IKEA Hack: How to Make a Simple Mantel from a Wood Shelf

by on Sep 4, 2014

A black fireplace sits undecorated on a white wall.

For me, a mantel is a must. Where else will I share all my fave holiday decor items and hang the garlands?! Our new apartment came with a fireplace, but no mantel above! Crazy, right? I wasn’t about to enter the holiday season without one, so decided to make my own with a piece of plywood found at IKEA and some other basic pieces of hardware!      


Look at that top photo. Isn’t it just sad and empty? We were definitely in need of a special space-filler. Like this!

A fireplace has a shelf over it.


Here’s how to make it:

DIY Wooden MantelLexy Ward

1. Materials 

  • plywood the length of the fireplace (mine was a the IKEA Ekby plywood shelf)
  • wood corbels (various sizes and shapes found at your local hardware store, mine are 6.5″ x 4″ basic corbels)
  • wood stain
  • washcloth
  • 4 long metal screws 
  • 2 drywall anchors
  • drill

2. Start by staining the large piece of wood. It’s easier to apply the stain evenly when you use a washcloth instead of a paint brush. Do as many coats as your heart desires until you’ve reached the desired shade. Once stained and dried, paint a thin layer of clear polyurethane seal over the surface. Allow 24 hours to dry completely.

3. Stain the corbels following the same steps in step 2.

DIY Wooden MantelLexy Ward

4. Prop the long piece of plywood over one of the corbels. Use a pencil to mark where you will drill two holes. 

5. After you’ve marked the holes, use a drill to create two small holes the size of your screws.

6. Attach the plywood and corbel together by drilling two long screws into the top of the plywood.

7. Follow steps 4-6 to attach the second corbel. Use a measuring tape so that each corbel is attached the same distance from the ends of the plywood.

DIY Wooden MantelLexy Ward

8. Corbels attached! Now it’s time to hang the mantel!

DIY Wooden MantelLexy Ward

9. The corbels come with mounting hardware already attached to the back. Using a measuring tape, measure the distance between each corbel and mark that same distance on your wall. Use a level to keep it straight! 

10. Mark the two holes where you will be drilling screws for the corbels. 

11. Drill a hole over each marked spot. Place a drywall anchor in each hole and then drill the screws in, but not all the way. They’ll need to be slightly away from the wall to allow the corbels to hang on them.

12. Hang the mantel! Gently line up the backs of the corbels with the two screws in the wall and press firmly to attach. Use a level to make sure the mantel is hanging straight.

DIY Wooden MantelLexy Ward Once the mantel is hung, style as you see fit! I’ve had a few chalkboard frames laying around that will be showcasing my favorite lettering this fall. Can’t wait to share later on!

Two black chalk boards in gold frame sit on the shelf above a fireplace.

Much, MUCH better. Don’t you think? Our apartment feels a bit more complete and home-y! Mantels come in all shapes and sizes and typically cost a pretty penny. After all was said and done, I paid less than $40 including all the supplies! I call that a win. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *