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!

Faux Barn Beam

DIY Monogram Pillow

Since decorating is kinda my thing, I wanted to live up to my reputation and get super cute Christmas gifts this year. I had my heart set on monogram pillows for my sister Beth and her boyfriend but after a few internet searches I realized they were out of my budget.

Solution? Make them myself, of course, for about $20 a pillow!

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First stop: Ikea

I bought two GURLI cushion covers and in white for $4.99 each (they come in a few colours).

I got my pillow inserts at Pottery Barn with a discount but you can get them at Ikea for $8.00 each.20161209_145033

Next: Michaels

My fabric paint is called Tulip from Michaels (they almost always have 40% off coupons so check out their site before you go). The cost was around $7.00 with the coupon.

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Before starting, I gave the cushion covers a quick iron and put cardboard inside. This prevents the paint from bleeding through and provides a smooth painting surface.

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I searched “monogram stencil” in google for inspiration and then free-handed my stencil. I traced a plate to start and sketched out the initials until I was happy with how they looked.

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I cut out each letter with my X-Acto knife and traced the outline in pencil onto my cushion covers. Pay attention to where the cushion zipper is, it’s best at the bottom.

I filled in each letter with fabric paint, staring with an outline. I did two coats, letting it dry in between.

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Warning: lots of patients / touch ups may be required! It’s difficult to get a straight edge along the outline and there is always a risk of smudging! Slow and steady wins this race!

I let it dry overnight, then erased any visible pencil marks wth a clean eraser.

This is the super cute gift I was looking for  – at a super affordable price!!!

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Let me know your thoughts!