Rustic Handmade Mantel Slipcovers

Rustic Handmade Mantel Slipcovers

Cover image for the DIY Mantel Slipcover with Notched bottom Blog.

We have huge plans for our little gas fireplace, and I cannot wait to get going! Follow along as I clean it up while providing a guide for your very own step by step DIY mantel slipcover! This project can range in price depending on your selected wood species and tools needed. Follow along as we dive into a beautiful fireplace hack for beginners.

I'll include lots of images for your viewing pleasure. We will begin with our supply list, and finish with a fully custom, hand-cut, sanded, stained, and sealed rustic wood faux floating slab. Naturally, my wonderful wife will use her eye for interior design to finish it off.

Along with our custom mantle, I will be giving the entire facia a facelift. The old baby blue 4x4 tile? Gone. The accent mouldings and concave 'column'? Gone, and gone. I'll sand everything down, and will use white paint for doors and trim. So grab a coffee, and settle in, we have a lot of fun ahead of us. Here's what we're working with...


  • 1 x 8 x 8 Pine Board (x3)
  • LePage Wood Glue
  • My DeWalt Drill
    • Small Drillbit for pre-drill
    • Phillips Bit
  • Wood Scews
  • Minwax Early American Stain
  • Varathane Diamond Wood Finish: Gloss
  • Foam Brushes
  • Cloth/Rag
  • Circle Saw or Hand-Saw
  • 220 Grit, and 100 Grit sandpaper
  • Dap DryDex
  • 2x C-Clamps


I will simply anchor this cap to the existing mantle for easy removal later. To achieve a more ‘solid’ look, I will close off the base and cut out a notch to fit snugly around the existing face. There was some tile that I removed before we began, this was easy using a small crowbar and hammer. I removed the remaining grout using a painters knife's sharp edge, and some sandpaper. 

Before images of the outdated mantel before our DIY Renovation project, adding a Mantel slipcover.


After some measurement, I have decided to extend the mantle just a bit further than the existing top. I will stain the finished piece with 'Early American', and will finish with three coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish: Gloss. Before we begin, ill add a quick note and a thank you! We're having a lot of fun at Sydney's Collection, so check out my lifestyle blogs, and product blogs anytime!

Measure Twice

A simple design should be an easy process, but this is not an excuse to disregard the most basic rule. If you want perfection, you. must achieve it, even with a rustic looking piece. So ill measure every single piece twice, and mark with my trusty pencil before even considering my first cut. When i'm ready, ill 'cut once', and will have five pieces for one awesome DIY faux mantle. Prior to fastening, ill pre-drill small holes to pilot my screws, this will help deter splitting.

Pine boards to be used for the Full Cover Mantel Slipcover

The Bottom

This is the difficult part, which really isn't that difficult. In order to create a nice fit for the base, I created a template using a piece of cardboard cut to the same size as our base piece. I measured the mantle, and created cuts in the cardboard accordingly. Once complete, I simply placed my template over my wood piece, and traced it using my pencil. Even though I know my measurements were sound, there is no better feeling than that perfect fit! 

Rough It Up

This part was so much fun. The smooth, sanded, pretty pine boards were not doing the job aesthetically. With my wife's assistance, we made the boards rustic. To make your wood boards look rustic, you can simply beat it up! We dragged it across the ground, hit it with a shovel, threw hammers and a measuring tape at it. Make sure that you don't get too carried away, we do want the boards to stay in one piece.

Collage showcasing the hand-distressed lumber.

Put it Together

Using wood glue, I align my pieces, and create the box. Once I have let the glue slightly dry, it is time to screw it all together. I sink my screws past the surface of the wood in order to 'hide' them just a bit. You can see how I organized my pine box in the images, the important part is that the front facing piece is the 'cap', and does not show any seams.

Sydney stands outdoors sanding and cleaning the DIY mantel slipcover.

Sand It

With my 100 grit sandpaper, I sand the entire box down. I use this opportunity to smooth the edges and slightly round them off. The goal here is to look as natural as possible, so perfect symmetry is not necessary for my application. Vacuum, wipe with a nearly dry, damp cloth. Finish with a full hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Once complete, make sure that you have vacuumed, wiped off, and cleaned your mantle completely. We do not want an leftover dust on our box, because the next step requires a clean surface.

It was a beautiful spring day, and the sun was out. I took the opportunity to get some vitamin D while working, and brought the table from the garage to the back yard. Here's where you get to see me showcasing the product! So here is a face that you can match to the name! It's me, Sydney!

An incredibly attractive and awesome man holds and showcases the unfinished pine box that will become a DIY fireplace mantle.

Stain It

An important note here is that we do not shake our stain or wood finish, we simply stir thoroughly. In my well ventilated garage, I will take care of the stain and finishing. I dip my foam brush into the stain then wipe it along the grain in sections along the board. Each time I paint on the stain, my other hand is ready with a clean, lint-free rag to spread it out. I make my way down the board and apply an even coat all around.

After two hours, I apply a second coat of stain for depth and to nail that dark and natural rustic look. I love this stain because it does not have that 'orange' look, but does bring some reds, and looks stunning on pine.

Showcasing the 'Early American' stain on pine wood.


With a quality paint brush, I apply three coats of 'Varathane Diamond Wood Finish: Gloss'. Dry time between coats is two hours, and we sand with 220 grit sandpaper, and wipe the surface before our next coats. The first coat is slightly difficult, as I apply a light base layer, we need to be mindful of where we apply our finish, as it will look invisible with this light brushing.

I will add a thicker second, and third coat. Sanding between coats is very important here, and please make sure to keep your work area clean and dust free. My garage may not be pretty, but I do everything I can to keep movement low while applying my gloss finish.

Varathene water based premium wood finish.


This will be an easy task, as I don't have the intention of mounting this into the wall. I will simply draw a line of wood glue along the existing mantle (after a light sanding), and sink three screws from the top down into it. From here, we add a touch of stain, then poly to these small holes. The DIY fireplace mantel slipcover is now firmly in place, and is ready to bear a load. Without further adieu, our finished product! 

An outdated fireplace in need of a Full- Cover Rustic Mantel Slipcover
Showcasing the DIY Mantel Slipcover with decorRustic Wood Mantel BoxCustom fireplace mantel

Clean it up

We're almost at the finish line, all we have to do now is grab the windex, spray down a lint-free cloth, and clean it off one last time. We're excited to decorate this custom mantle cover with candles, pictures, and decor. Naturally, i'll be adding a tiny bookshelf at some point, because that's just what I do.

There you have it, my handmade DIY floating mantle slipcover, I hope you enjoyed following along! Feel free to leave any questions, or highlight your experience in the comments section! This project was tons of fun and it garnished attention from the neighbours, so maybe it will not be my last time. Thanks for reading, come by anytime!



Fully covered bottom of the DIY mantel slipcover.
Rustic mantel slipcoverRustic Full Cover Mantel SlipcoverClose up of the DIY Mantel CoverThe fort used to keep my pets out.Early American Stain on Pine after two coats.
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