Tuesday, November 15, 2016

$1 DIY Fireplace!!!

Today is a DIY that I'm so incredibly excited to share with you all! I'm also very proud of myself with this creation, because it's something that I've wanted for so long. 

When my dad and I moved into a house at the age of 7, the first thing I asked was, "can we light the fireplace?". Unfortunately it was mid-summer, but as soon as the weather permitted we had fires. I would go to sleep in the living room near the fireplace (I was on the couch for those worried if I'd catch on fire) and wake up with such a sense of joy. That's something I've wanted to recreate for my son. Living in an apartment though, we can't really start laying brick and make a real wood-burning fireplace. 

After months of research and trying to decide how to duplicate a fireplace, without racking up a huge electrical bill, I've come across quite a few different cardboard alternatives on Pinterest. These were mostly geared toward's Christmas time and giving themselves a festive way to hang the stockings. While I wasn't anti-cardboard, I did want to try and figure out how to do it without spending anything extra (besides the brick). I also didn't know where I'd put an extra piece of faux-furniture. 

I had made a trip to Goodwill recently, where I found a brand new roll of "brick plastic" (see that post HERE). Once every other Christmas decoration was put up - besides getting a real Christmas tree - I found myself contemplating how to efficiently use the brick roll. That's when it dawned on me! I could "wrap" my smaller living room bookcase (which I use for my DVD's) and use it as the fireplace! Confused? No worries, I'll show exactly how I did it and how you can too!

All you're going to need is:

A bookcase or nightstand (even a dresser could work)
A roll of fake brick (either plastic or contact paper, mine was $1)
Measuring tape
Pen or pencil

The first thing you need to do, is make sure you have enough brick roll. I just wrapped it around my bookcase loosely, to make sure that it wouldn't be too close of a call. 

I also suggest moving your bookcase/nightstand to the location that you want your faux fireplace to be. If you try to move it afterwards, you run the risk of ruining your creation by possibly tearing the plastic/contact paper.

The last thing prior to starting, is to clean the inside (where your fake fire will be) and move any shelves out of the way. Get an idea on how you'd like it to look more or less. Do you want a big hole for the fake fire? Are you using candles inside? What about a small hole with brick on the inside and a string of lights over real wood? This will all affect how you proceed.

I chose to make my own fake wood that would light up (stay tuned for that post very soon!) and I didn't want brick on the inside. I also decided to have a medium sized hole, but enough room on the sides for a "dark shadow" effect. 

Now let's get started!

1. Measure each side that you want your bookcase/nightstand to be covered with your roll of brick. Mark down each measurement on a piece of paper, then use those numbers to cut your pieces out of the brick roll. Once you have all your pieces cut, lay them out on the ground, mimicking the fireplace's layout. 

2. Start by taping on each section, piece by piece. You can use double-sided tape to achieve a clean line, without any sort of tape showing. Another alternative (but use this tip with caution), would be to use a low-temp glue gun and make small glue dots in the corners and on the edges. I say use caution, because while most of the time it won't damage (on finished wood), it can cause minor scraps from you trying to remove the glue (it comes off easy, I already tested it). If you treasure your bookcase/nightstand dearly and don't want to risk it, stick with tape. Otherwise, go for it. Mine was old, so I used a combination of tape and hot glue dots from my low-temp glue gun. 

3. When everything is put on , add some garland to create a festive mantel look and proceed with decorating! You can hang your stockings from it or just place a light up village on top like I did! 

As I mentioned before, if you wish to see how I got my fake fire to light up with "realistic" DIY fake wood, you'll have to check back in for a future post that will be coming VERY soon! I promise.

The thing I love about this DIY, is that you can alter it so many ways. You could choose to use a white brick contact paper/plastic, for a clean classic look. You can also "decorate" the inside anyway you want. I described a few different alternatives above and all reign true with this DIY. Flame less candles would make for - another - classic "White Christmas" feel, stacked wood could help you achieve a cabin vibe, and white washed wood logs topped with white string lights would warm up the fireplace while drawing to your cute artistic style. 

I absolutely love our fireplace. While it's not a real one - though I swear to have one someday - it's a beautiful alternative and definitely brought a smile to my padawan's face. He even falls asleep next to it at night (no risk of a real fire with this one), with me carrying him into bed after he's fallen into a deep sleep. We even pretend to roast marshmallows, which ends with real s'mores from the kitchen. 

All in all, my $1 DIY fireplace is a big hit and I am so incredibly thrilled. It brings a sense of euphoric joy that closely resembles my childhood. A dim living room, Christmas tunes playing in the background, a glowing fire, and a happy-filled home. I'd call that a DIY well-done, wouldn't you?

For those of you curious about the fire in the night picture posted here, it's not the full fire that I created, only a sample to show how it lights up (photo's don't do it justice). Happy crafting Jedi's! 

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