Saturday, 11 February 2017

Chimney and fire finished and in place

Here's a reminder of what real chimney breasts and fireboxes look like.  We don't need to construct the flue because we will never see it but the rest of this diagram gives you a good idea of how the rest fits together.

Paint inside the firebox and the back wall where the fire will be.  This can be finished in any way you like - add bricks and dirty them up for a real fire, or paint in any colour or finish for a modern gas fire.  My fires are supposed to be gas fires not coal fires but I opted for a simple dark grey (my slate undercoat) paint.

inside the firebox

Cut out the wallpaper to fit the shape of the chimney breast.  Paste the chimney breast with wallpaper paste of choice - for me its this border adhesive right now and I use my fingers for the spreader.  You could paste the paper instead, but this way round is probably easier.

paste wall rather than paper

Some papers (just like real life) will tend to bubble.  Don't panic; just gently dab the surface all over with soft cloth.  Don't rub and don't over do it, papers can be frail when wet.  Be sure they are air bubbles and not clumps of paste (or debris!).  If the bubbles are now small like these they will disappear when the paper is dry and shrinks back to proper size.

scary bubbles

I decided on a marble slab trim.  I had some left over from when I trimmed the fireplace ages ago.  I got it by typing 'marbled paper images' in a Google search - found what I wanted, copied and printed it.  You'll see a yellow version on the fireplace in the music room when I come to work on that level.  Marbled paper gives a smaller pattern to go at than  sample pictures of life-size marble.

first 'slab' in place

I folded the edges over so they look like marble slabs just in case anyone decides to look around the fireplace edges with an endoscope any time - just one of the daft things we do - no-one will ever see this again!  I coated them with a layer of Mod Podge just to take the fuzz off the paper surface.  Mod Podge is sold for decoupage so is ideal.  It doesn't run the inks and is very see through.  Mine is mat so doesn't catch the light but 'hardens' the look of the 'marble'.

folded over to give illusion of depth

I digress a little here to show you one of my HUGE favourite things.  Our B & Q has a little rack of Rustoleum's Painters touch specialist paints at the end of one of their paint rows.  There are tiny pots of all sorts of things - my favourites being their metal finishes and their chalk paint.  This one is the Pewter finish.  It is water based (easy clean up) goes on thinly so doesn't cover details, dries quickly and leaves no brush marks.  It's the bee's knees.

big favourite
This is a Phoenix fireplace - they are made in a sort of pewter but they look much better when painted with the pewter paint!

So here we are fireplace lit and in place - tick!  Not very brightly lit as I am using a 9v. battery just to check its OK.


In summary I confess that if my budget stretched to it I would prefer to get someone to cut my chimney breasts to order.  There is no 'worry' about wood bending in any way and it is robust enough to shove in and out if necessary when you are wriggling the various components in place.  I think Jennifers of Walsall can offer this bespoke service.  

Dolls House Cottage Workshop do some pre-cut ones.  I used one in the sitting room and it proved easy peasy.



  1. Just gorgeous, so beautiful colour combinations!

    1. Thank you Ingi, that's very kind. It is getting there slowly.

  2. I love how you've added the pewter paint to the fireplace - it looks fabulous! Your wallpaper and moldings always look so good so thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you Jodi. Even if you don't go about stuff in the same way I think it is always interesting to see how other folk get their projects together. M

  3. Your striped paper is Straight as an Arrow Em-Well Done! AND- I LOVE the look of your coal burning unit installed inside the fireplace; that pewter paint really makes it shine! :D

    1. I confess to the paper being spot on more to luck than to thought. I did realise at the point of coming to paper the chimney breast that if one of the sides wasn't a true perpendicular then the stripes would advertise it loud and clear..... so Phew!

  4. Great tip about printing marble paper rather than a copy of real marble.

    1. Hi Diane, Like most good ideas I have no idea where they come from. I had trawled photos of real marble off and on for a while and had tried to shrink a few but it never quite worked then out of the blue I remembered doing the marble paper thing with my kids and bingo....problem solved. Loads of lovely images out there. Just use Google and type - marbled paper images. M

  5. Hello Marylin,
    SO WORTH every minute. The fireplace is beautiful. Great work applying the wallpaper, beautiful application of the marble paper and the Phoenix fireplace is wonderful. I really love it and the chimney is just the right size for the fireplace. It looks perfect!
    Big hug

    1. Crikey - I just love praise from a master builder - I am so vain!!! Thank you Giac. M