Today I am sharing a step by step tutorial on how to building your own shiplap electric fireplace.
I am so excited about today’s post. A lot of love and labor went into this fireplace and we are so happy with how it turned out.
TV walls can be so hard to decorate especially when you have a larger wall behind it. This shiplap fireplace was the perfect solution. It made our space so cozy and filled a wall that would have otherwise been blank. It is now the best part of our living room.
This post is going to be an in-depth guide of exactly how we transformed our boring TV wall into a beautiful statement piece. We are not professional carpenters in any way. This project can be done by anyone with the desire to make a shiplap fireplace on their own. I hope that this guide will help you every step of the way.
Let’s get started!
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Amounts will vary depending on how big you want your fireplace to be. See step one to determine your materials. I have indicated the exact amount we used for a 5′ wide by 8′-6″ fireplace.
We purchased the majority of the items from Home Depot. I highly recommend ordering from this list online and picking it all up in-store. This saves so much time. All you have to do is show up and load it into the car.
- (14) 2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. ( Framing)
- (4) 1 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft ( Anchor Boards)
- (1) 1 in x 4 in x 8 ft. ( Top Trim)
- (20 Boards) Shiplap
- (4) Lattice Molding
- (2) Inside Corner Trim
- Construction Screws
- Finish Nails
- Spackling Paste
- Secret Door Hinge
- Secret Door Latch
Fireplace Insert-We purchased the 30 inch one.
- (3) 1 in x 8 in x 6 ft common boards
- (1) 2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft.
- Minwax White Wash Pickling
- Behr semi-transparent waterproof stain and seal tint base number 5077 in Cordovan Brown
- (2) Wood Veneer Sheets
Step One: Design Planning
Step Two: Shiplap Fireplace Framing
To begin you will want to remove any pictures hanging. As well as any baseboard trim or crown molding that is on the wall you would like to have your shiplap fireplace. This will give you a completely blank wall to start with.
General Wall Marking:
Next, you will mark the center of the wall as well as the final width of the fireplace. Within the final width of the fireplace, locate and mark all studs in the wall using your stud finder. This is very important because the entire frame will be anchored to these studs in the existing wall.
Take your 1 x 4 x 6 boards and cut to the final width of the fireplace (in our case it was 5 ft ). Next, mark the center of these 1 x 4 boards. Measure the height from the floor to the ceiling and mark 4 equal spaces. This is where your 1 x 4 boards will be screwed in.
Align the center of the board with the centerline of the wall while also placing it at the appropriate height marked (4 equal spaces). Using your bubble level, cordless drill and construction screws, attach your 1 x 4 boards to the wall. Ensure that they are level as well as centered on the wall. You will repeat this three more times to create an anchor for the entire fireplace.
The next step is to build the sides of your fireplace. To do this you will need to know the height from floor to ceiling. If the height is greater than 8’-3”, you do not have to cut your 2 in x 4 in studs.
If the ceilings are shorter than 8’-3”, you will have to cut your studs. Take the height of your ceilings and subtract 3 in. This will give you the height of your vertical boards.
You will need (4) 2 x 4 studs, either full length or cut to length depending on your wall height. You will also need to cut (4) 2 x 4 studs that are the final depth of the fireplace, in our case, it was 12” ( Top and Bottom Plate). To ensure your side walls are extra sturdy you will need cut (6) 2 x 4 pieces and equally space them in the middle of your frame.
To construct the walls see the photo below.
Take your finished walls and stand them upright, one for each side of the fireplace. Line up the outside edge of the mounted 1 x 4 board with the outside edge of your stud. This will ensure your edges meet the overall width of the final fireplace. Screw the walls through the studs into the anchored 1 x 4 boards already on the wall. You now have two side walls that will make up your fireplace!
The front-facing portion of the framing gets a little more tricky. Here are a few things you will need to know before beginning.
- The final height of the bottom of the fireplace.
- The width and height of the firebox insert.
Based on these measurements you can begin the framing the front of the fireplace. You will build a box on the bottom, similar to how you built the side walls with 3 studs and a bottom and top plate. The final height of your box should go from the floor to the bottom of the fireplace opening. Insert this box and screw it to the side walls already in place.
Next, you will need (4) 2 x 4 studs cut to the height of the fireplace insert. Screw these (4) studs into the top of the box you have just built from the bottom. (2) on the sides and the other (2) the overall width of your fireplace insert centered. Then place (1) 2 x 4 stud cut to the entire length of the opening over the top of these (4) boards and screw into place.
See the picture below. (Please note: our home is 150 years old and a little crooked, so we compensated for the angle to make the fireplace level)
To finish the front frame you will need (4) studs. (2) for the sides and (2) 16″ on center. Then you will need to cut one final board for the top. You can build this portion of the frame on the ground. Once secure lift into place and screw into the side walls.
Congrats! You have a rough framed fireplace.
Step Three: Shiplap Fireplace Secret Door for Electronics (optional)
If you would like to cleanly hide all your electronics and have some patience, read on.
We were originally going to cut a hole in the shiplap behind the TV and create a shelf. But the TV mount that we wanted to use did not allow for that. So we decided to make a secret side door that we could easily access and that no one would see. It was tricky but we are so happy with how it came out.
We went through multiple revisions to make this seamless and working correctly.
