If your image of Christmas includes stockings hanging on a fireplace but your home doesn't have one, you can make a surprisingly realistic DIY cardboard fireplace. 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.
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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
Wide masking tape
4 pieces scrapbook paper, 12 inch x 12 inch
Assorted wood trim pieces
Hot melt glue gun
Step 1: Gather the Materials for Your Cardboard Box Fireplace
Start with display cardboards that measure 36-inches tall, with a 22-inch center panel and two 12-inch side sections.
Step 2: Trim the Black Cardboards
Using the 1 x 12-inch wood board as a guide, trim the folded sections of one of the black display cardboards to the width of the wood board.
Step 3: Score the White Cardboards
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.
Step 4: Make the Columns
Fold the two white cardboard displays into two columns.
Step 5: Attach the Columns to the Black Cardboard
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.
Step 6: Glue the Boards
Glue the boards at the back also.
Step 7: Tape the Edges
Tape the raw edges with masking tape.
Step 8: Cut and Score
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.
Step 9: Fold the Sides
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.
Step 10: Secure the Fireplace In Place
Tape the cardboard fireplace face in place.
Step 11: Form and Tape
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.
Step 12: Make the Mantel
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.
Step 13: Paint and Mod Podge
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.
Step 14: Set the Bricks
Stick the paper bricks on the area around the fire box or brick the entire face of the fireplace, whichever you prefer.
Step 15: Add Trim and Mantel
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.
Step 16: Decorate Your Cardboard Christmas Fireplace
Decorate the cardboard Christmas fireplace - you are done!
If the mantel will be decorated and stockings hung on it, secure the faux fireplace to the wall (or stabilize it through some other method) so it won't tip over. A falling fireplace, even this relatively light one, could injure pets or small children, or at the very least damage any ornaments placed on it.
Remember the fireplace is cardboard – don't use lighted candles or other forms of live flame.