Monday, December 17, 2012

Building a Christmas Mantelpiece.

 Firstly, I apologise for the sub-par level 
of some of these photographs.
My camera hates indoor shots,
and anything not in
brilliant daylight.

My camera also makes me look like
a middle-aged woman,
which can't be right.

a long time ago I showed you some images
from the on-going project
of Hubby's Steampunk Study.

Started here.
No, I'm not ashamed.

Hubby is now ensconced
in his study and loves it.
He's in there so much,
it scares the heck out of me 
and the dog
when he comes out

What he 
wanted for his study 
was a fireplace.

This house is built of wooden boards 
and plastic strips and so
doesn't have a chimney of any kind
But I found the beginnings of a fireplace
on a neighbour's dump. 


I don't know what it was, originally.

Confession time.
I do know how to do some minor woodwork.
My claim to carpentry skills is that
I used to make rocking horses.

I loved the carving and 
I loved the designing
and  planning.
I hated the sawing and 
screwing gluing.

So I used a sheet of drywall
for my basic construction.

Yes, I have worries, too.
It's really not one of the things
drywall is designed to do.

Anyway, forging ahead in blissful ignorance,
here is my basic design.
An insert, edged with 
moulding for support. 

The little ceramic shield
was a gift from my dear friend Kate.
I'd link her blog but
despite my protests.

Moulding, rondels and little heraldic device
all glued with Liquid Nail. 
This was a real craftsman's job, ladies and gentlemen.

Gluing the fireplace to the mantelpiece.
Of course, what I'm actually doing is gluing the
 PAPER of  the drywall to the mantelpiece.

Paint it black.
The black paint was magic.
It made everything fit together.
It even, (kinda, sorta)
looked like cast iron,
which was what I was going for.

Now, the worrying bit.
Even though I left this glued and drying 
for three days,
I still expected it to fall apart
when I stood it upright.


That, there, is a fake fire.
Fake as a wig,
 fake as a glass eye.
It doesn't even heat up,
it's just a red light bulb
and some split timber.

It's kitsch and tawdry
and perfect for what I needed.


It even crackles like a real fire!

I've made a mantel shelf, by gluing two
boards of the drywall together,
 leaving the finished edges at the front
so that it painted nice and smooth.

And I'm making a fireback,
otherwise the Ugly Wallpaper
will show through and rather spoil the illusion.

Why yes! That is a skull 
with a paint can on its face.
 Long story.


You'll understand my excitement
because, when this is finished,
 I get to decorate a mantelpiece
and hang stockings on a fireplace
for the first time in a decade!


  1. It looks great! I can't wait to see it decked out in it's Christmas finery.

    Making rocking horses sounds amazing! You should share some photos. :-)

    1. I think I have one! Somewhere... It would give ne a chance to try out my new scanner.!


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