Autumn Inspiration & DIY Floating Mantel

It’s finally September and autumn is just around the corner! Yippee! Do you love fall like I do? I’ve got it so bad that I switch the Christmas song to this season, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….”

Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces

The colors, harvest time, fall festivals, knowing things are slowing down all make it seem so comforting. My husband tells me that it’s sort of weird I like it because everything is dying. Not so!  Everything is going to sleep and taking a rest, including me!! Tsk.

Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces

 About a year ago, I decided to finally get a mantel put on our fireplace and I knew just what I wanted. A barn beam mantel.  Not a shiny, glamorous looking mantle, but a rustic, roughed up, story-telling mantel. I knew I could find one somewhere in the farm country I live in, so I put a wanted out on Freecycle (willing to pay), Craigslist, etc., and bingo! Freecycle came through and guy had torn down a barn and had all sorts of goodies for me to peruse.

At $4 a foot, this was a steal because no one wants old-looking barn beams, except rare finds like me. ahem. We took the whole family and had a blast because rarely do we get to be out on farm with all its sights, sounds, and animals. It didn’t take long for me to find the perfect beam with perfect imperfections.

A floating mantel was the option we did, which basically means that it doesn’t attach to “legs”, but looks as if it is floating on the wall. Want to do one yourself?  You don’t have to use a barn beam, but anything you want really. It’s pretty simple, but there are a few necessary steps to take to make it safe and secure.

Here’s what you’ll need:

*this post does contain affiliate links so you can find the products I love!

First, check the codes in your area for installing a mantel. We have a raised hearth, with a fireplace insert, and added 13″ from the top of the insert, putting the top of our mantel at 49″ above the hearth. Once you’ve figured out your height, you will need to find the studs in the wall with a stud finder or other method.

Next, grab a tape measure and mark the spots across the wall, making sure you’ll be landing in a stud at the correct height. Double-check by using a level and chalk line marker to give you a visible guide. Since we are drilling into our bricks, we found a mortar line and used it as a guide.

You will need to know the length of your mantel to figure how many bolts you will need. When you’ve got your measurement you’ll want to use this formula:

  • Find center – mark it with chalk.  Starting from center, measure out 12″ each direction and mark. We used 5 bolts for our 7’4″ beam at 12″ apart, leaving large space at ends because of the openings in our beam.  You could go to the edge.
Once you’ve got your marks, you will need to drill the holes for the sleeves with the hammer drill and 3/4″ bit. Mark your bit with tape at 3″ to make sure you get the accurate depth. Tap the sleeves in with a small sledge until flush with the wall.
Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
Using the ratchet and appropriate socket, anchor down the lag bolts, leaving 3″ sticking out. Then take your hacksaw or angle grinder and cut the heads off the bolts. This will allow you to slide the mantel onto the bolts easily.
Grab your chalk and rub it on the end of the bolts in the wall. You could measure and mark your mantel on the backside for the bolts, but that can be a little tricky, so we decided to just lift the mantel up to the chalked bolts and press it into them to get the mirror image on the mantel. That way we would know where to drill. Just be precise as can be when pressing the mantel onto the bolts.
Now, drill the mantel, using the 1/2″ drill bit, on the chalk marks you just made on the mantel. Do a dry fit to see if your holes line up. We had to tweak ours just a bit, but for the most part we got it. Our dry run was so hard to remove that we felt it wasn’t necessary to use an epoxy. However, there is any epoxy that is made specifically for wood to metal, just go to your local hardware store and ask.
Mount the mantel and let cure (if using epoxy) and then break out the decorations!!
Ta da!! My hubby did most of the work because this was my Mother’s Day present. I am very pleased to have it!
Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
My autumn mantel is not yet complete because the local gourds and goods have yet to be harvested, but…lookin’ good so far don’t you think? Become a follower to see updates!
Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
Don’t you just love the hand-hewn beam with the hand-hewn crossbeam notches? Can you see the hand-drilled holes in the notches? I am in awe of the craftsmanship.
How about you…what do you do to celebrate autumn?
Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
If you loved this DIY tutorial, become a follower, or sign up to get email feeds right to your inbox – just click on the button in the sidebar.
Pin and share!
Want to add a floating mantel, but don't know how? It's pretty simple and we've got the DIY for you! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
More DIY goodness for you:
DIY Barn Wood Shutters from Old Pallets by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesDIY Faux Farmhouse Barn Beam Ceiling by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
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  • kellyorr

    Looks very pretty, Larissa! I love the color of the beam and the homey way you decorated for Fall.

    Great job!

    September 2, 2013 at 11:13 am Reply
  • Suzan Sweatman

    How beautiful Larissa – how absolutely beautiful!!!
    But I can’t visit if you’re going to sing Christmas songs – I’m still in denial that it’s FALL LMHO
    Happy Labor day

    September 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm Reply
  • Christine Graves

    It looks amazing….such a great hubby! I keep seeing all the beautiful things for each season you can decorate it with….congrats!

    September 5, 2013 at 11:43 am Reply
  • Karen

    Wow you found the perfect beam and dressed it for fall beautifully.

    September 6, 2013 at 1:17 am Reply
  • Liz Hockamier

    Hi Larissa,
    I’m here from Brenda’s blog. I just love your new “old mantel” 🙂
    Darling Blog. I’m your newest follower.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    September 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm Reply

    Cute, cute, cute! I’m visiting from Cozy Little House’s Welcome Wagon post. I write at Next week several other bloggers and I are having a fall decorating party… I’d love for you to come link up! 🙂 Love your blog!

    September 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm Reply
  • chateau chic

    Love the old rustic beam you found. Your fall goodies look great on it!
    Mary Alice

    September 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm Reply
  • Becca Diestelkamp-Woodham

    LOVE the beam. Looks great. Tell your hubby nice job! Thanks for sharing! Stop by my Friday’s Five Features and link up this post (and others)!

    September 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm Reply
  • Jody and Stan

    Love your new mantel, such a creative way using a beam! All your pretty fall things look so festive on it!


    September 6, 2013 at 9:35 pm Reply
  • Tina C

    What a wonderful looking mantel. I am envious. Your fall decor looks great!

    September 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm Reply
  • Kayla Janachovsky

    This looks great! I love your rustic feel. I’d love for you to link up to The DIY’ers!

    September 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply
  • Olive

    Your rustic mantel is beautiful. It has wonderful patina. It could tell us some stories I think.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:43 pm Reply
  • Jona @ Boho Willow

    Love the little nooks in the mantle! You can hide all kinds of little decorating surprises!

    September 10, 2013 at 12:01 am Reply
  • Robin Johnson

    Your new mantel is fabulous! I looks amazing against the brick of the fireplace and I just love how you’ve decorated it. Love it.

    September 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm Reply
  • Suzie @ Dorothy Sue and Mille Bs too

    Gorgeous…. I love it!

    September 16, 2013 at 2:51 am Reply
  • Geneva

    Your mantle is wonderful, and styled so beautifully! You guys did a great job!!!

    September 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm Reply
  • [email protected]

    What a difference that mantel and your decorations made to your fireplace! Makes that wall look so much homier and cozy now. I’m planning to put some floating shelves on my dining room wall soon, so thanks for the inspiration.

    October 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm Reply
  • Audrey

    Love the barn wood beam. Looks a little tricky to install, but you’ll did a wonderful job. Looks so good.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

    October 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm Reply
  • [email protected] The Picket Fence

    Love and need this tutorial, thanks for linking up, I pinned it!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:46 am Reply
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