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I flew to California to help my DIY bestie, Michelle, build a faux fireplace. We build this fireplace surround in ONE weekend and also crammed in a lot more fun and I made so many new friends!
Luckily we brought it inside at this point to see how it looked in the space because the measurements were WAY off! We were so confused at first until we realized what happened. We looked at the tape measure upside down when measuring the taped outline she had put on the wall to visually determine how big she wanted it, we read 63 instead of 93…we didn’t measure twice and cut once! Oops! But it made for a good laugh and we were able to reuse the plywood.
Oh, the look of confusion…
We used 2x4s on the back, these will be used to attach the fireplace to the studs in the wall.
When we built the outside we added a strip of plywood (that was about 1.5in thick) to the inside of the face to make the plywood appear thicker, this also gave us a lip to attach the face to. We flipped it over and added the face with pocket holes and glue. Always use glue! It will make your build so much stronger.
Since we were going to be adding a faux roman clay texture to the front of this using joint compound and paint we didn’t have to have a single piece of plywood to create the face. We pieced plywood together using pocket holes and glue in order not to have to buy more plywood. We only needed 2 sheets of 4×8 plywood for this build. This is Roman Clay for anyone who doesn’t know, joint compound and paint is A LOT cheaper. A lot of the time I just use a flat surface and my body weight to keep the pieces flush.
We brought it inside hoping it would fit and that we measured correctly. We didn’t have the fireplace insert yet because it got delayed in shipping, so we had to go by their measurements on the Touchstone website. This actually worked out really well because the measurements were perfect and easy to read on the site!
At this point we were super excited because we could see it start to come together!
We made sure it was centered and then attached this piece with lots of wood glue and brad nails. We also cut down an additional strip of plywood and doubled it’s thickness by glueing the strips together and then adding to the outline of the center to give it more dimension.
Michelle cut out the baseboard with her multitool so that the fireplace would sit flush against the wall.
Then it was time to mix the joint compound and paint to determine what color we wanted to go with. You don’t need much paint in your joint compound to make the faux roman clay look. But also remember, it always dries lighter than it is when you put it on. We tested out 3 different colors and even played around with mixing them together. We put them on some scrap plywood and let them dry before we determined what color we wanted to go with.
We smeared the faux roman clay on with plastic drywall knifes and let it dry. The coats don’t need to be very thick, it’s all about layering.
If you don’t get the color right the first time, that’s okay! You will be adding more layers so you can play around with the color till it’s perfectly what you’re envisioning. This first layer ended up being way more pink than we were anticipating and matched her curtains almost perfectly! It was a pretty color but we were trying to get a darker color to go a little more bold. We mixed more paint and tested it out on the side that wouldn’t show as much.
The next coat was darker and exactly what we wanted! We ended up going with Gardeners Soil by Behr mixed with a little gray paint Michelle had left over from a past project.
But then we sanded it to get a smooth finish, which turned the color lighter again.
We waited and waited for the Touchstone fireplace insert to arrive before I had to leave to fly back to Texas but it was delayed because of weather and other things, but their customer service was amazing and their products are gorgeous and high quality! **This was us watching down the street for a FedEx truck to magically appear in the horizon**
I did end up having to leave before the fireplace arrived and I was so sad to go! But we did celebrate our wins with champaign before I left!
Michelle got it all installed and sent me pictures of how amazing it looks all together! She said she couldn’t be happier with this fireplace insert. It’s gorgeous and puts out a good amount of heat when the heat setting is turned on! It has a blue color flame, a red color flame and a mix of the 2 colors. She said she will most likely only use the red because she likes that it looks realistic. This was the perfect touch to warm up her living room and that back wall is now designed perfectly! Here’s a few befores and beautiful afters for you!
I think with a good set of plans, this could be very beginner friendly! Are you thinking about tackling your own faux fireplace now??
Next up, my entryway.