DIY / Outdoor Spaces / rustic wood / woodworking

Rustic Mantel for Under $15

My favorite small project built for the back patio makeover was this faux rustic mantel. I found it was a good housewarming gift for a friend of mine who moved into a new home (which she got from somewhere like, so when I was looking for a new project I decided to have a look into doing this.


Without this addition to the jut out created by the back of the fireplace, I don’t think the space would have been as cozy. Sure, I could have hung something else there, but the faux mantle brings the space to life.


And obviously, if you caught that headline, it literally can be built for less than $15. How is that possible? Untreated 6 ft cedar fencing, my friends.

It’s super simple to build too. While I used the 10″ Ryobi Sliding Miter Saw, cedar is very soft, making it very easy to cut using a standard miter box and saw.


Here are the steps:

1. Decide on the finished size of your mantle and cut your front the full width of your mantle with a 45 degree angle on both sides so that the angles come inwards. To do this, I always cut one side first at the angle and then cut the other at the length I need with the angle.

2. Cut two side pieces using a 45 degree angle, matching the front.



3. Cut your top and bottom boards so that they fit inside the front and sides. To do so, subtract the depth of your fence boards and then multiply by 2. In my case they were 5/8 inch each, so my final size was subtracted by about 1- 1/4 inch. The top and bottom should be completely hidden from the front.

4. Dry fit all your pieces.

5. Wood glue and nail the top to the front, then add the sides.

6. Glue and nail the bottom.

7. If using outdoors, I would recommend cutting a drainage slits in both the top and the bottom. This helps avoid standing water on the top and will allow water to drain through the bottom as well. I used a drill and then a jig saw to cut drip lines. They are pretty small, so no one can see them.


8. Distress the wood if desired. I wanted my mantel to resemble a old rough cut barn beam. I used the end of a crow bar, a hammer, especially along the edges, and the side of a wrench to pretty much beat it up.

9. Stain as desired. I used Minwax Wood Finishing cloths. These did really well given the fact that the cedar is soft and tends to suck up stain.


I don’t have a photo, but after that dried a little while, I used Varathane Wood Stain in Weathered Grey. I dabbed on little stripes of stain and then worked it along the wood with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. I just wanted enough grey to make the wood look old and aged.

10. Once dry, finish as desired. I did a quick coat of Wipe on Polyurethane in a satin finish. If your mantle is exposed to a great deal of sun and rain, I’d suggest using a finish that is more weather resistant.

11. Hang cleat in desired location. We used galvanized screws to attach it to the Hardie Plank.


13. From the top side of the mantel, attach screws into the cleat.


Now you’re ready to accessorize!


I thought this one came out so well, I created another for a very special house warming project. Here’s a sneak peek.


I also can’t wait to show you what will be going in under this mantel…later this summer. Did I peek your interest? You’ll have to follow along to find out!


Be sure to tour the rest of this outdoor makeover from my One Room Challenge entry here.

Sharing Here
Think and Make Thursday || Share Your Style || Pin Junkie Link Party




  • Jennifer
    May 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    This was one of my favorite touches to your makeover! I love it and want one on my patio now.

  • Leslie
    May 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks, Jennifer! As you can see, it’s super easy to build!

  • Sherry Loomis
    May 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Nice job, btw, it is spelled mantel…

    • Leslie
      May 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      I think you may be correct in a perfect world, but mantle is also an accepted spelling variation.

      • Jenn
        October 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm


  • Justin
    March 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    What type of nails did you use?

  • Sandblasted Blog
    June 1, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Faux Wood Mantel Shelf Rough Sawn

    […] boards and then multiply by 2. In my case they were 5/8 inch each, so my final […]

  • Sandblasted Blog
    March 1, 2018 at 5:11 am

    Faux Wood Mantel Shelf Rough Sawn

    […] tracted by about 1- 1/4 inch. The top and bottom should be completely hidden fro […]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.