How to Build a Fireplace Surround for Candles

Written by katherine harder
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How to Build a Fireplace Surround for Candles
Pillar candles create a nice glow but need less maintenance than a fire. (Candles image by Tasha from

Wood-burning fireplaces pollute the air, create a fire hazard and require regular heavy-duty cleaning. On the other hand, fireplaces go a long way toward adding architectural interest to a room, and little compares to the ambience they provide. Have the best of both worlds with a DIY faux fireplace surround. Fill your self-built fireplace surround with multiple pillar candles and holders and light them on a cool autumn evening when you're craving the comforts of a flame-filled hearth.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Long level
  • Measuring tape
  • 3/4-inch plywood sheet
  • Table saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Latex paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Crown moulding
  • Mitre box
  • Wood glue
  • Construction-strength adhesive
  • Polyurethane

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  1. 1

    Lightly sketch your faux fireplace over the wall where you intend to place it, using a pencil. Create level and straight lines using your long level, and draw your intended faux fireplace's opening, too. Divide your drawn fireplace into pieces by drawing lines between your fireplace's mantel and legs, and decide on a depth for your faux fireplace's legs and mantel.

  2. 2

    Measure your fireplace's pieces, using a measuring tape. Cut out two pieces of plywood that measure as wide and high as your fireplace drawing's legs, using a table saw. Cut out two more pieces that match your drawn fireplace's leg's height as well as the intended depth of your fireplace's legs.

  3. 3

    Create two backless, topless and bottomless boxes from the pieces you just cut out, using the last two pieces as sides for the boxes and the first two as fronts. Attach them together with nails and cover them with paint. Allow the two constructed, painted boxes to dry; your faux fireplace's legs are complete.

  4. 4

    Cut out two plywood pieces that match the depth and width of your intended fireplace mantel. Cut out two more pieces to match the intended depth and height of your fireplace mantel. Cut out one piece that matches the height and width of your intended mantel.

  5. 5

    Attach these pieces to each other, using a hammer and nails to create a backless box; the last piece you cut is the front of the box, the pieces before that are the sides and the first two pieces serve as the top and bottom. Paint your constructed mantel with latex paint and a paintbrush and allow it to dry.

  6. 6

    Construct a similar box out of your remaining plywood, using a second sheet if necessary. This last box will serve as a hearth and a place to set your candles. Make this box larger than the mantel so it'll easily support the mantel when it sits atop your faux fireplace's legs.

  7. 7

    Cut your crown moulding to match the width and depth of your mantel; use a mitre box to get perfectly connecting angles. Glue your crown moulding to the front and side of your mantel; allow the glue to dry.

  8. 8

    Assemble your pieces, using construction-strength adhesive. Lay your faux fireplace surround on its "back" to put together the pieces. Give the glue time to fully cure before standing up your faux fireplace surround.

  9. 9

    Add one final coat of paint after you've completed assembly. Seal your paint job with a coat of polyurethane and a paintbrush. Place it against the wall once it's dried, over your drawing. Set candles inside the "opening" to complete your project.

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