November 16, 2010

Step by step fireplace design

For the last two weeks I've been in overdrive at work getting ready for our first Holiday party this Saturday.  Last week I built a fireplace out of wire organizing cubes and foam board.  It took a lot of revisions but here is my step by step guide for making your own fireplace.

Step 1:  create the base
In our back stock area we had leftover wire cubes for organizing that you can purchase at Staples or any office store.  You could probably make it out of wood or foam core but the wire was perfect for stability and it was sturdy enough to hold the wood mantel piece up.

Step 2:  Fix up a Holiday background
The spot in the store where I wanted to put the mantel is covered in windows.  I wanted to create a home like atmosphere so I used a simple gift wrap with silver snowflakes on it that wasn't overwhelming but had enough Christmas feeling to it.

Step 3:  Fill in the fireplace background
I purchased 2 yards of black fabric and taped it to the inside of the cubes.

Step 4: Make the brick
Using left over foam board from a previous work project I cut each piece to fit around the cubes and attached the corners using gummed tape.  You can find it at the craft store with the water color supplies.  Its nice because one side is sticky like envelope sealer and the other side is paintable like paper.  (the foam boards were not tall enough to fit the wire structure so I cut out extra pieces at the bottom and attached them so they looked like there was extra depth of wood trim) Then I cut out various brick patterns and traced them onto the foam.  I painted in the mortar with gray paint and then painted the bricks mixing red, white and brown colors to make a more realistic brick pattern.

Step 5: add wood trim and a mantel
Using balsa wood I created a faux wood trim for the bottom of the fireplace legs.  For the mantel I thought of using the same material but real wood had a more substantial look, and I could find a piece of balsa wood that was long enough for the whole mantel.

To attach the mantel to the wire frame I was going to use double sided foam tape but it wasn't sturdy enough so I screwed in eye hooks used for hanging picture frames at the desired height to hid the wire frames (pictured above).  And then I zip tied it to the wire cubes (Below).

Step 6: Add a chimney and some stockings
To finish the display I added a Christmas tree, stockings (see my stocking post), a tree skirt and other home like decor to make this my best store display yet.


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