How to Paint a Wood Fireplace Mantel

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth

  • Masking tape

  • 100 grit sandpaper

  • Damp cloth

  • 2 paintbrushes

  • 2 paint sticks

  • Primer

  • Semi-gloss interior paint

Painting a wooden fireplace mantel is an easy way to change the look of an entire room overnight. The mantle is often the focal point of a room, especially if you have the furniture arranged around the fireplace. Painting a wooden mantel involves the same materials and steps as painting any other wooden piece of furniture. You just need to sand, prime and paint the surface in order to have a completely different look.


Step 1

Remove any decor from the fireplace mantel. Remove any nails or screws in the wood. Lay your drop cloth around the mantel so you don't splatter paint on the floor.

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Step 2

Line the edge of the mantel with masking tape. This will keep paint off the wall behind the mantel.


Step 3

Sand the surface of the wood mantel with 100 grit sandpaper. This roughs up the surface and gives the primer a better hold. Always sand with the grain of the wood and never in circles. You can use an electric hand sander if your mantel is plain, but if it has moldings you are better off with regular sand paper.


Step 4

Wipe down the mantel with a damp cloth to remove the dust from the sanding. Let the mantel dry completely for one hour.


Step 5

Open your can of primer and stir it with a paint stick. Paint one layer of primer onto the mantel, starting at the floor level on one side and working your way up and over to the other side. Apply the primer in a thin layer, painting it on in one direction. Follow the grain of the wood. Allow the primer to dry according to the can directions, which may vary with brand.


Step 6

Open your can of semi-gloss interior paint. Stir it with the paint stick. Apply the paint to the wooden mantel piece in the same way you applied the primer--with the wood grain, starting at the bottom and working your way up and over. Allow the paint to dry overnight. If you want a more saturated color, apply one more coat of paint.


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