As the autumn winds blow, what could be more comforting than snuggling in front of the flickering flames of your fireplace? If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, take heart–technology has advanced electric fireplaces to look and feel like the real thing. All you need to do is…plug it in. Your fireplace should match the character and style of your home. You may buy a fabricated wood surround, or try your creative hand at replicating the look of natural stone, crowned with a magnificent mantle. Economical alternatives can offer great opportunities for fireside chats and warm memories for the heart.
The look of cobblestone adds comforting warmth to any fireplace. But there’s no need to bring in a stonemason. All you need is aluminum foil, drywall compound and stucco. Create the frame for your electric fireplace from chipboard or 5/8 inch plywood. Choose earthy, natural looking colors that will complement your decor. To get the perfect palette, refer to Mother Nature. Pick out stones you admire and select paint colors to match.
1. Create stone shapes with regular aluminum foil. It should be very compressed and solid with a flattened back for easy placement. Cover the rock shapes with heavy-duty foil for smoother rock texture. Be sure to vary the sizes and shapes for more natural look.
2. Glue rocks into place (flat side down) with silicone seal. Let dry 24 hours.
3. Slightly tint drywall compound with paint of your choice, add 1 tube of acrylic caulking and mix well. Brush each foil stone with compound mixture. Let dry between each coat. (Usually takes 3-4 coats) Note: The drywall compound may crack with first coat. Subsequent coats will be smoother and have a more stone-like appearance.
4. Determine the colors of each stone. Brush the colors on and rub entire stone with a damp cloth. ( This allows the texture of the stone to show.)
5. Tint stucco to the color of mortar gray with a small amount of black paint or black tint, then add one tube of acrylic caulking to the mixture. Spread mixture between stones to duplicate the look of mortar.
Once you’ve extruded the caulking into the stucco, poke out the bottom disc with a rod going through the nozzle, then put the stucco mixture in the tube and replace the disc. It will make the job faster and easier.
Note: A heavy coat of stucco may crack when dry. Remedy with a second coat of stucco on top.
In keeping with the simple character of cobblestone, create a mantle from 1 inch X 12 inch rough dressed pine. Basic carpentry skills are required to create the simple box. Glue into place.
Pick up these supplies at your local WBC:
- Drywall compound
- Clear silicone sealant
- Paintable acrylic caulk
- Foam brush