DIY Wood Wall For Fireplace Mantle

Thinking about putting up a DIY wood wall? Check out this DIY project where I built a wood wall for above this outdated fireplace mantle!

Remember that post back in August where I made our family brand out of some scrap wood? And I said that awful 80s wall paneling was next on my list? Ok…so obviously I moved a few things in front of it, but! my Saturday freed up yesterday so I finally got it done. Check out the before and afters and my tutorial on how to make your own wood wall.


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I forget where online I first saw a wood wall, but I remember reading it was done with pallets they found on the side of the road. Ever since then, I have been keeping an eye out for pallets but every one I came upon was pretty beat up and I couldn’t imagine trying to make long horizontal straight lines with such warped wood. And believe me folks, this project was the simplest in the world only because I had straight boards that lined up to one another.

Now I love a low cost project as much as the next girl, so free sounded pretty great but it only cost me $60 to buy brand new wood and I didn’t have to hunt around for pallets or go through the hassle of breaking them down. Totally worth it to me.

Here are the steps if you want your own wood wall:

1) I measured my space to get a square footage, which was around 49 sq ft, then went to Home Depot and purchased four packages of tongue and groove pine planking made by Pine Ridge. It is found in the trim aisle and is sold for around $14 a package. (Each package covers 13.9 sq ft)

Let me talk about my choice of material for a second….this wood is about 1/4″ thick so it’s super light and one person can easily handle it. With it being light weight I could use my brad nailer to install it. It’s tongue and groove so it goes together seamlessly and easily. Since it’s unfinished I can stain it whatever color I choose.

That was my train of thought when I was purchasing the material. Now that I have actually handled it and installed it, I double recommend using it for a wood wall instead of pallet or fence wood.

Alright, back to those steps…

2) So the wood comes in 8′ joints but I didn’t want a uniformed look, but rather a staggered random lengths looks, so I opened all my packages and after giving them a light sand job I just started cutting. I would grab a board and push it through my table saw at varying lengths. Most of the time I would cut one board three times, but others I would cut it four or even two times. Don’t think about it too much! Just start cutting. If you don’t have a table saw then use a circular saw but make sure you are cutting straight lines because you will be butting them up against another piece.

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3) Next I moved into the house and removed the trim on my wall. I did this with a flat bar and hammer.

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4) Now I moved my wood inside as well as my portable air compressor and nail gun. I started on the bottom and worked left to right and just started laying down pieces of wood. I would lay down an entire row before nailing any of them in place, just to make sure there was not going to be any problems. This came in handy a couple times so I would recommend it.

Note: Once I moved my wood inside, I spread them out on the couches and mixed them up in the process so that the pieces from the same piece of wood would be separated.

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I did toy about whether or not I wanted to actually remove the paneling or just cover it up. I made the decision to leave it up because I couldn’t think of a good reason to remove it.

For the end pieces: I would lay down an entire row and make sure the end piece hung over slightly then use a pencil to mark where it needed to be cut then take it to my table saw to whack off the extra. Next I would stick it back in place and nail the entire row down.

I can’t stress enough how easy this was. So simple and I absolutely just love it.

5) Now it was time to stain. Oh boy. I stain things all the time, but nothing this big so I recruited the help of my husband. After trying a few different sample colors, I settled on Red Mahogany by Minwax and wanted it left on for 5 mins. This time I started in the top left corner and just started staining.

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I personally like to use a foam brush when staining. I would do a section with a 3″ foam brush then come back with a 1″ foam brush to get the cracks. I put my husband in charge of brushing out the drips and also keeping track of the time on my sections. This way I was continuously staining or wiping.

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I used the plastic wrapping that the wood came in to cover my mantle while I was staining.
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and Bam! Gosh, I just love love love it when a project goes right.
6) Next step was to put the trim back up. I couldn’t use the old trim because it was a different color, so I went to Home Depot and picked out some basic trim then stained it, cut it to length, and nailed it in place.
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Then while I was at it….
I guess you can’t tell a huge difference in the pictures, but while I was working in this area I also took off the face of the fire place and painted it using Rustoleum New Chestnut spray paint.
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It’s a little difference, but I like it so much better then that gold.

Wood walls are picking up speed in popularity because not only are they simple to put up, but they add a great accent wall in any room. Whether it be the living room, bedroom, or even bathroom…it adds a neat focal point and, if you put it up yourself, a good conversation piece. ; )

I have that out of date brick and soot stains in my crosshairs as my next project, so be sure to check back!

Total Time: 5 hrs

Total Cost: $75

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