DIY Faux-Plaster Live Edge Electric Fireplace
This DIY Fireplace that we built in 2018 has still been one of our most popular projects. Now that it’s the time of year to get cozy, I wanted to repost with some updated links and answers to your questions.
When I was dreaming up the design for the living room in the Barnhouse renovation, I KNEW I wanted a fireplace on the back wall to create a focal point in the livingroom. It’s the first wall you see when you walk into the house. Plus, I wanted to make the room feel super cozy and welcoming for conversation and movie nights. More details are also on ISPYDIY Instagram “FIREPLACE” highlight.
The basics: Here’s a few important things to know before you start. The project took about 5 days to complete working on it for around 2 hours each day. The materials cost approximately $150 and the fireplace insert was $300 (FYI: since originally posting, the price on this Electric Fireplace insert was increased to $700). We went with an electric insert because we wanted a shallow profile, this insert is only 8″ deep. That way the fireplace would not come too far out into the livingroom. I wouldn’t recommend this tutorial if you are using a gas insert. Our electrician installed a 3 prong outlet on the floor to plug in the electric fireplace. We hid all the cords for the insert within the wall, and they can be accessed by pulling out the fireplace insert. Also, the art is actually a TV! It’s Samsung’s Frame and we scored on Black Friday, this is the link to the current version: The Frame 55″ TV by Samsung. It was TOTALLY worth the money. We love that it lays flat to the wall and looks like art when it is “off”, which is amazing because this view is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. We hid the component box in the fireplace, behind the TV, so it looks wireless. More on that later!
36 in. Traditional Built-in Electric Fireplace Insert
The Frame 55″ TV by Samsung
Sheetrock UltraLight 1/2 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Gypsum Board
SHEETROCK Brand All-Purpose 1.75 Pt. Pre-Mixed Joint Compound
Grip-Rite #6 x 1-1/4 in. Philips Bugle-Head Coarse Thread Sharp Point Drywall Screws (1 lb.-Pack)
USG SHEETROCK Brand 250 ft. Drywall Joint Tape 382175
12 in. Plastic Drywall Mud Pan
Wal-Board Tools 6 in. Hammer-End Joint Knife
DEWALT Fixed Blade Utility Knife
Grip-Rite 2-1/2 in. Construction Screw (1 lb.-Box)
GE Supreme Paintable Silicone 10.1 oz. White Window and Door Caulk
10 ft. Vinyl Corner Bead
3M 16.6 oz. Drywall Corner Bead Adhesive Spray
BLACK+DECKER 2.4 Amp Corded 5 in. Random Orbital Sander
Paneling Paint: Farrow & Ball Treron
First, we measured the wall and sketched up the dimensions based off my in-law’s fireplace.
We began constructing the back frame on the floor with 2x4s and wood screws.
After building the back frame, we put in place by screwing into the ceiling stud and the floor.
A couple notes: We cut out the baseboard so it would fit tight to the wall. There are two studs to hang the TV because we wanted options for the height. A stud to hang the mantel, and then we ended up adding a 3rd horizontal piece to set the TV components on (see above sketch).
Next, we built on the front frame, and attached to the back frame with 8.5” pieces of 2x4s.
Note: We set the insert in place to make sure it was deep enough to fit before screwing in the front frame.
Not shown: We added a 2×4 on the front frame above the insert to hold into place, important because you will screw the drywall into it. We pulled the thermostat cord for the fireplace out between the 2x4s on the right side so we could access it after drywalling. The we set up the TV component on the 2×4 shelf. It will be hidden behind the TV. We had to drill holes through a couple of the framing wood pieces to thread the power cord through. The TV plugs into the same floor outlet as the insert. It can only be accessed if you pull out the out the fireplace insert (which we have never had to do).
Attach wood mantel by screwing in from underneath. I had this piece of live edge wood that worked perfectly. But you could also use barn wood, just make sure you factor in the thickness of the mantel if mounting a TV.
Time to drywall! Measure, then use a square to mark on your sheetrock. Score each side with a utility knife to cut out.
Attach by screwing each piece into the studs with drywall screws. Note: Make sure the head of the screw ends up just below the surface of the drywall so you can cover up with mud.
You can see the shelf for the TV components, which will be hidden by the TV. And we cut a hole for the thermostat cord on the right side, and taped the cord to the fireplace. Once we are done mudding, I will connect the thermostat box and mount on the side of the fireplace. This box turns the fireplace on/off.
We drywalled right up to the wood because I wanted it to look like it was built in to the fireplace. Next, time to mud!
I found these vinyl corners super easy to use. I started by cutting a piece to fit.
Next, spray both of the inner sides with corner bead adhesive. Then spray both sides of the corner.
Push your piece into place, using your fingers or a tool to make sure it adheres.
Fill your pan up with mud and knead it with the knife to get air bubbles out. Working your way from the outside into the corner, start spreading the mud to cover the corner.
You will need 2-3 coats to completely cover the corner piece.
I wanted a plaster look, so was liberal with the amount of mud I used and was not concerned with texture.
I covered the whole fireplace with one layer of mud, and the nail holes and corners with 2-3 layers.
After all the mud has dried, I sanded down some of the texture and the corners with an orbital sander. I left some of the texture to give it the look of plaster.
Next, use paintable caulk around the mantel and where the fireplace touches the wall and ceiling.
After caulking the corner, run your finger to smooth it down flat.
Last step is painting the fireplace! I taped off the mantel and painted on two coats of Behr Cotton Knit in a matte finish. The walls are Swiss Coffee!
Done and Done! Let me know if you have any questions!