Snowbound! Project: Redecorate our Mantle to the rescue!

My redecorated mantle

Well here in the midwest we are experiencing large snowfalls and drops in tempertures in epic proportions. Those of you who live in colder climates may laugh at our plight, but dang it, it’s really cold out there and I want no part of it!

So with no shopping, theaters and other outdoor activities taken away, what’s a girl to do to keep it interesting inside her boring old home? Redecorate of coarse!

It was easy to decide what to focus on since we just recently took down all of our Christmas decorations. The one area in our place that looked extremely woeful since de-decorating was our fireplace mantle.

I will be the first to admit that I never gave our mantle any proper everyday decor and just threw any old thing up there to occupy space. Without anything else to do today, I said to myself,  “I can`t take it anymore! Our mantle sucks and we need to do something about it now!”

I will say that redecorating without the ability to go out and buy anything brought its little challenges. I started with looking for ideas on Pinterest to see if I could come up with anything. All the ideas I found were awesome, but I had nothing already at home to re-create the decor I saw.

Well, I took some notes on the mantle decor I loved and asked myself what it was that I really liked about them. I knew I had to keep it simple since I couldn`t buy anything new nor could I go out and purchase a bunch of supplies to make something, I had to think about what I could re-purpose around the house and use the supplies I had on hand to make something new out of it. Lucky for me, I had two cabinets full of art and craft supplies just waiting for me to dust off!

Most of the inspirations I found utilized identical pair of decorations that were placed symetrically on each side of the manntle. I started by wondering around the house looking like a crazed zombie in search of what could claim in the name of the “Mantle”.  Digging through old boxes I came across to very old brass candlesticks- “Jackpot”!

Next in my notes I wrote that I liked mantle decor that used simple elegant words like “Love”, “Faith”, etc. Well, I definitely didn’t have any big wooden letters laying around nor did I have picture frames to place letters into. So I had to get very creative. Soemthing we did have a lot of was really old books without their jackets that would stand up by themselves at various heights. A spark of an idea was born! What if I took some of the wonderful scrapbook paper I collect for journaling and cut out elegant letters to place in the middle of the front book covers? Now we are getting somewhere I thought, but what would be the perfect word? I only had five plain big books to work with. So in comes my husband and says “Relax”. “Eureka”! What an awesome word!

Now my re-decorated mantle was really coming together! Next, I found some old colorful votive candles I never used and placed them strategically between the books. I found two more complimentary colored votives and placed each one on a candlestick. (disclaimer: I never intend to light these little guys ups, so I have no worries about books, flames and wax getting into a muck on my mantle).

I finished off filling the odd spots on the mantle with a stack of small books and placed our loyal lion statue on top of them. On the other side I placed our little green vase with a small lavander flower on the other side to maintain the symetry I was looking for. Both of these figures were all that remained from the origianl mantle decor we used.

With the top of the mantle now complete, I decided next to turn my attention to the really ugly board we use to block our fireplace when not in use (unfortunately our chimeney floo is not working or the board would not be neccessary). With the board, art smock and paint in hand, I got to work re-painting the hideous thing.

I laid the board completely flat I a sturdy work surface. With a sponge and white paint, I covered up the board entirely. Next, I added some brown to the mix to get a nice cream color and re-sponged selective areas to start building some contrast. Then I poured out some gold paint and added a touch of brown to create a nice antique gold color. I found an old un-used jar and dipped the rim in the gold paint and started stamping the board to create a repeating circle pattern. I let that dry while I had lunch. After lunch, I went back to my dried board and took dark brown paint an repeated the circle process with a larger circle in a couple of spots for contrast. I then let this new paint dry while taking another break 🙂

To complete the board, I took some brown colored acrylic ink and placed it in a small art spritzer bottle and started lightly spraying the entire board to bring more warmth and depth to the circles. If you try to duplicate this process DO NOT LET INK DRY as it needs to be semi-wet for the next process to work. As a final step, I took a spritzer bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and lightly sprayed the inside of the larger and smaller circles. Please note that I did not spray all of the circles, just here and there. As an FYI, the alcohol seperates the semi-wet paint on the board to create a cool pattern. After this step, I Iet the board dry completely. It is important to note that I did not move the board at all since the ink and alcohol created small puddles that would turn into drips if you move the board to a vertical position. 

And there you have it ONE completely re-decorated fireplace mantle area! As you might have noticed, I had a lot of time on my hads today and really appreciate if you made it this far in reading my post today. 🙂

Please feel free to post a link in the comment section if you decide to re-decorate your mantle with any of the ideas you found here today- I would love to see what you guys can do!

Until then, stay warm out there!



  1. I’m proud of you! Good job!

  2. Reblogged this on Noe's Happy Place and commented:
    My wife’s story is a perfect example of smiling on a blustery day!!!

  3. adrianne/mom says:

    How creative!!! Loved how you shared the process with your followers. Some really ingenious ideas. Wow, what one determined person can do especially when you didn’t purchase items or any supplies. Impressive! If I had a mantle, I would have been inspired by you to do my own. Hmmmmm …. what can I redecorate? Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. adrianne/mom says:

    A mantle redo on a dime … very imaginative! Love the new makeover. It looks awesome!!! What talent you have baby girl : )

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