Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dollhouse 1/12 Fireplace Mantel Tutorial Cottage Style

A great way to give your dollhouse charm is by making your own fireplace mantel. It's very easy to do. And you can make it any size you want.
You will need one thin wood veneer. I have 1/16 x 4 x 24" bass from Hobby Lobby.

For your tools you will need a glue gun, ruler, pencil, white glue, sand paper.
And a sharp utility knife. This one has a snap off blade so you always have a sharp edge. I bought it at Home Depot.
The first piece to cut out is the back of the mantel. Mine is 4 1/4" tall x 3 1/2 wide. ((If you would like to put a textured paper inside your mantel this would be the time to glue it on leaving an 1/8" to glue to wood onto this back piece.))
Next the walls of the mantel. Mine are 4 1/4" x 5/8". You will need 4 of them.
You need a top shelf and bottom for the mantel. I cut out 2 pieces each 1" x 3 7/8". I do sand these two pieces. I like worn rounded edges and corners. I like using a 1500 grit.
And finally the piece in the front of the fireplace, the frieze. Mine is 2 3/16" x 1 1/2". Mine needs a real old cottage look so I'm opting for a nice tall one.
That's all the pieces for the main structure.
Glue your walls to the back of the mantel with white glue. I use Aleene's.
Also glue the bottom and top. The trick here is to get everything to stay together and keep it straight. Let dry completely.
I usually let it dry against a straight flat wall. If needed I add a weight to make sure it stays flush to the straight wall. Otherwise you will have problems installing it in the dollhouse.
Next glue the frieze in place.
This is the basic structure I use for all my fireplace mantels. Some may be bigger, narrower, or smaller. But the process remains the same.
The next step is to add trims. This is where you give your piece the feel it needs. I'm doing this one for an English cottage. So cute and girly is the order of the day.
I'm layering trims. The first trim you need is for the top and bottom of the mantel walls. My first trim is 3/8" wide. Notice I do my side trim first then cover the rough edge with the front trim.
Your next layer of trim will have to be thinner. So I would use thin cardboard like cereal box weight or cardstock paper. This trim will be 1/8" to 1/4". You can also cut out a fun detail. Like dental moulding or swags. First I'm doing a simple second layer trim on the bottom. This one is 1/4".
My top trim is scalloped. I have a pair of scalloped edge scissors to do this.
And finally one more 1/8" trim on top of all of the trims. Perfect!
Now we need to trim the firebox. Two sides go on first. They are 1/8" wide.
Then I add a shelf at the top that is almost 1/4" wide.
And top it off with the remaining 1/8" trim. Done!
How about making some girly addition. I'm going to do a little 3D work on the frieze. First I draw a design freehand.
Next use your glue gun to apply 3 dot and the 2 swags. You can cut those annoying glue gun webs by releasing the trigger completely and then touching the hot nozzle on the string. It will cut the string. Any remaining strings can be taken care of with a hairdryer.
You may want to practice on paper first. The technique is like pulling sugar in candy making. Remember this is vintage style. So it doesn't need to be perfect! If you can't do it just use white glue. Make sure it's not runny.
Paint your entire mantel with acrylic paint. It can be craft paint or house paint. Makes no different. Lay it on there thick! If your paint is too new you may have to do 2 or 3 coats.
Let's add character!  I use ink pads to achieve a very old look. They are all browns. Stampabilities Brown, StazOn Saddle Brown, and Color-Box Putty. It makes no difference which order you apply them. Use a hard bristle brush to get the ink in tight corners. 

