I was tired of not having a place to hang the Christmas stockings. With no fireplace and no mantel in our 1960's ranch home, I decided to build one myself! It turned out to be one of the easiest projects I've done.
I had Home Depot cut all of the wood for me, so once I got home, I just had to nail it together. The actual building of the mantel took about an hour. Including the sanding, caulking, and painting, it took about four hours total. I also added a piece of faux brick paneling to the back of the mantel.
I made a "fire" using some river rocks and small limbs. I placed them in a circle and added string lights for the "fire" effect.
For more pictures, check out http://deepestoceanblue.com/diy-mantel-and-fake-fire/