Faux Barn Beam DIY Mantel

My sister and her husband moved into a beautiful new house, with the perfect amount of projects! I’ve been busy the last couple months with some amazing DIYs. I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to!

Their family room has a beautiful brick fireplace, already painted out by the previous owners, but the mantel was pretty underwhelming. The proportion was also off and the mantel seemed to sit a little high.

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I wanted to accomplish two things, bring the height of the mantel down visually (without moving the existing brackets) and bring the wow factor!

What would do the job better than an oversized rustic floating beam!?

I decided to create a faux beam that would fit over the existing brackets and be held in place with just a couple of screws – much easier than a real beam!

First, I took my measurements. I needed the hollow space of the faux beam to fit over the existing brackets. The brackets were 6 ½” in depth and 5 ½” in height. I cut the length of my beam boards to the same length as the existing mantel.

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Each beam board was 7” x 62” x ¾”

I brought a very rough sketch to my local hardware store and they doubled checked my measurement before making the cuts for me. Home Depot is also great at helping with projects like this!

I also cut two pieces for the ends. The depth at 7” and the height at 5 ½” (7” minus the thickness of two boards – 1 ½”)

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Assembly time!

I used wood glue and nails and had lots of assistance holding everything in place when the nails went in. A few sets of hands makes it easier to line all the edges up.

While the glue was drying I watched a couple of Youtube videos on distressing wood and gathered my tools!

Then I went for it!

(The tools and techniques recommended in the YouTube video worked really well!)

I gave the entire beam a good sanding with 220 grit then removed all the dust with a damp rag.

I used Minwax Golden Oak for the stain and applied two coats. Be very liberal with the stain so it’s able to get into the distressing marks and wipe excess off after 5-10 minutes.

To keep the wood looking natural, I sealed it with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.

The faux beam fit perfectly over the brackets and I secured it in place with a couple of screws.

Although the top of the mantel is technically the same height as before, it’s visually lowered and definitely brings the wow factor the room needed!

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Bathroom Vanity Upcycle

Finally! A chance to upgrade dated cabinets! I’ve been waiting for a good bathroom DIY upcycle for awhile!

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The product I used can be applied directly over existing stain to darken it, but because I was trying to take a bleached oak to a grey – it wasn’t that straight forward.

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First, I removed the cabinet doors and hardware to give them a light sanding with a fine 200 grit paper.

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I worked on the inside of the doors before the front to allow for some trial and error (turns out this was a good call!)

After a couple coats (I followed the dry time on the can) I wasn’t getting the exact colour I wanted but I loved the distressed look the bleached oak was creating when it peaked through the stain.

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To deepen the grey, I bought a dark brown stain called Coffee, and topped off my can of grey stain. After two more coats on the back, the colour was right and I was ready to work on the front.

I lightly sanded between coats and fully embraced the distressed look. I applied four coats in total (on each side) and sanded one last time until I was happy with the distressing and gloss.

I spray painted the hardware a blend of copper and bronze (I may replace in the future but I’m happy for now).

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Next, I worked on the vanity frame. It appeared to be a vinyl veneer so I decided not to use the stain but instead match the stain colour with a solid paint. I cleaned it well and gave it a light sanding to help the paint stick.

TIP: Leave as much drying time as possible between the first and second coat, this allows the paint to cure and reduces the chance of chipping. I left three days between coats.

Not much of the frame is visible and once I rehung the finished doors it blended seamlessly!

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A few more projects complete the look (see my how to post on the DIY industrial light fixture and a how to post for the bathroom mirror frame is coming soon)

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