Now if you want to go all the way with this project you can add fire. I order my fire kit from I order the fire kit with the 1.8mm bulb and 3 volt battery with the switch. You can do the pico lights if you want undetectable bulbs. They put out a lot of light and work great too. 
Drill a hole at the back wall at the very bottom. You can use a drill, a screw driver, a nail to do this. Whatever you have on hand. The wood is very easy to poke a hole in. I used a little screw driver. I started the hole on the front and turned the fireplace over to continue the hole from the other side. You wouldn't want to risk ungluing the back of the mantel!
 I build a fire stack with real sticks from the garden to hide the bulbs. Start by building up the wood stack around the bulbs. Notice I did bend the wires 90 degrees ready to be pulled back through the hole. 
Continue building the stack until the bulbs are hidden.
Glue inside fire box with hot glue.
Now let's make it a wee bit more romantic with moss. 
Get the hot chocolate and S'Mores cause you are ready to snuggle up next to the fire!

Thanks for joining me and following along. I hope you give this a try.  I promise it's really easy. You know what I always tell you: one step at a time. 


  1. This is brilliant! Thank you for the tutorial. I have a 3/4 scale log cabin in desperate need of a fireplace.

  2. Great tutorial, Caroline. Thank you so much!

  3. Le misure in pollici mi fanno impazzire :D .... ma i tuoi tutorial sono sempre preziosi.❤️

  4. Such an awesome tutorial and that fireplace is the bee's knees! You are so generous and talented! ♥

  5. OH My Goodness.....just love it! I can't wait to get a piece of wood and go to town. I may even try to show a few friends how to make if I can pull it off! Thank you Cinderella Moments!!

    1. Thank you Logan! I hope you have a great time with it! hugs,

  6. a great tutorial. Thank you...

  7. Gracias por el tutorial y los trucos. Queda muy bonita y según lo explicas parece fácil, aunque algunas cosas habría que practicarlas mucho para que salgan bien.

  8. Me gusta mucho como ha quedado la chimenea. Gracias por el tutorial.

  9. This tutorial is the best. I built the fireplace for my farmhouse that I am not working on at the moment. I wish I had seen how you built the fire. Next time I'll build my own instead of ordering it. By the way the company that you ordered your bulbs from is not far from my daughters, but I don't think they have a walk in store. I love their lights. The fire place is a very do-able DYI project. Thank you. The house is adorable.

  10. Wow! you make it look like I could do it! I will be trying ASAP!
    You really inspire me :) I would never have thought to use the glue for the whimsy!
    Once again thank you for sharing your talent!

  11. Amazing tutorial. Thank you for sharing!!

  12. Caroline, I really enjoy watching your process of building things, as you say, one step at a time. Thank you so much for sharing your process with us. I was thinking of you as I built a little birdhouse this week, using no templates, and just adding details as I went along. I absolutely adore your work!

  13. Preciosa chimenea y estupendo tutorial! muchas gracias!!

  14. Lovely I love the way you show us how-to-do.
    Regards Thea

  15. Wonderful tutoral for a gorgeous fireplac.

  16. Very lovely! Thank you for the tutorial! :)

  17. Thank you for the tutorial! It looks beautiful finished, and very realistic :-).

  18. Thanks, dear Caroline for a wonderful tutorial. I love your beautiful fireplace just as I love everything you make.
    Hugs, Drora

  19. This is darling! I wish I had seen it before I made my fireplace. Great tutorial!

  20. What a wonderfully detailed tutorial! I am so glad to see the ink pads you use. I made a bed and tried the ink pad I had on hand. It had too much red in the I resorted to dry brushing brown paint instead. Your techniques are amazing! These fireplace mantels you do add such character to your homes! They are one of my favorite parts....among so many others.

  21. Qué buen tutorial y qué inspirador, Caroline. Haces que parezca fácil y asequible :) Gracias por compartir! El resultado es encantador. ♥

  22. Un tutorial fantástico, gracias por compartirlo !!!

  23. Fabulous tutorial, Thanks. As a complete newbie I need all the help I can get and you make it all look so easy and uncomplicated. Anna

  24. thank you.. great fireplace... :)

  25. Thank you for this lovely tutorial. I love it.
    Hugs, Drora

  26. Wonderful tutorial. Your pictures are excellent. I have tried doing a fireplace but your instructions will make my next one much better. Love your work. I have looked at some of your houses and just love them.