How to Build a Shaker Fireplace Mantel and Surround – Woodworking

DIFFICULTY: Intermediate

The center of any living room should be the fireplace. This is a special place in the house because it brings people together. I have wonderful memories of the fireplace that was in my house as a kid growing up in Georgia. We were lucky and had a real wood working fireplace.  Not many fireplaces these days are wood burning, most of them use natural gas. The fireplace I grew up with was always a special place full of great memories and laughter. Now that I have my own home I decided to build my fireplace surround based on the classic Shaker Style, clean, simple and timeless.

I have provided plans for you to download if you want to build this fireplace for your home.

Watch The Videos

Building A Shaker Fireplace Surround

How I Installed the Shaker Fireplace Surround and Mantel

How To Build A Shaker Mantel


1”x3”x6” Select Pine7Select Pine is okay, Poplar is best
1”x4”x6” Select Pine4Select Pine is okay, Poplar best
Molding Cove 9/16”x3.5”10ftThis is not at your local hardware store
2”x4”x8” Pine1Framing lumber
1”x6”x6” Select Pine1Select Pine
2”x10”x96” Poplar14/4 (true 1in thick) Poplar board is best however if you can’t find it a standard 2”x10” will work
1/4”x24”x48” MDF1MDF board
1/2”x3x36”1S4S Polar Board


β€’ Miter Saw |
β€’ Table Saw |
β€’ Cordless Drill |
β€’ Drill Bits |
β€’ Orbital Sander |
β€’ Plunge Router |
β€’ 24 in. Quick Grip Clamps (4 clamps) |
β€’ 40 in. Bessey REVOlution Parellel Clamp (4 clamps) |
β€’ Cordless Nail Gun Kit |
β€’ Nail Gun Kit |
β€’ Air Compressor |
β€’ Level |
β€’ Hammer |
β€’ Tape Measure |
β€’ Putty Knife |
β€’ Fluted Drill Bits |
β€’ Kreg Pocket Hold Jig |
β€’ Kreg Face Clamp |
β€’ Micro Jig GRR Ripper |
β€’ Dado Blad Set |


Titebond 31The best wood glue
1” 1/4” Screws25Kreg Jig 1” 1/4” pan-head coarse screws
1” 1/4” Brad Nails1Box of brad nails
3/4” Brad Nails1Box of brad nails
2” 1/2” Wood Screws1Box of wood screws 
3” Wood Screws1Box of wood screws
220 grit sandpaper1Pack
Thin Set Mortar1White Thin Set Mortar
Grout1White Grout
Ultraset SF1Ultraset SF for covering the metal so your tile can stick –
Liquid Nails1Liquid Nails (Optional)
Carrara White Marble10Carrara White Marble 12×12 sheets –
Caulk2DAP Caulk White
Wood Putty132oz DAP Plastic Wood Putty
White Paint11gal White Urethane Paint
Tile Spacers11/8 Inches Wide Tile Spacers


How to build a shaker fireplace surround. Please note this is a basic instruction how to for a more detailed version be sure to download the plans.

Step 1

Watch the video and download the blueprints.

Step 2

First, lay your tile. This was probably the most challenging part of the build. The one thing you need to keep in mind when laying tile around a fireplace is 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 and surrounding walls where the fireplace is installed.

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 or dray 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. I didn’t realize how sticky it would be. It has the consistency of thick putty or really sticky chewing gum. I recommend you use gloves before even opening the case. If you get this stuff on your hands won’t be able to get it 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 3

Cut your material to size. If you don’t have all the tools to cut down your material, most hardware stores will pre-cut it for you.

Step 4

Drill your pocket holes.

Step 5

Glue and assemble your fireplace surround.

Step 6

Attach the surround to the wall by installing 2×3 blocks of wood to the drywall. I used 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. Once the boxes were in place I simply used my nail gun and nailed them to the block of wood.

Step 7

Next I installed my fireplace mantel top

Step 8

Before you paint your surround you will need to caulk and wood putty and cracks or holes. Be sure to sand everything smooth.

Step 9

I painted my fireplace white. I recommend using an enamel based paint. This is much more durable than acrylic based paint.

The Built-ins and Bookshelves

After I finished building my fireplace surround I then began working on the build-ins on either side of the fireplace. I continued the shaker look and feel thought the design of the cabinets and bookshelves.