The shelves will house things like a cable box, router, DVD player or gaming system. Measure approximately where you want your door to go. This should be somewhere close to where the TV will go, while not being too high that it is out of reach.
Within the fireplace, framing add shelves by adding small lengths of 2 x 4 from the anchor wall to the outside stud and screw in place. Small pieces of plywood can be used to cover the shelves and create a solid surface.
The Base Door:
Adding Shiplap to Door:
Tips on the secret door:
- Know where the door will go before you start adding shiplap to your fireplace and ensure the frame will work for the swing of the door.
- The last piece of shiplap bottom lip should be cut so there is clearance for the bottom of the shiplap to swing into the fireplace. Also, ensure your internal shelves work for this as well.
- Make the base door smaller than the opening height. This will allow plenty of clearance. The close-fitting part of this door should be the shiplap, not the base door.
- Be patient with this as it might take a couple of tries to get it just right.
- Also, plan out precisely where the magnetic latch will go. The goal is to close the door flush with the other shiplap and just connect with the magnet to hold it shut.
Step Four: Install Shiplap
Each board should be level. Make small adjustments along the way to correct any boards that are not perfectly level. (using the bubble level).
As you wrap the corners from one edge to another, ensure the shiplap gap lines up from the sidewall to the front wall.
When shiplapping the front of the fireplace, be sure to add additional length to overlap the sidewall shiplap pieces. This will ensure a square edge to put the corner trim against.
Step Five: Shiplap Fireplace Trim
Step Six: Fill & Paint
Fill all Holes:
At this point, you should have a pretty good looking fireplace, except for all those nail holes. You should fill those small nail holes with spackle leaving a bit extra over the nail holes. You can also take window/trim caulk and fill any bigger gaps in the trim.
One tip with spackling is to not try and scrap the spackle flush with the surface. It will shrink a little and leave a small divot. Leave extra so that it can be sanded perfectly flush when the spackle is dry.
Once the spackle is dry, I recommend using a power hand sander to sand all fill flush. You should use a shop vac/ home vac during this step because dust is going to get EVERYWHERE. Be prepared. Drop cloths over furniture can be particularly helpful.
Once all spackle holes and caulk lines are dry and sanded flush it’s time to paint. Start by wiping down the fireplace with a damp cloth or paper towel to pick up any dust. This should also be done with a vacuum to pick up any lingering dust
Once all the surfaces are cleaned, pick up your favorite can of paint, matching the existing wall if desired. Run over the shiplap gaps with a brush first. Then a roller after. This will ensure the paint gets into the gaps for a uniform color coverage.
We used Sherwin William Alabaster for the shiplap to match our existing walls.
Step Seven: DIY Mantel
The mantle was constructed using three 1 in x 8 in x 6 ft common boards. Cut all three boards to length desired, we used 4 ft-4 in as the final width of our mantel. If you purchase 6 ft boards you should have some leftover.
You will need to cut 2 boards for the end caps. Once all your boards are cut, you can use a Kreg Jig or nail gun to assemble. We choose to use Kreg Jig and Kreg screws because you end up with a flush outer surface and no nail holes. If using a Kreg Jig, drill holes for the inside edges and mate each board with the proper length screws.
Once all your pieces are assembled, you can stain with your favorite stain. We used this Minwax White Wash Pickling paint to remove any yellow from the wood. Then we used Behr semi-transparent waterproof stain and seal tint base number 5077 in Cordovan Brown over that. To finish we used wood veneer sheets to cover the end caps. We used the same staining process we used on the boards, on the veneer sheets.
To mount the mantle, we took 4 small pieces of 2 x 4 and screwed into the fireplace studs at the approximate height we wanted the mantle. Then we screwed the mantle into place from the top into these small pieces of wood.
Step Eight: Install Electric Fireplace Insert
We went with this electric insert from Amazon. When it arrived we were pleasantly surprised with how real it looks. One of my biggest concerns was that it was going to look cheesy with a fake fire. It has a brick background and the logs look very realistic. There are three flame settings and it also has a heater with temperature control.
So far we have found the quality to be great and it also comes with a remote which is always a plus. It is very easy to install. You have already built your fireplace to the perfect opening dimensions so all you have to do is plug it in and slide it into the opening.
One thing we did not realize when we purchased is that there is no way to secure it into the wall. But we found that once it was in the opening it is a tight fit. So, for now, we do not have any concerns with it falling out and that also allows us to easily access behind it if we need to. Shop our electric insert here.
Step Nine: TV Mount & Wire Management (optional)
The final step is installing your TV if that is what you will be putting over your mantel. We chose the Mantle Mount MM540 to mount our TV over the mantle. We chose this mount because it allows you to pull the TV down over the mantel. Our TV was too high up and this allows you to watch TV without straining your neck. Follow the provided instructions to mount your TV with the provided hardware.
For the wires, we drilled a hole through the cover of the mantle mount and the shiplap. This allowed us to run all the necessary wires for the TV. These all linked back to our equipment located behind the secret door. We used zip ties to clean up the wires.
We are so happy with how this project came out and it was worth all the effort. I would say this is hands down my favorite DIY we have ever done. I hope that this guide inspired you to build your own shiplap fireplace. If there is something that we did not cover or if you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. If you do build it let me know. You can send me an email or use the tag #mddinspired on Instagram!
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