The center of any living room should be the fireplace. This is a special place in the house because it brings people together. The information provided below is to help you achieve your vision of building and making your own shaker fireplace surround and built-ins. In addition I hope that it is able to answer any questions you may have on your DIY do it yourself home improvement journey.

Why a Shaker Style Fireplace

When my wife and I decided to build our house I knew I wanted our fireplace to be a special place. I wanted something that was going to draw everyone’s eye, something we could all gather around and tell stories and create memories. I first thought I wanted a traditional Craftsman styled fireplace because the outside of our house follows the Craftsman look and feel. After some research and deep thought I discovered that I really didn’t like the Craftsman look on the inside of our home. I gravitated to the Shaker style and my wife leaned toward the Farmhouse. Our style is what I call modern farmhouse. I did a lot of sketches and illustrations to come up with the design of the fireplace mantel and surround.

My goal was to follow the Shaker’s guiding principles. If you don’t know much about the Shaker style here is a brief history.

History of the Shaker Style

Shaker furniture is a distinctive style of furniture developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as Shakers, a religious sect that had guiding principles of simplicity, utility and honesty. Their beliefs were reflected in the well-made furniture of minimalist designs.

Their furniture was made thoughtfully, with functional form and proportion. Rather than using ornamentation — such as inlays, carvings, metal pulls, or veneers — which was seen as prideful or deceitful, they developed “creative solutions such as asymmetrical drawer arrangements and multipurpose forms to add visual interest.” Furniture was made of cherry, maple or pine lumber, which was generally stained or painted with one of the colors which were dictated by the sect, typically blue, red, yellow or green. Drawer pulls for dressers or other furniture were made of wood.

I personally believe this style is timeless because of its simplicity and can change with you as your home changes throughout the decades.

How to Build a Shaker Styled Fireplace Surround

I have created a downloadable PDF blueprint with all the information, measurements and details you need to make this amazing Shaker inspired fireplace.

download the plans

Materials

Most of the materials can be found at your local hardware store and on Amazon.

  • Poplar Wood 1×3 = 36ft
  • Poplar Wood 1×4 = 6ft
  • Poplar Wood 1×6 = 24ft
  • Poplar Cove 9/16×3-1/2 | goo.gl/uZ2kS6
  • Poplar Mantel 1x5x60 | https://bit.ly/2yrsKgw
  • Pine 1×6 = 6ft
  • Pine 2×4 = 8ft
  • ¼ in MDF = 2”x4” (2x)

Tools

Miscellaneous Items

Step 1 | What You Need to Know Before You Lay Marble Tile for a Fireplace Surround

Laying the tile was probably the most challenging part of the build. When you are laying tile around a fireplace you need to keep in mind that the walls and surround are going to get very hot. The heat from the wood or gas burning fireplace release a lot of thermal heat into the room. Be sure to consult your firebox manual and local codes to ensure you are installing everything correctly.

installing white marble tile around a fireplace surround                   installing and setting marble around a firebox

I built a wooden frame/bridge to help hold the tile in place. I would recommend watching my Shaker Fireplace Build video to see how I installed the marble tile around my fireplace.

The other thing you need to remember is that you cannot lay tile over metal without some type of membrane. The reason is that the mortar can’t adhere to metal it will just slide off and/or dry and crack.

I did a lot of research and came across a great product Ultraset SF by Bostik. You can purchase Ultraset SF online or your local tile dealer may be able to order it for you. This stuff worked great and did the job however be mindful that you need/must to wear gloves, I didn’t realize how sticky it is to work with. It has the consistency of thick putty or really sticky chewing gum. You don’t want to get this stuff on your hands it will not come off easily, trust me I learned the hard way!

I would purchase the G & F 3100 Knit Glove with Textured Latex Coating from Amazon, you will be glad you did. This will give you the textile feedback you need to get the job done and won’t break down or fall apart if the Ultaset happens to get on them.

Step 2 | How to Build and Assemble a Shake Fireplace Surround

I would recommend watching my video showing you how to build and assemble a shaker fireplace. This video will help you if you download my shaker fireplace surround plans or have purchased the shaker fireplace kit.

The Shaker Fireplace Kit includes pre-cut materials to assemble this amazing shaker fireplace surround. It is important to note that the kit does not include the mantel section (mantel, crown molding & mounting material). The reason why the kit does not include the mantel section is to keep the cost of the kit to an affordable price. Customers and DIYers have different needs when it comes to lengths and depths of. their mantel. In additional shipping costs greatly increase when packages reach a specific size and weight. My goal is to provide you the most flexible and modifiable Shaker Fireplace Surround Kit possible.

Step 3 | How to Install a Fireplace Surround and Mantel

Building a fireplace surround and mantel is not as hard as you might think. It just takes planning and forethought. The biggest challenge to building a fireplace mantel and surround is figuring out how you are going to attach the surround to the wall. I overcame this challenge by installing 2×3 blocks of wood to the drywall using liquid nails and screws. You can see by the picture that the 2×3 blocks of wood are screwed into the drywall and that I then placed the boxes I made over the blocks to hold them in place.

mounting block for a shaker fireplace column                   mounting block for a column

Once the boxes were in place I simply used my nail gun and nailed them to the block of wood. This technique proved to be a really good technique to getting a seamless and clean install of the boxes on the left and right of my surround. I have to be honest, it was one of my most favorite parts of the build. There was something really gratifying about attaching the boxes to the wall. I only wish I took more pictures of the process.

The next step is to install the crown molding or whatever design feature you have or want to add to your mantel. This part was rather easy. I would recommend watching my video on how to cut the trim

Once your crown molding is installed you are now ready to install the mantel. I used the same technique that I used for installing the side shaker boxes to the drywall. I simply placed and secured wooden blocks evenly inside the shaker center box using my nail gun and liquid nails. These blocks provide support for the mantel as well as something to drill and screw the mantel to. Once the blocks were secure all I had to do was place my mantle on top and screw it in place and cover the screw holes with wood putty and prep for painting.

Step 4 | How to Finish and Paint a Fireplace Surround

I really enjoy painting things like furniture and odd stuff, however I don’t like painting walls and find it rather boring. Before I painted the surround I had to caulk the cracks and fill any holes with wood putty. This is a very, very important step. You want to make sure the surface of where you are going to paint is as smooth as possible. Most people think that all you have to do is sand and sometimes that is true but most of the time you need to go one step further. I used caulk because the fireplace will emit a lot of heat.

finishing and prepping shaker fireplace for painting                    finishing fireplace surround baseboard with caulk

Wood putty will crack under heat and that is why you should always use something like caulk for cracks when the situation permits. I ended up giving the fireplace surround 3 coats of paint. The paint I used is from Sherwin Williams and it is important to note not all paints are equal. For furniture or carpentry you should use the highest quality paint you can afford. If you are interested in the specific color just leave me a comment. Below is a picture of what it looked like before I painted it and next to it is the final coat of paint.

shaker fireplace before paint natural wood                    shaker fireplace after painted white

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The fireplace is a special place in your home and you can make it even more special by creating it your self. I personally loved making this shaker fireplace surround. Don’t be intimidated by attempting this DIY project, I know you can do itIf you are however feeling a bit intimidated and don’t have all the tools to make the shaker fireplace you can purchase the Shaker Fireplace Kit and save your self time and money or if your feeling up to the challenge you can download the Shaker Fireplace Plan. If you found this information helpful please be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and share this information with others. 

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