Our 1925 home must’ve looked really different when it was first built or so I imagine. Thinking about what the rooms looked like back then made me wish there were more fireplaces around. Our home is crying out for a centerpiece like a fireplace. We have been looking at modernethanolfireplaces.com recently. That’s when my nephew’s old twin bed headboard morphed into a fun, kid-friendly DIY faux fireplace! You can create one yourself without any tools or gadgets. Here’s how!
DIY Faux Fireplace
For years, my nephew’s old headboard and foot board sat in the upstairs storage (technically, our master bedroom). We had been holding on to them because of the quality solid wood, in case Shawn wanted to build something with them. When we decided to move upstairs, the room had to be cleared so the painters and flooring guys could do their magic. The footboard got tossed, but I saved the headboard, because I had plans, big plans. The fine detail and grain of the wood was so beautiful, it would be perfect as a mantle in my Daisy’s room some day.
The Mantle or Firebox
Because Daisy’s furniture is off-white and walls are lavender, the headboard would add yet another variation to an already busy room (i.e. toys, lots of them). I couldn’t bear splashing white paint over the beautiful wood, so the headboard was set in Shawn’s office, embellished with books and Aboriginal art above it.
That headboard sat there for a good year, while I gathered ideas on how to transform into a child and pet-friendly faux fireplace. It’s easy to find a twin headboard for less than $100 online. There are many options, but there is a blue distressed one which stands tall on my wishlist. It has a cottage or rustic farmhouse look about it that I love. Maybe it would be perfect in the kitchen.
Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse
Eventually, we ditched the old headboard and made our own charming fire box out of a cardboard shipping box and some ordinary acrylic paint. This is a great way to save some money if you don’t want to splurge on the headboard and, honestly, it looks way cuter! This is recycling at its best.
Get the kids involved. We just used black and white paint, but you can get really creative and draw fake bricks on the outside of the box. Daisy really enjoyed helping. We carved an arched opening to give it that vintage Victorian look and slapped on some mounds of black acrylic paint to give it a textured look like real cast iron.
It adds such cozy flare to Daisy’s bedroom. We had it decorated for Halloween and Autumn. Soon, the Christmas decorations will come out and we’ll have fun, getting ready for Santa’s visit. Maybe we’ll set out some homemade cookies for him and some carrots for his reindeer.
The Fireplace Floor
There are different thoughts on how to mimic the hearth. I played with the idea of arranging bricks, but they’d eventually get tossed around by rambunctious pups in play or pose a tripping hazard. The better and more economical solution was a floor mat, one that had the appearance of real brick, but wasn’t made of actual brick and cost $32.
Fire needs 3 things: Heat+O2+Fuel.
We’re not looking to start a real fire, but something that looks as close to the real deal as safely possible. It’s not a cozy fire without the logs.
Birch is probably my favorite log. We don’t exactly live in an area where I can stroll out the back door and chop down my own tree. So, I did what any self-respecting citified girl would and ordered mine online for $35.
The Log Grate
It took forever for the postie to deliver my logs or at least it seemed like forever since I was so excited about setting up the fireplace. When they finally got here, I piled them under the headboard over the floor mat, but it just didn’t look right.
In order to look like a proper fireplace, those lovely birch logs really need to be elevated in some sort of fireproof container. I hmm’ed and ha’ed at various things, like galvanized metal buckets or perhaps a metal tray of some kind. I even considered just buying a real fireplace from Gastech Heating & Fireplace Calgary but money was tight so I’ll have to wait a few months before I can get a real fire put in our house.
The best and most authentic answer was what would be used in an actual fireplace, this thing called a grate. The basic design has cast iron posts sticking out and I could see Daisy gouging her ankle with one of those. There is one design that has a flat rail across both the front and back of the grill, making it much safer for pets and children. For $30, the straight-edged grate cradles the logs in perfect form. You could even make a grate yourself, but you would need the appropriate equipment like a welding torch and a welding surface, so if you don’t have them and aren’t experienced in DIY and metal fabrication then perhaps you should just buy one.
We want fire, but not real fire. Just the look, especially with small children and furry four-legged friends about. That’s why LED proves to be the best and for $8, beautiful copper lines studded with glowing drops of light feed the imagination perfectly. Tucked under some of the logs and floating about the top ones creates a believable image.
The radio is always running, no matter when I am. At home, there’s always music playing somewhere and at work, my headphones are my favorite accessory. Lately, though, it seems I prefer the sound of silence or is it the sound of Nature? Last night, for example, I got home and charged to the kitchen with dinner in mind. There was a gentle rainfall outside. So I shut the radio off and opened the kitchen window so I could hear the pitter-patter of the little droplets hitting the leaves. The crackling and popping of sparks from a “fire” is my next favorite sound. That was the only essential bit missing from our DIY Faux Fireplace, found for $30.
The Smoky Scent
Ours is To make your little creation even more plausible, add some the scent of a fire with some incense. You’ll be surprised to see how much variety is available…cedar, juniper, mesquite. The best is the multi-pack that gives you different ones to try 7 types of wood, 7 incense bricks each and the holder for $11.
Ours is a really teeny house with a big living room. Small bedrooms, small kitchen, big living, the 1920’s floor plan alludes to the lifestyle of the times which focused on entertaining and not so much on today’s treasured “me-time.” The living room was the heart of the house. There was no such thing as a master bedroom with an ensuite. The roof overhangs the front porch, making it the perfect place to sit and greet passsersby, even in the rain. Family life was different in the ’20’s. More emphasis was placed on gatherings.
When our house was built the world was such a different place. Back then, there was no such thing as central A/C. Each room probably had to be heated individually and, so a fireplace was built into vital spaces such as the living room, dining room and bedrooms. Over time, old homes are renovated and updated to compliment modern lifestyles. Sadly, built-in book shelves and hutches are ripped out, fireplaces hidden behind drywall. Reviving the original style of our home requires extensive knowledge, skill and hard work. I have neither the skill nor the expertise to tear down walls and draw gas lines, which is why companies such as Universal HVAC exist.
But I didn’t let that stop me from reviving the essence of the past. This DIY Faux Fireplace has mimics the look and feel of a real fireplace brilliantly. Shawn was out of town for work when we got to work and set it up. We wanted to surprise him with something really nice in his office. Daisy and I cozied up to the “fire” shortly after we finished setting it up. Next time you’re cleaning out the house, take a closer look at anything made with fine, solid wood and try to repurpose it. If you can’t find a twin headboard, get one online and for less than $200, you can build your own DIY Faux Fireplace that looks, sounds and smells like the real one within minutes!