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Cheap and Easy Fake Fireplace, Perfect for Christmas or Halloween!

by Kelly D.

There are always so many wonderful decorations out there for the holidays but the more complicated or fabulous the decoration, the more expensive it can get. That's why finding simple, inexpensive projects is one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit. Not only do you get into the holiday spirit by making a great craft, but you also save money on the cost of decorating your house. The best part about this craft project is that you can add so much to it to personalize it for whatever holiday you're celebrating.

what you need:

  • cardboard boxes (as large as you can get a hold of.. an appliance box or two would work best)
  • scissors (good ones, strong enough to cut cardboard)
  • construction paper (lots of red and brown, some yellow, orange and black) and glue
  • tape or stick tack (putty substance used to stick pictures to walls without ruining paint)

what you do:

Basically, you want a 3 foot by 3 foot piece of cardboard to work with, so if after opening the seams and flattening out the largest of your boxes you don't have at least 3x3 to work with, you'll need to piece it together with separate pieces. Like taking 2 boxes that open out to at least 1.5X1.5 feet each and taping them together at the edges, or whatever you find that works for you.

Take your scissors and your brown and red paper, and cut the paper into pieces that are brick sized/shaped (basically a 4inchx8inch rectangle). You'll want to cut out at least 32-35 bricks so that you can space them whatever way looks best for you (the spacing thing is just to make it look more authentic, as bricks have spaces between them where the mortar that holds them together sits.) The big thing is just to set them out on the sheet ahead of time (without glue) and move them around until you're happy with the spacing and pattern of the bricks, and then start gluing them down.
When you have all the bricks glued down, its time to make the firebox. If your construction paper is of a regular size (approximately 9inchesx12inches) you can put pieces of paper together to make a larger size sheet. What you want to end up with is a black piece of paper that is about 1 and a half feet by 1 and a half feet. Place it on the "bricked" background, move it around until you're happy with the placement (it should be halfway between the 2 sides and all the way to the bottom) and then glue it into place.

Now for the flames of the fire. The effect you're going for is like underwater seaweed in different shapes and sizes. When you cut your flames, you want to try and get wavy, random strips in different lengths and widths, some curly, some straight. Arrange them against the black paper firebox until you get a fire and you're happy with how it looks, and now glue them into place.
For a final touch, you can cut out strips of brown that are about an inch or so wide and however long until you can piece together a full mantle (basically a brown strip across the top).

Your basic fireplace is done, but if you're still feeling crafty or artistic, or the 
fireplace just looks like its missing something, you can add other touches to make it more holiday specific. For example...


-a black paper caldron (with a green oval towards the top of it for a strange potion brewing inside)

-green, purple, or blue flames instead of red/yellow/orange

-a black cat shape

-paper stockings (red sock shape with white trim at the top, or you can use ribbons, origami paper, tissue paper, dress it up however you want, you can even write the kids name in glitter glue)

-use wrapping paper pieces in square or rectangular shapes with bows or ribbons on them for presents

-a small version of a Christmas tree, using colored or specialized papers (tissue, origami) in small shapes for ornaments, bits of tinsel, or lightweight garlands to decorate it

You could even make one for Easter with a basket of brightly colored eggs.
Another option, as far as making the craft goes, is to sponge paint the bricks to the cardboard, and hand-paint the firebox and flames.

If you're worried your paper isn't big enough, stop. Another great thing about this craft is that because you're gluing paper to a cardboard background, you can piece whatever you want together from smaller bits. Like if you have the end of a roll of wrapping paper and there isn't enough to wrap a present, you can cut a square or rectangle shape out of it and use it as a present. A small stack of presents next to the fire could look very cute, especially if you added little bows or nametags as a final touch.
This craft is truly fun to do, and because its simple, it leaves you to do whatever you want as added touches for the holidays, its only limited by your imagination.

One word of warning, don't put any candles or anything with open flames near this craft project as it is completely made of paper and is very flammable.

About the Author-
Kelly D. is a staff writer and site editor for

Kelly D.


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