Easy Mantel Makeover

A couple of years ago we built a DIY faux fireplace mantel and although I still love it, I always wished we had gone a little bigger. It’s not always easy to decorate, because it’s somewhat skinny. But I change my mind a lot, so I had to figure out how to do something that was sturdy, yet removable.


For the easy mantel makeover, you’ll need a few supplies and tools:

A length of 2×12 (the length will depend on your mantel)

Minwax Color Express stain (walnut was my choice)

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish (I like satin finish)

Command Picture Hanging Strips

Rockwell Sander

Paint Brush

Rubber Gloves

Tack Cloth (for cleaning)

Cotton Cloth (for staining)


Let’s make this!

Measure your existing mantel and figure out how much larger you want the topper, then add those inches on. The nice folks at Lowe’s will cut it to length for you if you ask (I got mine cut out of the same piece I made my wood seat swings from.)



Rockwell Sander



Sand it down all the way around with a palm sander (Rockwell is my tool of choice), making sure to get the ends well. (P.S. If you like this project, you can find more ideas on Rockwell’s Facebook Page.)

After sanding wipe it down well with a tack cloth to get any saw dust or debris off the board.


Next, use Minwax Color Express stain and the cotton cloth to stain the board. Be sure to use gloves, or you’ll be scrubbing stain off your hands until next fall. Cover both sides and all of the edges.

Let the stain dry three hours (or if you want it darker you can put on another coat of stain after 2 hours and then wait three additional hours.)


Brush on the Polycrylic with the paint brush. Let dry six hours before flipping and sealing the bottom.


After the board is sealed, flip upside down and put a Command Picture Hanging Strip a few inches from the end, on the back edge of the bottom side of the board. Peel the paper off one side and stick it to the topper. Then peel off the other paper, center it onto your original mantel and press down to stick the two pieces together.

My mantel before topper…


And after the topper…


Pretty big impact for less than an hour of hands on time, don’t you think?I love the addition of the wood, but if I get tired of it in three months I can pull it off and go back to the original look. And that’s the beauty of an easy mantel makeover.

LCI fall graphic

Want more ideas for fall decorating? Download the Lowe’s Creative Ideas app for tons of great tips and projects.

LCI fall

You can also follow Lowe’s on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

*Thanks to Lowe’s & Rockwell Tools for partnering with me on this post. All ideas, opinions and words are 100% my own.*

About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. I love this idea Gina! Our mantel is too small, not much depth, could be longer. You’ve given me a solution that is doable, affordable and looks awesome! Thanks!

  2. That looks great and I totally love the color of the fpl with the wood of the top!

    I have a faux mantel too but I bought a facade at a flea market and we built a little firebox on the back of it so I could have a place to set some candles.

  3. This is so brilliant, Gina! I told my husband that I wanted to add a wider section of wood to ours and being that we are in a rental that caused an issue with holes and patching when we move. I hope that you shared this on HT. I am going to pin it, now! Thanks for making my , soon to be, Christmas mantel more accommodating for displays!

  4. Love this! I just forwarded it to my good friend Jenna over at Rain On A Tin Roof who is always jealous of my fireplace mantel. I told her she can make her own like Gina did!!
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com

  5. Stephanie says:

    So awesome, thanks for sharing! Where can I find peacock feathers like these?

  6. So smart! I just painted my faux mantel and I’m thinking it might need this treatment… Lovely! Thanks!


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