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Embrace Gothic Decor With This Modern Halloween Mantel Idea

Embrace Gothic Decor With This Modern Halloween Mantel Idea

Spooky season is my favourite time of year, and what screams more scary than skulls and snakes on a creepy antique mantel? I didn’t want to touch my real fireplace (I just finished giving it a makeover), so I decided to create a gothic-inspired modern Halloween mantel using a faux cardboard fireplace and lots of thrift and dollar store treasures! Follow these steps to make your own.


Related: Halloween Staircase Decor: The Simple Way to Style Your Home for Spooky Season

What You’ll Need:

  • A large cardboard box
  •  Sharpie
  • Utility knife
  • String
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Corner wood appliques
  • Mod podge
  • Matt black spray paint
  • Gold gilding wax
  • Coarse paint brush
  • Seasonal dollar store treasures (think skulls, spiders, snakes, scorpions – the creepier, the better!)

person using an exacto-knife to cut cardboard

Step One: Make the Base 

Find a large cardboard box. I used an extra-large TV box we had sitting around that needed a job. Use your Sharpie to mark out the fireplace and a utility knife to carve everything out. I wanted the fireplace to have an arched opening, so I attached some string to my marker to create a half circle before tracing over it with my knife. Make a bunch of tiny folds along one long cardboard panel to line the inside of the arch, and use masking tape to secure everything together.

Step Two: Add Haunting Built-Ins 

Start adding your spooky details! Depending on what materials you pick up from your local thrift store or dollar store, this part of the process may vary slightly for you. I cut a hole in the centre of the front for a dollar store skull to sit into and used hot glue to secure it. Then I found some Halloween garden stakes and cut off the “stakes,” leaving me with two flat skulls, which I attached to either side.

Related: 12 Timeless Halloween Decorations You Definitely Won’t Regret Putting Up

person making a halloween mantel fireplace using cardboard

Step Three: Frame Your New Fireplace Mantel 

Next, frame them with corner wood appliques to enhance the antique look. Add some cardboard trim pieces to frame everything up and incorporate some dimension.


Step Four: Add a Spooky Skull 

Add a vinyl skull placemat to the back, centre of the inside of the fireplace with some mod podge.

Person cutting plastic skull stake

Related: This Spooky DIY Halloween Wreath is a Fun Way to Greet Trick-or-Treaters

Step Five: Paint and Polish 

Coat the entire fireplace with matte black spray paint. Once dry, use a coarse, flat brush to dust on some gold gilding wax. I love how the rough application of the gilding wax shows up on the black paint and makes all the details pop!

Step Six: Have Fun With Final Touches 

With a few magical swipes of your haunted styling wand, some inexpensive seasonal items from your local dollar store, and a rainy afternoon, you’ll be on your way with your personalized spooky season fireplace mantel!

Person painting skull on fireplace mantel

Images courtesy of Courtney Ryall. 

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