DIY (ish) Faux Fireplace

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My first post! Starting it off with one of the easiest and coolest projects I’ve ever done. One of the biggest challenges with living in a rental is trying to customize the space, temporarily. Projects need to be portable and can’t involve altering the structure of the home.

This faux fireplace took me a few months to piece together. The fireplace surround (kamin konsole in German) was purchased on ebay.de and was pretty bare bones and basic.

fireplacebefore

It was in need of a hearth and a background of some sort. I planned on making the hearth with wood, but ended up using a door that broke off my daughter’s wardrobe. It fit perfectly!

fireplacehearth

I then painted the top part of the mantle with brown acrylic paint from the craft store and applied some milk paint wax to seal it (it’s all I had on hand).

mantle

It was getting closer to being finished, but the biggest challenge was the back (or the lack thereof). I’m not experienced enough with tools to know how to cut brick, so real brick wasn’t an option. The faux brick wallpaper didn’t have the realness I was wanting. And so it sat like this for a about a month.
One day I decided to look on pinterest for more ideas and I came across this DIY Faux Brick Panel by CraftPassion. She used styrofoam! I didn’t have a smoldering iron nor a Polystyrene Foam cutter and wasn’t able to find the Make it Stone! paint she used for her project….but I still tried it anyway and I think it turned out pretty awesome!


You only need a few tools and materials to create this panel and if you don’t already own them, they are pretty cheap to buy. For me, this project cost $12!

Here are the tools and materials I used:

materials

-A sheet of styrofoam that is 3/4″ thick (It was 1.99 euro for one sheet at the German hardware store Hornbach) and the sheet size was 39.5″ x 19.5″
-Black spraypaint
-A ruler
-Handsaw
-Pencil
-Wood glue or similar
-Wood panel (size depends on your project)
-Safety goggles

*Note: DO NOT use superglue, like I have pictured here. It WILL MELT the styrofoam…lesson learned! Also, I did not use wood as the backing for my styrofoam bricks. No one spoke english at this store and I shamefully don’t speak any useful German, so I wasn’t able to ask anyone to cut the wood to size for me. So I improvised and used this really thick and sturdy material found in the insulation area. I think you can get creative with using a backing because the syrofoam is so light. Again, just be cautious of the glue!

  1. Using a pencil and ruler, measure and draw your bricks. I decided to make my bricks 2″ tall by 6″ wide.
    measure
  2. Then, carefully begin to saw along your lines. It’s okay if the edges are jagged and not totally even and also if the bricks aren’t the exact same size. Once they’re painted you can’t even tell and in fact I think it gives it a more real look. Also, if some pieces break while you’re cutting, keep them for the edge pieces!I suggest wearing safety goggles because pieces go EVERYWHERE. It’s pretty messy, but cleanup was easy…just use a hose vacuum for the small pieces. I’m guessing the Polystyrene Foam cutter might be cleaner, but I was just happy the handsaw worked at all.
    messy
  3. After you’ve cut enough pieces, lay them out and stagger them like you would bricks. Notice how many of the bricks are different sizes and uneven. Just try to make sure the spacing is even.
    Lay the first row of bricks out.
    For the next row, start with a smaller piece (about half size brick..see photo)
    Then for the next row, start with the regular size brick again. Repeat the pattern,
    bricks
  4. Once all the pieces are laid out, you can begin gluing them on, one-by-one. Let the bricks dry for at least a few hours before spray painting.
  5. For the first coat of spray paint, stand back 8″-12″ and move in a fast back and forth motion. The spray paint DOES melt the styrofoam a little. BUT it gives them a very cool effect and I think that’s why I didn’t need the smoldering iron. That’s why it’s important to spray a bit further back and in a quick back and forth motion. Try to cover as much of the bricks as possible. After 30 ish minutes, apply the second coat and get in between the spaces as much as possible. You’ll notice the sytrofoam start to shrink a bit, so be sure to use caution one how much is being affected. I still had some spots that weren’t covered and am going to use some black paint to touch up.What was really cool about the spray paint is that some of the white still peaks through! It makes the brick look like it’s been used before, giving it a more real look. It was a total accident, but worked perfect!
    It’s STILL not finished because I want to add another frame around the front part, but for now I’m pretty happy with the before and after.
    beforeafter

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