges and any rough areas with 220-grit sandpaper before painting.

8. For painting you can use Plascon Double Velvet and apply with either a paintbrush, foam roller or spray system, or you can simply spray with Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint (remember that you will need to do this outdoors).

9. Use wall plugs and screws to secure the panels and mantel to the wall on either side of the fireplace.


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