A non-functional or faux fireplace can add a dash of romance to a bedroom or give a down-home feeling to an otherwise formal room. Faux fireplaces are a compromise in a small apartment or a prefabricated home, allowing the family feeling of a fireplace without the risk. Faux fireplaces can look completely real if made from brick or stone, or they can be mockups made of papier-mache and trompe l'oeil paint. Many faux fireplaces are created just for the late fall through winter, when a fireplace adds a touch of nostalgia.

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Build a Fake Fireplace

Step 1

Build a 6 inch high base of foam blocks, 3 feet wide and 6 feet long, laid just like they were real bricks. Cut bricks with a utility knife if needed to make the pattern continue correctly and to keep the corners of your hearth square. Lay the widest slab of foam on top of the base rows and secure it to them with clear silicone adhesive. Allow this to dry overnight.

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Step 2

Build the sides of the firebox using the same type foam blocks as in Step One. The firebox is the cavity where the fire would be laid if the fireplace were real. The right and left sides of the firebox should be two feet deep, with one foot of the width of the hearth exposed in front of the firebox opening. The firebox opening should be at least three feet wide and two feet deep. Continue building firebox sides until they are two to three feet high.

Step 3

Position the 2-feet-wide-by-6-feet-long-by-2-inch piece of foam on top of firebox. Secure with clear silicone adhesive. Allow to dry. Continue building on top of the 2 feet wide foam piece another 2 feet higher with foam blocks. Blocks should be laid just as if they were real bricks, set back less than one inch from the front edge of the 2 feet wide foam piece along its length, and laid across the width of the foam piece at the sides. Stagger the blocks just like real bricks. Use a utility knife to cut the blocks as needed to fit from front to back.

Step 4

Lay the second 2-foot-by-6-feet-by-2-inch foam mantel slab in place. Secure with clear silicone adhesive. Allow several days for all adhesives to dry, then paint entire fireplace with a medium tint brick or clay color. Dry brush a lighter shade of brick or clay over entire piece. Follow by dry brushing with a darker shade of brick or clay color, or mix charcoal ashes with your medium color and dry brush that over entire fireplace.

Step 5

Paint inside of firebox black or dark gray. Allow to dry 24 to 36 hours before decorating fireplace. Fireplace should not be used to display heavy objects and is not flame safe, even for candles or oil burners.