Nothing provides a focal point better than a cozy fireplace. Don’t have one? No problem. Our scaled-down faux fireplace made from a castoff mirror will give a she shed all the glow it needs. See step by step how we made it.
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Most she sheds are not furnished with a working fireplace, and for good reason. (FIRE risk: huge) But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be a part of your design. A faux fireplace doesn’t provide heat but it will enhance your interior and define where other furnishings will go. The mantel becomes a key display area for books, candles, and decorative objects.
There are tons of ways you can make (or find) a faux fireplace – like these. And these. And maybe this. But using a vintage framed mirror as your base has a lot of advantages: it’s inexpensive, easy to find, easy to build, and already has all of the molding and decorative embellishments you could want. Even a simple frame will look great after adding a few wood flourishes and paint.
You will need:
Secondhand rectangular mirror frame (portrait, if there is any molding detail on the top)
8-10′ of 1 x 4 lumber (to make the mantel and the surround that goes inside the frame)
4-5′ of 1 x 6 lumber (to make the base)
6-9′ of 2 x 4 lumber (to create the box), optional
2 3″ L brackets (if you aren’t installing a box – see instructions)
Table or circular saw
Jigsaw (or manual coping saw)
Faux Fireplace Step by Step
We found this mirror on Facebook Marketplace and paid $35. It’s in great shape and we were even reluctant to remove the mirror, but we did. IMPORTANT: Examine the mirror before you buy, if you can. Mirror adhesive can be difficult to remove. It’s easier if you are not trying to keep the mirror in one piece. Try these tips.
Remove the Mirror
Carefully loosen the nails and/or the adhesive (see above). Ours had only staples, easily removed with pliers.
Remove Frame Piece
Remove the bottom portion of the frame, using a circular saw
Measure your mantel, allowing about 2-3″ of extra edging on both sides. Create a curved edge using your jig saw. If desired, use your router to make a decorative edging.
Use a contour gauge to create a cutout pattern. This is where your mantel shelf will fit into the sidewalls as shown. Then use a jigsaw to cut out along your pencil marks.
Place wood glue along the entire surface of the cutouts and along the edge of the mantel (our frame had a wood piece that jutted out, so we placed glue on the top of the mantel for extra support).
Create Inner Frame and Side Support
Create an inner frame to expand the mirror frame. This inner frame will add substance to your frame, mimicking the mass of an actual fireplace surround. Use three pieces of the 1 x 4 lumber cut to size. (Sorry, this painting image is the only one I took!) If desired, use a miter cut at each corner; otherwise simply cut a larger piece for the top and two shorter pieces for each side. Glue in place at corners and behind the original frame.
We chose to omit side walls because our shed had 2 x 4 studs that pretended to be the sides. You can easily add these for support, using either 1 x 4 or 2 x 4 lumber pieces. We used two L brackets for support, installing them where the front “legs” meet the base.
Create the Base
Measure your base, allowing about 4-6″ of extra wood on both sides for stability. Screw the base to each of the front “legs.” If you don’t have sidewalls, like ours, install an L bracket on each side to secure the legs to the base.
Paint and Add “Fire”
Paint everything and allow to dry. (We used She Shades Queen Anne’s Lace)