Repurposed Mantle Shelf

Repurposed Mantle Shelf

Use designer Kenneth Wingard’s simple instructions to upcycle a mantle into a decorative shelf.

5 col

Second-hand mantle
Sandpaper – 150-grit
Wood putty
Paint scraper
Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss Paint with primer
Wood screws
Stud finder
3-inch wood screws
1-inch wood screws


Prep / paint:

  1. Go to your local salvage yard and purchase an old mantle. Make sure the mantle will fit in the space you’re planning to put it in. Ideally look for a mantle was a flat back
  2. Remove any leftover nails and dowels with hammer and/or pliers, and remove any excess paint with paint scraper. Clean off any excess paint flakes on mantle by wiping with a towel
  3. Use wood putty to fill in any of the nail or dowel holes on the mantle left by removing the legs
  4. Sand down mantle with 150-grit sandpaper, working with the grain of wood
  5. Paint the mantle using a paintbrush. Allow paint to dry. Repeat painting and drying to ensure complete coverage. Two coats are best

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These mounting instructions use a French cleat, which is good for hanging heavy objects on the wall and allowing adjustments to the left and right up to 6 inches. The holes along the female end of the French cleat sit on a track that will fit into the male end of the French cleat to lock into position.

  1. Hold up mantle to wall and determine best place to hang it. Use a stud finder to find studs to mount the mantle into. Mark this position on the wall with a pencil and also on the back of the mantle. This is how you will know where you install the French cleat, which will hold up the mantle
  2. Use 3-inch wood screws and screwdriver to attach the French cleat female end to the wall in your selected position. Use a level to ensure the cleat is horizontally level on the wall and make sure you are attaching the cleat into your studs
  3. Install the male end of the French cleat to the back of the mantle into the position you marked using 1-inch wood screws, drill, and level
  4. Align the French cleat male and female ends to the left or right until it is in the desired position. Once the mantle is in the desired position, push the mantle into the wall and listen for the click of the French cleats. This means that the mantle is locked into place

Designers Note: We hung looped upholstered chair cushions on hooks to create a backing for the daybed.

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