How to Make a Cardboard Christmas Fireplace

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If your image of Christmas includes stockings hanging on a fireplace but your home doesn't have one, you can make a surprisingly realistic version from cardboard. Start with four cardboard display boards -- the kind students use for science projects. You can find them at hobby or office supply stores and home centers.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 white tri-fold cardboard display boards
  • 2 black tri-fold cardboard display boards
  • 1 4-foot pine board, 1 inch x 12 inch
  • Utility knife
  • Wide masking tape
  • 4 pieces scrapbook paper, 12 inch x 12 inch
  • Mod Podge
  • Assorted wood trim pieces
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • Paint
Decorated for Christmas
Decorated for Christmas (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 1

Start with display cardboards that measure 36-inches tall, with a 22-inch center panel and two 12-inch side sections.

Project display board
Project display board (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 2

Using the 1 x 12-inch wood board as a guide, trim the folded sections of one of the black displays cardboards to the width of the wood board.

trim black cardboard
trim black cardboard (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 3

Again using the wood board as a guide, score each white display cardboard into four sections the width of the wood board, with the extra 1 inch left as a tab on the front edge.

Score the white cardboards to the width of the wood board
Score the white cardboards to the width of the wood board (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 4

Fold the two white cardboard displays into two columns.

fold the white cardboards into columns
fold the white cardboards into columns (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 5

Stand the black cardboard display up and set the columns on each side. Using hot glue, attach the columns to the black cardboard at the tab on the front edge.

hot glue the columns to the black cardboard
hot glue the columns to the black cardboard (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 6

Glue the boards at the back also.

glue the back of the columns to the black cardboard
glue the back of the columns to the black cardboard (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 7

Tape the raw edges with masking tape.

tape over raw edges
tape over raw edges (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 8

From the second back display cardboard, cut a piece the width of the 1 x 12-inch wood board from the width of the cardboard and set aside. Move the wood board over and score a line, again using the board as the width guide. Cut along the score lines to leave a T-shape piece.

T-shaped piece for the fireplace face
T-shaped piece for the fireplace face (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 9

Lay the top part of the T across the top of the fireplace, between the columns. Fold the sides of the T down into the columns on each side. Fold the middle of the T down between the columns as the face of the fireplace.

fold flaps of the T-shape into the columns
fold flaps of the T-shape into the columns (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 10

Tape the fireplace face in place.

fireplace taped together
fireplace taped together (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 11

Using the piece of black cardboard set aside from Step 8, form into a box shape, 4 inches deep, set in the base of the fireplace and tape into place.

placing the firebox
placing the firebox (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 12

Make the mantle: Measure and cut trim boards to fit the 1 inch x 12-inch board. Glue and nail in place. Paint the mantle with a coat of water-based primer. Fill any gouges, knots or dents with dry wall spackle and let dry completely. Sand until smooth. Paint with the desired color.

build the mantle
build the mantle (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 13

Paint the sides and face of the fireplace gray. Tear scrapbook paper into brick-sized pieces and Mod Podge them to the area around the firebox.

place the pieces of scrapbook paper like brick
place the pieces of scrapbook paper like brick (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 14

Stick the paper bricks on the area around the fire box or brick the entire face of the fireplace, whichever you prefer.

scrapbook paper bricks in place
scrapbook paper bricks in place (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 15

Glue corner trim at the front edges of the fireplace. Cut molding to fit around the edges of your brick area, and glue it in place. Set the mantle on top of the fireplace.

glue trim around the paper bricks
glue trim around the paper bricks (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 16

Decorate the fireplace - you are done!

fireplace ready for the holidays
fireplace ready for the holidays (Image: Debbie Williams)

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Tips & Warnings

  • Remember the fireplace is cardboard – don't use candles with a live flame.
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